Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Blog Posts on: Madame Bovary


So far I have enjoyed this book. I like the way it is written and translated. When I was reading the beginning of the book I was a little bored with it. I wasn't sure why the author put in the part about Charles' parents' history. When Charles became a doctor and married the widow he seemed unhappy. But when Charles met Emma the mood changed, and I also started getting more interested in the book.To answer Meagan's question, (After she and Charles attend this dance, everything Emma sees is in a different perspective. How do you think that altered her?) I think that when Emma experienced a new lifestyle she realized that hers seemed boring in a way. Emma wants change and when she sees how all these people live, she wants to live the same way. She wants to go places and do things, not just sit around at home. She wants to do something different than what she is used to and bored with. It is not about money, because she has enough, but it is about excitement and change. She is almost rebelling a bit from when she was an "angelic" child.Now that Emma wants change and is bored with her life I have become a little confused. She has a good husband and a nice house. Charles is a doctor and together they have money and are content. She was passionate towards Charles when they were married, but now she doesn't feel the same. Now she wants change, and I am confused because she waits until now to express her feelings. So a question I have is: Why does Emma just now realize that she wants change in her life? If she thought her life was not exciting, why didn't she go somewhere different or do something exciting before she settled down and married Charles?

In response to Meagan’s question, (Emma clearly has feelings for Léon, so why does she push them away when she has the opportunity to leave? She tries to put him out of her mind, and she leaves the feelings all behind. Is she feeling guilty or just bored again?) I think that Emma does not want to realize her feelings for Leon because she may end up regretting them. She is not sure if there will be consequences for her actions. I think she is afraid to act upon her desire because she is unsure about the outcome.A passage that I think fits well for my reasoning is, “Sometimes, however, this hypocrisy became so repugnant to her that she was tempted to run away with Leon to some faraway place where she could begin a different life; but then she always felt as though some dark, mysterious abyss were opening up before her.”(94) Emma is scared of what will happen to her. If she sins, she may fall into this mysterious abyss.I think Emma knows that her desire is to leave Charles. But Emma knows that if she leaves him it will be a sin. She hopes for a new life and she has strong feelings for Leon. But she can’t leave Charles. She is a little torn. She says that she basically hates Charles, but if this is true she should leave him. So my next question is similar to Meagan’s, is Emma only afraid to leave because of her consequences, or is she also afraid because some part of her still has love for Charles?

I don't really understand why Emma intends on staying with Charles if she is unhappy and will upset Charles by being so cold towards him. Emma shows no affection for Charles and he does so much. He works very hard and provides a good life for Emma , but its not enough for her. Emma is never really satisfied, for as long as I have read so far. I don't think Emma will ever really be satisfied.Emma seems to think that she is supposed to have more out of everything. "Emma was steadily growing more capricious and hard to please." I think she feels as if the world owes her. She is not happy and doesn't treat others as cordially as she should. Emma feels like she is better than some others and that she does not belong where she is. But I think that Emma knows that if she tries to leave, and have a different life, she will upset Charles and some others very much.I think that Emma has no real reason for hating Charles. She uses it as an excuse for her unhappiness. She hates the fact that Charles loves her so much because she does not love him back. He is happy with her and she cannot understand it. I think she doesn't want Charles to love her so much because it would give her a reason to leave him. Now that Emma is pregnant, would she leave Charles is she had a chance? I wonder is she would be happier when her baby is born, or will she still be miserable?

Since Emma is so focused on her own suffering, I don’t think she will pay much attention to her baby. She seems to not care about anything but getting money and living the “good life”. I think Emma’s baby will represent another obstacle in her life holding her back from her true desires. It is another obstacle holding her back from escaping her sorrow. A mother should love her child with all her heart, but I don’t think Emma is capable of that. In my opinion, Emma would not be a good mother.I think that Charles would be a good father. He has so much love for Emma, someone that does not even feel the same. This indicates to me that with his child loving him so much, he will love and take very good care of her. She is a part of him and partly his creation. I think he will love her very much. I think having a baby may cause Charles to realize how cold Emma is being towards him and help him figure out what is going on with her. When the baby is born and growing up, I don’t think Emma will take as much notice as she should. I think Charles will want to take good care of his child, and will when he can, but he works and cannot always be home. The baby’s mother will be home with her and should take good care of her, but I think Emma will only push the baby away. I don’t think Emma will bond properly with her child like a mother should. Another reason I think Charles will have so much love for his child is the fact that his father was not so good to him. I think this could encourage Charles to set a good example and be there for his child. He will be the best father he can be. But I wonder what will happen if Emma leaves him. How would Charles react? How would the baby react when she grows up?

In part two, I think Emma's love affair becomes very complicated. She meets Rodolphe and believes she will escape her miserable life. I think it is dumb that she believes that they will runoff and be lovers because she is already married and has a child. Emma just seems desperate to be loved, but doesn't want to accept that her life will prevent her from it.When she meets Rodolphe, his motives are not what she believes them to be. He sees her beauty and he wants to have her, but not forever. When Rodolphe starts seeing her he has no intention of moving away with her and her daughter for a better life. I do not think Rodolphe loves her, it is lust. Rodolphe doesn't want to settle down, especially with someone that is married and has a child. On page 113, it says, "He had a great temperament and a shrewd intelligence; furthermore, he had had a great many mistresses and was a good judge of women." He does not really want to be with Emma.Some of Rodolphes thoughts foreshadow that he will leave her. He thinks to himself, " Poor Woman! She's gasping for love like a carp gasping for water on a kitchen table. A few sweet words and she'd adore me, I'm sure of it! She'd be affectionate, charming....Yes, but how could I get rid of her later?" Rodolphe's motives are wrong and he manipulates Emma. But then again, she has a false hope that a "prince charming" is going to come sweep her off her feet and rescue her. I'm not sure what Flaubert thinks about love, but in the novel he makes it seem so unpredictable. Its always changing for Emma because she is never truly satisfied. But I wonder if these are examples of real love, or are they just examples of lust and desperateness?

I think that Emma's love affairs are pointless. She will get pleasure, but she will always be married and have a child. I think Emma will continue to have love affairs because she will never be content with her life. She will always want more. She wants to live the "good life" very badly, just like a teenager in high school wants to fit in. It will only be short-lived. I think Emma is dumb for thinking that Rodolphe loved her. It makes me feel a little sorry also though, because of the way he left her. I don't think that Emma is dumb for loving Leon though, because he does love her back.I'm surprised that Leon comes back into the novel. Even though it is coincidence to the characters, it was planned by the author. I am curious as to why Flaubert brings back this character. Both Leon and Emma feel old flames when they see each other. After all the conflict with Rodolphe, I thought Emma might give up on trying to find another lover, but now that Leon is back my thoughts have changed. She has her heart set on finding someone that will love her the "right way". I think Leon can be that man, at least for a while.Even though Leon has come back, I don't think Emma will be with him in the end. I think that now that Leon is back in the area, but not living in Yonville, Him and Emma will pick up where they left off. I think Emma may try to go see him sometimes, and they will have their alone time, but it will be different than Rodolphe because Leon actually has love for her. I don't think her relationship with Leon will end the way her relationship with Rodolphe did, but I can see some similarities in that she will secretly be having an affair with him.I think that Leon does love Emma. When they see each other, they feel something from their past. At the opera their old feelings surface. I think they will pick up where they left off. However, the way it will end makes me curious. I don't think Emma will end up with Leon, but you never know. So, some questions I have wondered about: How will their affair end? ill Charles catch on? And if he does how will he react? And lastly, How will Emma react if Leon leaves her?

Something from part two that I would like to talk about is Emma's sickness. None of the other characters understand what has really happened to her. After Rodolphe left her, she became very depressed. She wouldn't eat, drink, talk, walk, or do anything. She felt helpless, like her whole world came crashing down. I was surprised at how long Emma seemed to be "sick". It was a mysterious situationto all the other characters, but to Emma it was ery clear.I do think that Emma loved Rodolphe. Her reaction was very rash. She allowed herself to be very vulnerable, therefore Rodolphe took adavantage of her and manipulated her. I was surprised by how attached she really was to Rodolphe. When she recieves his letter and goes to the attic, she wants to die. At one moment in the attic, Emma wanted to commit suicide. On page 179 it says, "She glanced around her, longing for the whole earth to crumble. Why not end it all? What was to stop her? She was free. She leaned forward, looked down at the pavement and said to herself, 'Go ahead! Go ahead!'" When I read this, I was very surprised. I could not believe that Emma really thought her life was bad enough that she would want to commit suicide.When this whole situation happened, I was a little confused because I was unsure why Flaubert put this into the book. When Emma was "sick", Charles took such good care of her. She just could not love Charles in the way which she desires to seek love. So, after thinking about this whole situation, I wanted to know why Flaubert put this in the book, What is the significance, Why did he have Emma act this way?

think that the prediction by Michelle, that Emma will commit suicide, is very good. Many things in the book foreshadow it. Emma pretty much starts off her marriage being miserable. Then she carries on her life in a state of depression. Emma is never truly satisfied. She is unsure of what she really wants in life, becuase when better things come to her she still finds them unsatisfying.Emma recieves many acts of kindness from others, but she is still not really happy with anything that anyone has to offer. Charles does so much for her. They move to a different city. They have a child. Emma gets very "sick" and depressed because of Rodolphe, and Charles trys his best to keep her healthy and happy. Emma believes her life is over when Rodolphe, the best thing in her life at the time, leaves her. I think that even if Rodolphe had not left her, she would have ended up unhappy. When she has suicidal thoughts after Rodolphe goes, it foreshadows her fate in the end of the book. She already shows thoughts of suicide and signs of depression.Emma thinks that she needs so much more than can be given to her, but the truth is that she just doesn't want to accept anything thats good for her. Emma has plenty of nice things and she knows a lot of great people but Emma strives for the high life. However, once she would actually make it there, she would look for bigger and better things still. So, I wonder why Flaubert makes this the fate of our character? I havent finished part three yet, so I am also wondering what will become of Charles and their daughter?

When I finished part three, I was really surprised with all the crazy stuff that happened all at once. I was unsure why all these terrible events happened at once, but then again it was building up to the climax. In the beginning of part three, Emma is continuing her affair with Leon. One day that she has gone to visit him and comes back, she finds out that the pharmacist has apparently called for her. This is a part I would like to discuss because two things about it intrigue me.When Emma goes to see the pharmacist he barely even notices that she is there. He is too busy yelling at Justin about going into his sacred depository. When Homais finally notices Emma, he forgets to say what he is supposed to in a polite way and just throws it out: elder Monsieur Bovary has died. It seems like Emma thinks about this for a few moments and may even feel bad, but then it seems as if she doesn’t really care that much.The first thing I would like to talk about from this part is Emma’s reaction to the news. She doesn’t seem to care too much. She is thinking of other things. When she comes home, she does not console Charles the way she should. This makes me feel a little frustrated because Charles always tries to console Emma to the best of his abilities, but she does not do the same for him. Charles is wrong in thinking that Emma feels so sad and is rejecting him due to her sadness. It is Charles’ father that has died, but he is still trying to console Emma. It shows how much he really does love her, but she doesn’t seem to care.Now I would like to talk about the pharmacist. I want to make a connection between this part and the ending of the book. In this part we see that Homais is a hothead and seems to only really care about himself and his “science”. I feel that Homais is very self-centered and arrogant. I personally dislike his character very much. I think that Homais thinks that he is better than everyone else. Homais has a lot to say about other people and subjects, like religion and money, but he seems to think that he can do no wrong. In the end of the book, Homais seems to not really care about Emma’s death. He is more interested in being recognized by these famous doctors. He is only thinking of himself and how he can benefit from the situation, even though it is a tragedy. I’m not sure why Flaubert decides to focus on Homais in the end, but I do know that there is a connection between Homais and Emma. Emma always wanted to be on top and be the best with the best; Homais already thinks he is one of the best.

After Emma's death, Charles is very sad, but he seems to be the only one. Flaubert does not focus on Charles as much as I thought he would after Emma's death. Flaubert focuses more on Homais and the townspeople than he does the main characters in the end. After Emma's death, a few things happened that surprised me, but some event I had expected to occur.Something that surprised me was Felicite's rudeness. I could not believe that Felicite would steal all of Emma's wardrobe. Felicite seemed like a nice and caring person. To steal from someone shows great disrespect. Felicite stole from the dead, that implies to me that she is both disrespectful and coldhearted. She does not care how this could affect Charles' state and does not care that she has disrespected the dead. She shows dishonor to Emma, even if she is dead. I was not surprised that not many of the townspeople still cared much about Emma's death once everything was over. They all have lives of their own and they must live them. Charles thinks that because he still mourns over Emma, others should also. This is not true, Emma was not a big part of their lives like she was in Charles'. He wants to talk to people about her and try to remember her, but the other people are thinking about their own problems and don't really pay much attention. Charles should gop on with his life, but he can't because he doesn't want to. His depression and drawn oput reaction to Emma's death does not surprise me; I expected him to react this way.

Charles' death was not a shock to me. I figured that he would die in the end. He finds out about Emma's affairs and her secret life, and it makes him even more depressed. When he realizes what had been really going on throughout their marriage, he becomes more sad than anything else. He finds out that the love of his life apparently didn't feel the same. I thought it was strange that when he saw Rodolphe, he was not very angry, he just seemed sad. I think that this was the beginning of the events that led up to his breaking point. When Charles started to do things like Emma, I knew it could only turn out worse. He signs promissory notes, borrows and handles money that he does not have, and trys to sell all he has for money. Charles does not dare to touch Emma's things though. He wants to preserve some of her for himself to have, because he can not see her.When Charles stops leaving the house, it indicates to me that he would soon die. He is in a great state of depression. He brings Berthe to the cemetary every night to try and keep the memory of Emma. This is very unhealthy for both of them, even though Berthe may not know what is going on. It is very unhealthy for Charles' depressed mind. Charles becomes worse and worse and stops paying attention to everyone. When he dies, I was a little confused because I was unsure of the cause. I think he comitted suicide also, but was that the way he died?

Something in part three that agitated me was the lack of attention for little Berthe. I feel that it is unfair to her that her parents, and not many others, paid very little attention to her. She was not well cared for. Her father shows her attention towards the end, but it is because she is all he has left; all he has left of Emma.In the last chapter there is a quote that bothers me a little bit because Berthe is left in the dark about what is really going on. "The next day Charles had Berthe back to the house. She asked for her mother and was told that she had gone away on a trip and would bring her back some toys." Then Berthe begins to forget about her mother. I think it is cruel to not tell Berthe what really happened, even though she is young, because she will have to find out about it later anyways. She is expecting her mother back, with toys for her. Little does she know that soon enough she will never see her parents again. She deserves much better.Another quote that made me think was, "It pained him, poor man, to see her so shabbily dressed, with her unlaced shoes and her smock torn from the armhole to the waist, for the cleaning woman took no care of her." It is sad that the cleaning woman does not help in taking better care of Berthe, but it is even more sad that her own father doesn't. Its interesting because Charles is the one that is supposed to be taking care of his daughter, not the cleaning woman. Berthe's mother never really paid much attention to her and she ends up committing suicide. Later on, she finds her father dead. They never gave her very much, but now she really had nothing. There was nothing left to be given to her, all money was spent and everything was gone. Berthe ends up poor and living with a distant aunt. She has to work in a factory to help support the family. Nobody was very good to Berthe in life, and she deserved so much more.

When I read the Biography Skethch and some of the first essay, I see many parallells betwen Flaubert and his lifestyle and the book. Charles and Emma don't have a happy ending to their life, and it doesn't seem like Flaubert did either. Flaubert was short on money, like Charles and Emma. He was probably not as happy with his successes in life as he thought he would be.Flaubert was said to make the first blow to romanticim with "Madame Bovary". I'm not sure if he really was the first to do it, but he deffinitely did make a blow to romanticism. It talks about affairs, hardships, and tragedy caused by love. Love causes both of the main characters to commit suicide. The book shows that loe is not always sweet, and it does not always have a happy ending. Love can be very harsh and it can trigger people to do ver rash things.I think it was good that Flaubert wrote the novel the way he did. Whether it was the first blow to romanticism or not, it is good for people to see a different side of love. It shows a little more reality because love can really cause these kinds of tragedies, and people should know that. Some may think that this book may seem harsh, but I think it is good that it is written this way because people need to see more than just happy endings. Showing different ways of love and different outcomes is good for people to read about. Even though events like the ones in "Madame Bovary" were more uncommon in earlier times, they are becoming more and more common in modern life. People should see different sides to views and ideas; it can help expand their knowledge and give them more light into many different experiences that can occur.

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