Essay on Flaubert as Emma in Madame Bovary

Essay on Flaubert as Emma in Madame Bovary

Length: 1643 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 friends and mistresses. Flaubert and Ernest Chevalier, a childhood friend, were inseparable youths, until Ernest left for Paris to study law. When Flaubert visited his friend, he discovered that Ernest "had set himself up with a mistress in the Latin Quarter" and "knew of number of Paris brothels" (Bart 64). Later when Flaubert wrote Madame Bovary, his friend Ernest became the mature Leon who was determined to have Emma. "The time had at last come . . . when he must firmly resolve to possess her (Flaubert 199). As Ernest rose in the legal profession, his intimate friendship with Flaubert waned and gave "up [his] imagination as too dangerous" (Bart 305). Leon would also decide to give up certain follies which included Emma. "He was about to be promoted to head clerk; it was time to settle down and work hard. He therefore gave up . . . exalted sentiments and flights of fancy" (Flaubert 251).

Flaubert also found inspiration for Madame Bovary in Louise Colet, one of his numerous mistresses. She...


... middle of paper ...


...dame Bovary was published in 1856 Flaubert had poured "all of his loves and his hatreds into his book" (Bart 261). He had learned not to count on happiness because such romantic notions never fulfill their promises. Flaubert realized that "one should live like a bourgeois and think like a demigod" (Bart 261). A man should enjoy his dreams and hopes; however, he should never try to actualize them. "This Emma would never know" (Bart 261).

 

Works Cited

Bart, Benjamin. Flaubert. Syracuse: Syracuse UP 1967.
Flaubert, Gustave. Madame Bovary. Trans. Lowell Bair. New York: Bantam 1972.
Rosenbaum, Robert A. "Romanticism." The New American Desk Encyclopedia. New York: Signet 1989. 1075.
Steegmuller, Francis. Flaubert and Madame Bovary: A Double Portrait. New York: Vintage 1939.
Tillet, Margaret G. On Reading Flaubert. London: Oxford UP 1961. 13-36.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Reality vs. Imagination in Emma Bovary's Predicament

- 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]

Powerful Essays
3641 words (10.4 pages)

Essay on Madame Bovary By Gustave Flaubert

- The book Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert is a story about a woman named Emma Bovary who has multiple affairs in order to escape the predictabilities and emptiness of small-town life. Emma is married to a doctor named Charles and together they have a girl named Berthe. Throughout the novel, Emma looks to find passion and pleasure, therefore leading her to such affairs. Emma can be seen as morally ambiguous through her affairs, dedication to her family, and sudden mood swings. In the novel, Emma has two affairs; one with a landowner named Rodolphe Boulanger and another with a law clerk named Leon....   [tags: Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert, Novel, Marriage]

Powerful Essays
1183 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Emma's Masculinity in Madame Bovary

- ... After Leon’s departure the narrator speaks of Emma’s method of coping with the loss and subconscious understanding of her place in society he mentions, She wanted to learn Italian; she bought dictionaries, a grammar, and a supply of white paper. She tried serious reading, history, and philosophy . . . But her reading fared like her piece of embroidery . . . She took it up, left it, passed on to other books (Flaubert 82). Emma compares her opportunities and position in society to those of Leon....   [tags: Gustave Flaubert's novel, character analysis]

Powerful Essays
1247 words (3.6 pages)

Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary Essay

- 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]

Powerful Essays
997 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about Emma's Unorthodox Behavior in Madame Bovary

- 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]

Powerful Essays
642 words (1.8 pages)

Essay about Romance and Reality in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary

- 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....   [tags: Madame Bovary Essays]

Powerful Essays
1129 words (3.2 pages)

Death Over Life in Flaubert's Madame Bovary Essay

- Death Over Life in Flaubert's Madame Bovary       Often in literature, a character is found that is quite memorable. Never was this more true than in Flaubert's Madame Bovary. To some, Emma Bovary's action at the end of the novel was drastic and unnecessary; others believed her death to be the end of the natural progression of the story. However, Emma's decision to commit suicide was relatively simple, yet came as a last resort. She had exhausted all the other options she felt were available, and in the end made her plan based on finances, lost love, and the sheer boredom of her life....   [tags: Madame Bovary Essays]

Powerful Essays
930 words (2.7 pages)

The Theme of Change in Madame Bovary Essay

- 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]

Powerful Essays
892 words (2.5 pages)

The Timeless Truth of Madame Bovary Essay

- 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]

Powerful Essays
1609 words (4.6 pages)

Essay about Confinement vs. Escape in Madame Bovary

- Confinement vs. Escape in Madame Bovary        A theme throughout Flaubert's Madame Bovary is escape versus confinement. In the novel Emma Bovary attempts again and again to escape the ordinariness of her life by reading novels, having affairs, day dreaming, moving from town to town, and buying luxuries items. It is Emma's early education described for an entire chapter by Flaubert that awakens in Emma a struggle against what she perceives as confinement. Emma's education at the convent is perhaps the most significant development of the dichotomy in the novel between confinement and escape....   [tags: Madame Bovary Essays]

Free Essays
746 words (2.1 pages)