Sample essay topic, essay writing: Madame Bovary - 1549 words
Madame Bovary For this paper, Madame Bovary the brilliant modern translation by Lowell Bair Edited and with an introduction by Leo Bersani Including critical articles and historical matirial by Gustave Flaubert was read and has been assessed and discussed in detail. The Bantam Book Inc. first printed this edition in 1972 in New York. This book is definitely a novel. It has all the elements of a true love story. It has a lovesick woman, who has her head filled with notions of a life that will live on happily-ever-after. It is made complete by the death of the heroin.
The outside world is a major influence on this novel. It may be that it is romantic because it was written at the earliest stages of the romantic movement. It also helped revitalized the movement. It gave future romantic writers a model with which to follow. Romanticism at that time believed that the universe was not a machine; that nature and humanity were connected; that feeling was as important to humanity as reason; and that society along with individuals could change and grow uncontrollably. Most young girls are blinded by fantasies of love and adventure, but Emma is more concerned with them than most. Being raised in a convent and having many opportunities to read, her head was full of dreams of undying love and adventure
To Flaubert there were two defects in romanticism. One was the people that joined it but really did not understand it. Then there were those that only joined the cause because it was a way of hiding the reality that they lived in. This novel is also symbolic. Throughout the story many different examples of symbols are used.
One such example is Emma's repeated dreams of travel and their ironic parallels. These are symbols of her romantic visions and their answering reality. The viscount and his cigar case are symbols of a romanticized aristocracy. Throughout the story the color blue is used as a symbol for happiness. This story is told first by a narrator.
The narrator is said to be one of Charles old classmates, but he is gone by the middle of the chapter. Being the narrator he adds intimacy, authority, and immediacy. Using him as a narrator is practical to the point that he knows all about Charles. In the beginning of the book it is important to the story plot to know as much about Charles as possible, because he will be to main object of Emma's dissatisfaction with her unromantic lifestyle. Charles' classmate is eventually phased out as the narrator because he could not add anything more to the story. In chapter five the reader starts to take the point of view of Emma's consciousness. This is the first time the reader can see exactly what she is thinking.
At this point in time we can see she is beginning to become disgusted with Charles. The major point of view that is shown throughout the story is third person omniscient. Madame Bovary is both orthodox and unorthodox in its story plot organization. Some scenes scattered throughout the book are told through the use of a flashback. One such flashback is when Charles describes his parents. He tells about them in an earlier time and place.
Also, Emma tells the reader about some of her memories of the convent and also about her father's farm. Another flashback that occurs often in the book is when Emma has her spells of religious enthusiasm, and when she does this she reverts back into an earlier mood or character. Gustave Flaubert's characterization of Emma is very eccentric and complex. It is almost to the point of being confusing. Through his mastery of language, Madame Bovary can be interpreted as a brilliant example of romanticism. Emma's sentimentality is learned at a very early age, because she was raised in a convent. Throughout the book her tendency toward her dream world was also started in the convent. She constantly searched for the mystic and the unusual rather than the real world.
She spent all of her time dreaming of the extreme romantic view of knights in shining armor and being queen of an old castle. She shut out the dull routine of everyday life because it hurt her to see her life as it really was. After her marriage to Charles, she still continued to dream of her perfect romance filled life. When she saw that marriage was not all that it was suppose to be, rather than trying to love her husband more, she spent all of her time and energy chasing dreams that would never come true. She was never satisfied with her life and was always trying to change it.
Longing for romantic satisfaction, she tried many different things to keep herself occupied and happy, but she soon became bored and moved on to something new. This endless search made her so tired that she eventually became sick. In some of her final attempts to achieve this romantic happiness, she commits adultery. The first man's name is Leon. Leon is exactly like Emma.
He never finds emotional happiness and in a short time he leaves Emma. Emma then meets Rodolphe and she is ready to give herself away to him as soon as they meet. Rodolphe is a womanizer. He understood right away that Emma was tired of her husband and wanted to have an affair. He is only interested in seducing her and when he leaves her for six weeks, it only makes her want him more.
Then there was also Lheureux. Emma, like all romantic characters she had read about, was also suicidal. In her reading, which was at the height of the romantic movement, it was typical for young men and women to kill themselves because their 'true love' had left them. Flaubert revealed through Emma weaknesses of the sentimental and literary romantic. Madame Bovary is iconoclastic because of its attacks on the social middle class.
Flaubert illustrates that the middle class of his time was full of typical middle class conventions and myths of progress. In doing this he showed their weakness and stupidity. He also shows the fact that some of his characters cannot seem to be able to communicate with each other. Through these ways, Flaubert's novel could be set in anytime and anyplace, the only things that would have to change are the costumes and some of the dialog. In Madame Bovary, Flaubert is portraying a phase of French life around the time of the romantic movement.
In Madame Bovary he depicts a life of a typical young lovesick girl through Emma. At the height of the romantic movement all girls dreamed that their lives would be filled with the stuff from the story books. When many of these girls found that their dreams would never be like any book they had read, they could no longer live with themselves knowing they would never be happy. Like Emma, these young girls would often kill themselves rather than face the world without love. Throughout the novel Flaubert uses many different styles. One of them is his use of repetition.
All of Emma's three loves are the same and therefore show repetition. For Emma all of them in the beginning of their relationships are filled with illusions. With all of them she later tries to hide their shortcomings and excite their passion for her. She finally goes through a period of rationalism, and realizes that everything she had dreamed them to be was in her head. The way in which Flaubert creates a mood with his description of a particular event, is also a very evident type of style.
This style is evident in Emma's first disillusionment in part one, chapter seven, her walk with Leon in part two, chapter three, and also in her suicide attempt in part two, chapter thirteen. Another style of Flaubert's is the use of two different actions at the same time to create effect. Some examples are when Emma and Leon's first conversation is going on and at the same time Homais and Charles's conversation is going on. He also used a style called contrasting episode. One such event was Emma's wedding opposed to the La Vaubyessard ball.
Madame Bovary is Flaubert's most typical and most popular book and it gave its author fame posthumously. In this book he combined the longing for the ideals of romanticism and the objective outlook of realism. This book brought Flaubert and the French novel into a higher level of development. It served as a model to later writers of the romantic period and set the tone for all romantic writing. Flaubert said that the basis of his character Emma was non other than himself. Most of his critics, however, say that most of Emma's character was based on pure imagination and nothing more. BibliographyDraper, James P.
World Literature Criticism: 1500 to the Present. Detriot: Gale Research Inc., 1992.Flaubert, Gustave. Madame Bovary: the brilliant modern translation by Lowell Bair. New York: Bantam Books Inc., 1972.Gustave Flaubert. 2001.
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