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Deslauriers, ostensibly Frédéric’s best and oldest friend,
is deeply admiring of Frédéric as well as bitterly jealous. He and
Frédéric take turns disappointing each other. At times, Deslauriers
seems to play a spouselike role in Frédéric’s life. When they were
young, they excitedly planned out their future, imagining themselves
traveling, working, and living together. Deslauriers is the first
to taint the dream, when he forgoes Paris to take a job in Troyes.
At this point in their friendship, Deslauriers is so influential
in Frédéric’s life that Frédéric wonders how he can possibly stay
in Paris without him and feels shaken by the amount of confidence
he has in his friend. Deslauriers has put his own interests first,
and this seems like a significant betrayal.
When Frédéric begins flirting with high society and pursuing
various women, it is Deslauriers who finds himself overlooked and
left behind. When he returns to Paris, Frédéric brushes him off;
Deslauriers, with his shabby appearance, embarrasses Frédéric, who
has come into money and now spends lavishly on his clothes and accoutrements.
Deslauriers envies him, and this envy quickly turns ugly. He tries
to steal Madame Arnoux from Frédéric (to the extent that she can
be stolen); he attempts to win over Rosanette, and may eventually
succeed; and he considers offering himself for a job for which Frédéric
has been tapped. These are actual betrayals on both friends’ parts.
Only when Deslauriers eventually achieves his own success and Frédéric
has been chastened for his extravagance can the two rebuild a genuine
Ace your assignments with our guide to Sentimental Education!