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O Cortiço (titled in English: The Slum) is an influential Brazilian novel written in 1890 by Aluísio Azevedo. The novel depicts a part of Brazil's culture in the late Nineteenth century, represented by a variety of colorful characters living in a single Rio de Janeiro slum. It is written with the intention of belonging to the Realism movement leaning towards Naturalism, much like Flaubert's Madame Bovary.
Azevedo's The Slum tells the stories of Portuguese and other European immigrants, mulattos, and former African slaves living and working together in a single community. It explores the author's intensely naturalistic beliefs, having various characters being defined and changed by their environment, race and social position.
Examples are: the division between the lackadaisical, yet passionate, mulattos and the hard-working, driven Portuguese immigrants, how the climate and culture of Brazil can slowly transform these immigrants' behavior in atavistic ways. In addition the role of women is a key theme, with all female characters in one way or another revealing their purpose in the slum.