The Timeless Truth of Madame Bovary

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The Timeless Truth of Madame Bovary Written in 1857, Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary has become a literary classic. Emma Bovary is a middle class country girl with a taste for rich things; she marries a doctor and has a little girl. Her husband, Charles, adores her and thinks that she can do no wrong. He overlooks the sign of her adultery, telling himself that her unhappiness is caused from her poor health, and forgives her excessive spending. Madame Bovary's excessive desires seem to come from her excessive reading of novels in which life seemed, to her, perfect. She "tried to find out what one meant exactly in life by the words felicity, passion, rapture, that had seemed to her so beautiful in books" (45). Through Emma, Flaubert illustrates that not being satisfied with what one is given in life leads to a sorrow. Soon after Emma marries Charles, she finds that she is not satisfied with her new life, due to Charles' lack of romantics. Emma thinks to herself early on in the marriage, "A man, . . . should he not know everything, excel in the manifolds activities, initiate you into the energies of passion, the refinements of life, all mysteries? But this one [Charles] taught nothing, knew nothing, wished nothing. He thought her [Emma] happy; and she resented this calm, this serene heaviness, the very happiness she gave him" (54). Her need for Charles to be more romantic and his ignorance of her feelings lead her to despise him. After a few years of their marriage, Emma has become so bored with her life that she has made herself sick from want. Her boredom is so great that she wishes she could talk to her servant, "but a sense of shame restrained her" (81). She held herself above everyone, therefore isolat... ... middle of paper ... ...ath does Emma come to realize that the best things in life is family and the happiness that it can provide. The selfishness that had ruled her life was nothing now all the things that were importune to before are now nothing. The things she had bought and the lovers she had been with are not with her now. Only Charles and her little girl, the ones she had tried to flee from are with her now. The simple truth portrayed in Madame Bovary still pertains to the present, selfishness will lead to a life of discontentment. The Flaubert illustration of the unhappiness that thinking only of oneself can bring to others can still be seen in the world today. This is why Madame Bovary has lasted through the years as a novel full of timeless truth. Works Cited Flaubert, Gustave. Madame Bovery. Translated by Marx-Aveling, Eleanor. Grolier Incorporated, New York. N.D.

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