Sympathy in Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

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In the novel Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, one is introduced to Charles Bovary as a young school boy who tries too hard to fit in, then he becomes a young man who nearly fails his medical exam, and last he falls in love with Emma who finds him “boring”. Throughout the book, Charles fails at school, being a doctor and most important love. His attempts at these things are noble and it makes one feel sympathetic toward the character.
In the first chapter where Charles is introduced as the “new fellow”, Flaubert was attempting to narrate this chapter as if it were Charles’s classmates speaking. Although his classmates appear to be objective at times, Flaubert makes his opinion know by stating how ridiculous Charles seems in his efforts to appear sophisticated. In his novel, Flaubert states, when the lesson was being taught, Charles listened with all of his ears attentive like he was at a sermon, he did not attempt to cross his legs or lean on his elbow, and when the two o’clock bell rang he waited for the teacher to tell him to fall in line. (Flaubert, 7). Here Flaubert explains how Charles is trying too hard to be a good student. It is like Charles believes that if he makes this effort, more of his class mates will like him. One cannot help but to feel sympathy toward Charles’ character. The way describes his dress makes one think that Charles does not come from a wealthy family. He is not wearing the school uniform, and the clothes he is wearing are too tight forming his long fifteen year old body.
When the class finishes prayer, the other boys begin to throw their hats on the ground in a sort of game. Charles does not partake in the play; he sits quietly with his hat on his knee. This also shows one that the author’s opinion ...

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... mopes over the loss of his wife. The depression gets even worse when he finds letters from her lovers that he was unaware of. Charles does not live long after finding out the truth, and their daughter is sent away.
In conclusion, one feels that Charles was done wrong. He was never aware of Emma’s infidelity. They also feel that Charles is deserving of the audiences sympathy. He did everything he could for his wife, and she still did not want anything to do with him. So really he was always the dull kid with a horrendous clothing selection who dropped his hat. Even if she felt this way about him she should have tried to stick beside him or gotten a divorce. A divorce probably would have been easier for the both of them, but instead they both died miserable lonely individuals.

Works Cited
Flaubert, G. Madame Bovary. 2012. Amazon Digital Services
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