Madame Bovary Free Essay

Romance and Reality in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary Essay

1122 Words5 Pages

Romance and Reality in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary

In the story of Alice in Wonderland we follow Alice down a rabbit hole into a land of pure wonder, where the logic of a little girl holds no sway. In Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, we witness exactly the opposite as Emma Bovary, a most romantic creature, is purposely cast into a harshly realistic world. In either case, a creature is put into an environment unnatural to her disposition, yet in Flaubert’s example, Emma shares the world we inhabit, and thus the message her story brings is much more pertinent. To convey this message, Flaubert replicates not a world of fantasy, but rather the real world, with all its joy, sadness, and occasional monotony intact. Then he proceeds to dump an…show more content…

All the bitterness of life seemed to be served up to her on her plate, and as the steam rose from the boiled meat, waves of nausea rose from the depths of her soul. (Flaubert 58)

This image and atmosphere of mundane imperfection is a far cry from what Emma expects after reading the romantic novels she smuggled in at the convent. From those foppish texts she gathers the impression that ladies such as she should be “lolling on carriages” or “dreaming on sofas,” or perhaps embracing some dashing “young man in a short cloak” (Flaubert 32). Yet such is not the reality in which she lives.

Flaubert adds to his stark images the homey atmospheres and settings of the provincial towns in which Emma lives, places which by their very simplistic natures are anathema to a romantic such as Bovary. It is only through Emma’s depiction of these villages that they are cast as mundane and drab. Though the image exists of the small and backward town with its town gossips and town idiot, it can be seen that it is simply a town, one in which a person can be content—that is, if she is not the always-unfulfilled Emma Bovary. Thus the setting and the stereotypical characters add to the realistic atmosphere that confronts Emma.

Into the midst of this hodgepodge of unflattering images and commonalties, Flaubert then tosses Emma and Charles. To Emma, Charles is

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Flaubert as Emma in Madame Bovary Essay

1659 Words7 Pages

Flaubert as Emma in Madame Bovary

During the Nineteenth Century, Europe experienced a literary movement known as Romanticism. This movement "valu[ed] emotion, intuition, and imagination" (Rosenbaum 1075). Gustave Flaubert, born in 1821, grew up during this innovative movement and became entranced by the romantics. Unfortunately, Romanticism was a "passing affair in France," and young Flaubert realized it consistently encouraged illusions it could not satisfy" (Bart 54). His later disgust for the movement would lead Flaubert to writing his greatest novels.

His most famous and widely renowned novel, Madame Bovary, is largely an autobiography; however, it also contains partial biographies of Flaubert's most intimate…show more content…

She gave Flaubert "a sachet, her handkerchief, a lock of hair, and a pair of bedroom slippers" (Bart 146). She also gave him a family "jewel . . . set in a cigar case with [the] motto: Amor nel cor" inscribed on it (Bart 294). This gift would become the signet ring that Emma gives to Rodolphe. Louise was also insistent on receiving a letter a day from Flaubert. Like Emma's lovers, Flaubert became tired of this routine and showed his aggressions more openly. Rodolphe "began to treat [Emma] coarsely, without consideration" (Flaubert 165). Eventually, the affair waned and came to an end, after Flaubert wrote Louise a goodbye letter. Rodolphe would come to write Emma such a letter as well. He would not let himself ruin her life (Flaubert 174).

Through all of his affairs with women, Flaubert began to make "a series of maxims about women" in general (Bart 258). He even tried to explain these ideas to Louise. Flaubert believed all women "were never frank with themselves, because they would never admit the purely physical aspect of attraction and must always deny the existence of evil or vice in their loved ones" (Bart 258). "In reality [women] longed in everything for the eternal spouse and always dreamed of the great love of a lifetime" (Bart 258). Eventually, Flaubert would make this "Emma's confusion" (Bart 258). Emma imagined a man:

A phantom composed of her most ardent memories, her strongest desires and the most beautiful things she had read. He

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