The Cataclysm of France A Historical Fiction Journal of the French Revolution
I. II. III.
Estates General Execution of the King
Execution of Robespierre
Jasmine Jang 8 - 6 2018.03.13.
Turning Point 1: Estates General May 5th, 1789 Noël Cartier
King Louis XVI was guillotined by Charles-Henri Sanson in Place de la Concorde, Paris
How could our lives be even more miserable than this! It was another day of slavery. I spent the whole day weeding the land as sweat ran down my back. A shivery, spring breeze swept my sweat away. The flowers surrounding the house were withered because the taxes had rocketed so high that we couldn't even afford food for ourselves. They had taken almost half of our food, which made our stomachs growl with hunger. When I trotted back home with my back aching from weeding, I couldn't bear to look at my beloved children.
They were so desperate that they were eating wheat that was growing in my tiny piece of land. However, they greeted me with a bright smile on their face which shone below the sunset. I felt so much guilt when I heard that innocent laughter. Poor Elise and Martîn! "Mama! Papa's here!" they happily yelled. My wife, Arlette, weakly smiled with sad eyes and put them to sleep. After they both fell asleep, she sat beside me on the cold floor and sighed. "They've gone without food for days." Tears started to run down her face. "I can almost see their bones. Martîn illness is growing worse day by day. What are we supposed to do?" I had nothing to say. It was heartbreaking to see Arlette burst into tears. Martîn had a fatal lung disease that was spread in Paris. This illness had no cure. Sadly, there was nothing that our family could do. The best I could do was hope for the best. Today, there was significant news. Words were passed that the King had convened the Estates General in 175 years. I thought that he finally started to treat us, commoners, a human being who needed food and a warm shelter. I thought that he would save the ravenously hungry people of Versailles. However, the bad news was soon announced; the voting method had changed. At the meeting of the three estates, King Louis XVI had declared a law to the estates which were nonsensical. He said that each estate would only get one vote each, which meant that we could always be outnumbered by the other two estates! This voting system isn't fair. We need to make a change- no matter what it takes.
Turning Point 2: Execution of the King January 21, 1793 Noël Cartier
"Martîn's temperature won't drop," Arlette said worriedly, as she laid a wet towel on his forehead. Four years passed since Martîn got lung disease and the situation wasn't getting any better. In fact, his illness worsened during the past four years. As time passed, my faith toward the King King Louis XVI was guillotined by Charles-Henri sank gradually, and at one particular day, I lost Sanson in Place de la Concorde, Paris hope. The time when I lost all trust in the King was when I read the Thermomètre du jour on June 21, 1791. As I sat on the cold, dusty floor, a huge headline on the first page caught my attention. "King Louis XVI caught by a local postman." The article was about the royal family's attempt to flee the revolution. It said that this was all planned by Count Axel von Fersen and supported by Marie Antoinette. I felt like I was stabbed in the back as I scanned the page. They planned to hide in Montmedy, a fortress near the border with Germany. Last night, the Royals managed to travel within 30 kilometers of their destination, before a local postmaster recognized them. Then they were arrested and hustled back to Paris under guard. How could he ruin the country and just try to run away from it? My face turned red with fury. Fortunately, it wasn't just me that had this feeling about the King. We, commoners, decided to take the crown away from him. It was Robespierre who ordered the death of the King. And at last, today we saw him pay the price for his betrayal. The guillotine was circled by the guards who tried to block the people from pushing in through the crowd. Place de la Concorde roared with guns and drums. There was also a crowd carrying pikes and bayonets. "Papa, is the King going to die?" Elise curiously asked, with her tiny hands grabbing mine. "Yes, Elise. We will no longer suffer from hunger." I replied gently. "But don't tell Mama that you were here. She's going to be mad if she finds out you followed me to the execution." Suddenly, as the King hollered "I am lost!", Charles-Henri Sanson, the executioner, released the blade. Luckily, I was quick enough to cover Elise's eyes. Blood splattered everywhere. The people cheered. We will finally live in plenty!
Turning Point 3: Execution of Robespierre July 28, 1794 NoĂŤl Cartier With the sound cicadas of chirring, I woke up at dawn. Then, I went to check Elise and Arlette. They were both asleep. But when looked at Arlette closely, cold sweat went down her neck. I could tell that she was having a dream about MartĂŽn, who died last month after battling his illness for five years. Despite Arlette, I had to go out. There was a Robespierre was also guillotined in Place de la remarkable event coming ahead. As I was getting Concord, along with his brother Augustin, ready to go out, Elise got up from her cot and Couthon, Saint-Just, Hanriot, and twelve other followers. spotted me. "Papa, where are you going?" she asked, as she rubbed her eyes. "I'll be back soon," I whispered in her ear. More than six months passed after the execution of King Louis XVI. My perspective towards Robespierre changed a lot, after going through his brutalities. I realized that he wasn't a hero; he was a notorious murderer in disguise. It all began on March 30, 1794, when he slaughtered his friends Danton and Desmoulins with the guillotine. A rumor about Danton spread that he had accepted bribes from aristocrats and the King. This lead to expulsion from Robespierre's "Republic of Virtue." Desmoulins was also convicted because he gradually sided with Danton in his journal "The Old Cordelier." Robespierre abused his power as a member of the Committee of Public Safety to have them unjustly guillotined. He was destroying the members of the French government. Today was the day of Robespierre's execution. A faction of the Convention banded together to get rid of him. He was killed at the same place that he chopped off hundreds of heads, including King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. While other people yelled and cheered, I kept silent. I didn't feel like joining them. I was sick of all the killing and head dropping to the ground helplessly. I believe that there wasn't a massive change after the revolution. However, I have no more strength to rebel against the government. Lots of my fellow friends were guillotined, just because they disagreed with Robespierre's opinion. Half of my neighborhood were killed the same way. There's not enough food to sustain my family. Is there any hope left for our lives?
A Historical Fiction Journal of the French Revolution