In this extract, the Multi millionairess Claire Zachanassian returns to her town of Güllen. The people are eagerly awaiting her return in the hopes of securing a large amount of money to rebuild their dilapidated town and lives. A train stops abruptly at the station and people are taken aback. The people had not foreseen her coming so quickly. There is pandemonium around her, as they are not prepared for her arrival. Claire emerges from the train with her entourage and an angry train driver who is baffled as to why she pulled the emergency brake to stop the train. She quickly dismisses him with a ridiculous amount of money as compensation and gives a further three thousand marks to the train driver’s widow. This causes a ripple of awe and shock through the townspeople, her generosity and the ‘flash of the cash’. She dismisses the train driver to leave. A member of her entourage then reminds her that the press and media have not yet alighted from the train however she does not care. She remarks that she does not need them yet and that they will come to her.
The most important commentary about this extract is the reaction and influence of Claire’s money spending on the townspeople. This is very important because the town of Güllen is depending on Claire to give them a large sum of money for the town and to each of them. The initial encounter with money has them all amazed and transfixed with her. Claire throws an enormous 4 thousand marks to the train driver in order to stop him pestering her about the emergency brake. She even insults him. This driver was absolutely rigid in his stance on the importance of timekeeping and keeping to the scheduled planner of the train route.
‘’Die Pünktlichkeit des Fahrplans ist oberstes Prinzip.’’ The arrival of money completely changes his principles and he becomes extremely accommodating to her. This changes his previous