In Madame Bovary, Emma is depicted as a slave to her desires, namely, to the desire for what she calls love. The origin of these desires appears to stem from her childhood habit of reading romantic novels while she lived in the convent. Because of her idealized picture of what romantic love is supposed to be, she searched desperately for this in real life, but to no avail. It appears that Emma’s suffering is due to her disillusion with reality and her own naivete about the nature of relationships with other people. However, time after time, Emma looks into the face of morality in the respect of her religion. After she does so, rather than reconcile with her faith and repent her adulterous sins, Emma proceeds to commit them again, with a new and refreshed energy. In one of my previous papers I analyzed the role Christianity assigned to love and concluded that Christianity causes people to be enslaved by their Love for God. Although Emma never experienced the same type of Love for God that I discussed, her Christian upbringings played a significant role in shaping the way she looked upon life. Specifically, Christianity contributed a great deal to Emma Bovary’s choice to commit adultery in her search for Love.
The teachings of Christianity encourage the very thing Emma did throughout her entire lifetime—expect better things to come. Worldly things are not to be coveted because grander rewards will come in Heaven. Christians are taught to dream of a better future, eternal life, peace, and happiness. Moreover, Christianity makes its followers live in expectation of something better, and actions are motivated by expectations of these eternal rewards. Christians also martyr those who sacrifice and suffer since the sacrifice of Christ is a symbol of God’s Love. By acting in the imitation of Christ, the rewards and expectations will thus be fulfilled in Heaven. Therefore, in Christianity, Love is used to achieve transcendence. It is a passion that consumes, controls, and allows one to be content with unhappiness and suffering.
Emma wanted happiness and an end to suffering just like other Christians, and she knew that the solution lie in Love. In the convent, she was inspired by stories from the old maid who slipped her romance novels. In the holy atmosphere of the convent, these stories of “love, lovers, swee...
... middle of paper ...
...ll is to drag out, as I do, a useless existence. If our pains could be of use to some one, we should find consolation in the thought of sacrifice” (168). Because she felt this alienation from God, she struggled to practice Christianity. She knew what she desired, but she did not know how to attain it. Emma did not know how to be a virtuous woman and happy woman at the same time. The break between worldly love and heavenly love lead her astray and towards adultery, and the lack of guidance from the Church caused her to become confused.
Finding worldly love has become more and more important today, and many people will travel the same roads as Emma in pursuit of the celestial lover, trying to make their sufferings and sacrifices of use to some one. Like Emma, they are motivated by the ideas that they deserve better and that happiness is found in Love. These ideals caused Emma to commit adultery and tragically end her life; she represents the modern person trapped between the ideals of the Christian tradition and modern times. Because of this conflict of interest, the modern man, as demonstrated by Emma Bovary, will suffer from insatiable and conflicting desires.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Emma Bovary and the Covent School Emma Bovary; intelligent, spoiled, and utterly obsessed with material concerns, is ironically placed by her father into a convent school where she fails to learn the lesson that would be most useful in her life: how to seek fulfillment through her platonic side. The convent section is very important because it will set the stage for all of Emma’s material obsessions and spiritual failures throughout the story. The entirety of Madame Bovary is diffused with a sense of hopelessness; the world is uncaring, fate is cruel, and God, if he exists at all, is painfully unsympathetic.... [tags: Emma Bovary covent School Essays]
726 words (2.1 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.... [tags: Madame Bovary Essays]
1643 words (4.7 pages)
- Emma’s Path to Destruction in Madame Bovary In his song, "Instant Karma!," John Lennon shouts an ominous warning to his listeners: "Instant karma's gonna get you / gonna knock you right in the head / better get yourself together, darlin' / pretty soon your gonna be dead... " The subject of his scorn may have been socially conservative Americans bent on the abolition of social progressives, but clearly anyone can gleam a bit of wisdom from such blunt counsel. Even Gustav Flaubert's eponymous heroine, Emma Bovary, may have been able to escape her grim cycle of misfortune, disappointment, and utter despair had she understood the relatively simple Hindu law of karma Lennon alludes to... [tags: Madame Bovary Essays]
2103 words (6 pages)
- Emma's Unorthodox Behavior in Madame Bovary From earliest infancy, an individual's character is molded by experience. In Gustave Flaubert's novel entitled Madame Bovary, Emma's unorthodox behavior during her married life can be attriuted to the illusions she maintained about life during her girlhood. These, combined with her father's disinterest in her mental happiness become the force which eventually leads Emma Bovary to commit suicide. When she was 13 years old, Pere Rouault took his daughter, Emma, to town to put her in a convent where she would receive an education. She received more than her father bargained for. All that Emma later believed lov... [tags: Madame Bovary Essays]
642 words (1.8 pages)
- Reality vs. Imagination in Emma Bovary's Predicament Madame Bovary, a novel by Gustave Flaubert, describes life in the provinces. While depicting the provincial manners, customs, codes and norms, the novel puts great emphasis on its protagonist, Emma Bovary who is a representative of a provincial woman. Concerning the fundamental typicality in Emma Bovary’s story, Flaubert points out: “My poor Bovary is no doubt suffering and weeping at this very moment in twenty French villages at once.” (Heath, 54).... [tags: Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert]
3641 words (10.4 pages)
- The Inevitable Abyss of Madame Bovary Dr. Satler’s comments: This student’s paper displays the radiance of writing kindled by discriminating reading. His careful attention to words and their subtle tones in context translate into interpretive language that clarifies the subtle shapes of meaning. The abyss that so terrifies Emma in Madame Bovary is reality and the crushing finality of it. The fantasy world that she has constructed from early childhood takes on more and more substance until it becomes her alternate reality.... [tags: Madame Bovary]
918 words (2.6 pages)
- The Theme of Change in Madame Bovary Change is a central theme in the novel Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert, and is key to understanding the character of Emma Bovary. Through parallel events the reader comes to realize that Emma's need for change is the result of the influence her early life had upon her. At the convent Emma is left to develop into an extreme romantic with high hopes for excitement and dreams of sensuous pleasures that will never be fulfilled. Thus, when life refuses to conform to her romantic notions Emma alternates between various activities in her constant search for a way to consummate her romantic longings.... [tags: Madame Bovary Essays]
892 words (2.5 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Madame Bovary Essays]
1609 words (4.6 pages)
- Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary The characters Charles and Emma of Gustave Flaubert’s novel, Madame Bovary, escape from the drudgery and monotony of their life through fantasy. For Emma, it is a direct manipulation of her world, while for Charles it is disillusionment with the world. Each of these characters lives in complete ignorance of the true personality of the other. Emma ignores Charles's simple love and devotion while Charles is oblivious of Emma's affairs. Even before she meets her husband, Charles Bovary, Emma escapes from her dull and monotonous country life by reading stacks of books and magazines, as well as occupying herself with the conventions of religion.... [tags: Flaubert Madame Bovary Essays]
997 words (2.8 pages)
- Destiny in Madame Bovary Destiny: the seemingly inevitable succession of events.1 Is this definition true, or do we, as people in real life or characters in novels, control our own destiny. Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary exemplifies how we hold destiny in our own hands, molding it with the actions we take and the choices we make. Flaubert uses Emma Bovary, the main character of his novel, to demonstrate this. Throughout her life, Emma makes many decisions, each one of them affecting her fate and by analyzing these decisions one could see from the beginning that Emma is destined to suffer.... [tags: Madame Bovary Essays]
1053 words (3 pages)