Madame Bovary

205

The Societal Subjugation in Madame Bovary and Middlemarch

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

 Abuse of characters is by and large filled by external causes. On account of Madame Bovary and Middlemarch, outside causes like sex norms result in the oppression of our female counterparts. In Madame Bovary, society’s desires of a wifely figure limits Emma’s want to climb the social stepping stool. In Middlemarch, the authoritative opinions about female scholarly capacities engendered by characters like Lydgate and Casaubon block Dorothea’s capacity to end up noticeably a scholar inside society. Faultfinder Howard Kushner composes that ‘ philosophy… highlighted females as mothers and guardians of the family’ (Howard 5). This quote draws the strictures of what a lady was required to be in the Victorian time, unmistakably accentuating the confinements set up for womenkind. Investigating the characters in Madame Bovary and Middlemarch offers knowledge into female persecution in Victorian culture.

Madame Bovary offers a blistering prosecution of the oppression of females in the nineteenth century. Emma Bovary’s existence is utilized illustrating a sample on how women’s existence is outlined and directed toward the men encompassing them. Emma is exhibited similarly as a normal lady for dreams about adoration and extravagance to her heart. These dreams were never satisfied because of her early marriage, dictated by her father, and her white-collar class lifestyle, imposed by her husband. Her dreams would be trapped between the wills of the two men over her life. Furthermore, despite she tries, in her own way, to break free from them. She doesn’t find satisfaction in her life, prompting her consequent despondency and later destruction.

It is imperative to take note of the title of the novel, Madame Bovary. The title is dissociative, shadowing the character in an absence of personality. From the title, the reader can gather a certain something: that the woman is hitched to a man named Bovary. We are not conscious of her initial name, featuring its unimportance when contrasted with her wedded name. The inserted message is that her marriage to Bovary speaks to her character. She is relied upon by society to act in a specific way that befits her station of spouse and mother, thus losing the individual personality she had. In spite of the way that the novel is about her, her personality by means of marriage is of essential significance and her actual is persuasively expelled from the title. The absence of individual personality mirrors the male-centric perfect of a woman exclusively as a spouse and mother in the nineteenth century. All things considered, the title itself is the principal example of persecution in Madame Bovary.

It is moreover vital that in spite of having a novel entitled Madame Bovary, the plot starts with an in-depth look at Charles Bovary’s backstory. In her own are, Emma comes second to the man in her life. This story outline (introduced by a man) serves to foretell the importance of male control in Emma’s future connections with men. The account outline is as well Flaubert’s way of emphasizing the auxiliary importance of females as contradicted to the essential noteworthiness of men in Victorian society. She is characterized by the men in her life. In addition, the fact that she is presented after Charles’ backstory and dies sometime before the conclusion of the story per se, gives her life a claustrophobic, quelled vibe – a feeling that she was caught inside the pages, adding to the thought of abuse in Victorian society.

Emma is exhibited as sentimental and a visionary whose aspirations are mistreated by her significant other’s social standing. She longs for enormous urban communities like Paris and of showy gatherings and sentiments in her future. Her marriage to Charles was in regard to her fantasies at first as they had a romantic time toward the beginning of their marriage. Before long, nonetheless, she started longing for additional in the wake of going to a terrific gathering at La Vaubyessard. She endeavors to enrich her home in a way befitting somebody at a higher station than herself. She purchases costly garments suitable for huge city parties with the goal for her to look rich. This longing for more could be inspected as an exceptionally sentimental want for singular satisfaction, fueled by her reading of books and magazines when she was more youthful. Daydreams can be identified with kids’ play, in which the toys and questions they mastermind are, like ‘castles in the air’, images of what they want in their lives. Be that as it may, Emma’s ‘castle’ is out of her compass because of her funds and her marriage. Her fantasies end up noticeably unattainable in light of the fact that society does not enable her to progress past the monetary capacities of her significant other. As somebody from a staunchly white-collar class foundation, the world she longs for is out of reach to her. She censures her significant other for being deficient on the grounds that he doesn’t have the want or intends to enhance their social standing. Emma regrets: ‘she would have liked this name of Bovary, the name that was hers, to be famous, to see it displayed in the book-shops, quoted in the newspapers, known all over France. But Charles hadn’t an ounce of ambition’ (Flaubert 57). On account of her sex, Emma does not be able to climb the social and money related stepping stool individually, and her significant other (the man her identity reliant on) does not have the desire to help her, subsequently bringing about mistreatment she had never fathomed.

The persecution of Emma’s dreams is obviously depicted by the foil character of Leon. Leon and Emma are fundamentally the same as – they both have sentimental thoughts of moving to the huge city and climbing the social stepping stool. They talk about their common dreams finally amid their issue. Be that as it may, in view of his sexual orientation, Leon can move unreservedly to the city and seek after what he cherishes. Emma, then again, stays fastened to the wide open in view of her family. Her better half and tyke keep her attached to a place that she detests, causing a depressive cycle that in the long run closes in death. The straightforward truth is that on account of their distinction in sexual orientations, Leon can better himself and his economic well-being while Emma is kept down. She mourns the weakness of her sex: ‘A man, at least, is free; he can explore each passion and every kingdom, conquer obstacles, feast upon the most exotic pleasures. But a woman is continually dissatisfied. Always there is desire urging, always the convention restraining’ (Flaubert 82) This character contrast underlines the parallel between the two characters and summons an intense feeling of pity and sensitivity for Emma’s character. By contrasting Leon’s movement in existence with Emma’s scarcity in that department, the infertility of her life is lit up, demonstrating how societal desires of a spouse and mother have held her once more from accomplishing what she desires.

Madame Bovary unmistakably communicates the onerous power of Victorian sex standards. It is hard for readers to comprehend why Emma does not indicate warmth to her daughter, but rather we need to understand that the child is an impression of her frustrating and miserable circumstance. Since her husband only disappoints her, the best way to promote herself in the public eye was to have a male kid who might have the capacity to do all that she proved unable. To put it plainly, she needed to receive the rewards that a kid could convey to the family’s social standing. In spite of the fact that this does not pardon her absence of affection for her little girl, it shows the toll that society’s mistreatment assumes Emma’s personality. She has turned into a casualty of society that honors the male sex over that of a female. Flaubert utilizes free indirect dialogue to indicate how Emma is controlled by the men throughout her life. By inserting Charles’ discourse or contemplations into a general third-person account, Flaubert draws out the shallowness of his fascination in Emma. When he initially experiences Emma, his depiction of her physical appearance is extremely point by point, yet nothing he says mirrors his comprehension of her character. Charles was astonished at the whiteness of her nails. They were sparkling, fragile at the tips, more cleaned than the ivory of Dieppe, and almond-cut. However, her hand was not lovely, maybe not sufficiently white, and somewhat hard at the knuckles; additionally, it was too long, with no delicate articulations in the layouts. (Flaubert 25) In almost any instance where Emma uncovers something of her actual character, he’d rather concentrate on her physical appearances.

His fascination or love for her is depicted as shallow. He tends to what she says and a considerable measure for what she resembles. Her dad, in like manner, treats her like a speculation. He puts the prosperity of his homestead in front of the prosperity of his daughter. When he chooses to wed her off to Charles, Emma has nothing to do with the issue. She’s pushed around from one man to the next, expelling any feeling of individuality she may have had. Her character progress is a daughter to a spouse, never an individual. In spite of the fact that an extremely basic process in the Victorian period, men’s ‘ownership’ over ladies is out rightly evident. Women like Emma were made to persevere through a miserable marriage with a man of her dad’s picking – another path in which Victorian culture controlled and mistreated females. 

In her prelude, Eliot expresses that her motivation for composing Middlemarch is to enhance society, only a bit, by demonstrating that a female can beat gender predisposition and exceed expectations at science as well as any man. She had confidence in a sexually impartial science and attested that ‘assumptions’ must be put aside to discover ‘genuine scientific outcomes’. Eliot’s novel is a challenging test of Victorian social standards and a guess of what logical improvement could resemble if the assumptions about women and science were put aside. She boldly attested that science is ‘gender blind’ (Rosemary 1994) and thusly, tested the mistreatment of female intelligence in the world.Casaubon is exhibited as a more seasoned man whose perspectives about men and ladies are strongly male-centric. He attests that ‘a man of good position should expect and carefully choose a blooming young lady — the younger the better, because the more educable and submissive,” and “he should receive family pleasures and leave behind him that copy of himself which seemed so urgently required of a man”. (Eliot 278) Casaubon’s thought processes are clarified in that announcement; he requires a spouse to better his own life, much like somebody would obtain ownership. He is portrayed as self-serving; however, it is hard to blame him for following the traditions of his chance. Victorian culture was organized in a male-centric and phallocentric way and gender standards fueled the regular idea that ladies were mediocre compared to men. Subsequently, many like Dorothea (and Emma Bovary, truth be told) were dealt with like belongings by their fathers and spouses.

Victorian researcher Alexander Walker set forth the hypothesis that ladies were unequipped for thinking and framing associated thoughts, making them rationally frail when contrasted with men. This ties in with Casaubon’s ‘motivation’ for Dorothea. He needs her companionship not for her brains but rather for her physical versatility. Casaubon is an older man whose vision is failing him. After meeting her, he reveals to her that he needs somebody to read for him in the nighttime’s and for reproduction, subsequently drawing the parameters of her value in his life. He thinks about her in a secretarial part, somebody to ‘extract them(notes) under my direction’ (Eliot 199) than taking part in any educated discourse. Casaubon’s impediment of Dorothea smothers her chance to demonstrate her insightfulness. Theories like Walker’s assumed a substantial part in impacting and proliferating the biases of the male-centric Victorian culture, particularly since the partialities were sponsored by logical speculations. Generally, logical speculations were utilized as another type of abuse of ladies. Lydgate’s gender biases are additionally demonstrative of a bigger societal issue of female abuse. His biased perspectives are reflected by different characters in the novel like Casaubon and Chettenham. Lydgate states that he discovers Dorothea not fitting marriage material since she doesn’t ‘take a gander at things from the proper feminine angle’ (Eliot 95). He values females who talk pretty much nothing and includes that he finds emotionlessness enchanting. I feel that he acknowledges a woman whose numbness or absence of intellect influences him to look savvy and imperative from her perspective, thus boosting his manly sense of self. All things considered, Lydgate utilized his extremist measuring stick to place Dorothea in the ‘unmarriageable’ classification – basically speaking to societal biases of intellectual women by men.

A likeness can be found between Emma Bovary’s character and Rosamond’s character. Rosamond’s enthusiasm for wedding Lydgate comes from her need to climb the social stepping stool. She’s portrayed as glad for her husband’s high associations and scientific discoveries– both which could help her climb the social stepping stool. She likewise states: ‘it seemed desirable that Lydgate should by-and-by get some first-rate position elsewhere than in Middlemarch’ (Eliot 356) however Rosamond herself was conceived in the little town. Similarly, Emma Bovary’s primary want was to utilize her better half’s occupation to move to a higher social class, on the grounds that as a lady, there was next to nothing she could do to enhance her social remaining alone. Both Emma and Rosamond are characters caught in a world directed by men. The characters, as people, have next to zero social portability and always require the assistance of a man to advance in the public eye, causing much disappointment and absence of satisfaction in their lives. Basically, the two ladies are casualties of their conditions and Victorian gender standards. Society’s harsh thought that ladies ought to be submissive to the men in their lives implies that any achievement ladies obtain would be through their spouses or fathers. These Victorian beliefs make ladies victims of societal mistreatment.

It is fascinating to take note of that when Lydgate’s marriage goes to pieces, he swings to Dorothea for advice. Thusly, Lydgate for the first time in his life concedes that his astuteness isn’t adequate to take care of the issue in front of him. Rather, he approaches the intellectual ability of Dorothea for assistance. This speaks to a little advance to yield that ladies may hold the appropriate responses some of the time and are not just unequipped for thinking, as Walker puts it. Lydgate speaks to a little beam of expectation in turning around the male misconception and harmful stereotypes of women. Utilizing social standards to carry on with an existence of individual significance is a technique that Dorothea uses to defeat societal persecution. The societal tradition of marriage is a lady’s chance to affirm herself in the public eye. Dorothea utilizes this chance to pick a spouse who might not prevent her wants from securing being a scholarly person. Her marriage to Ladislaw can be viewed as her desire to settle on her own choices, in spite of the objection to her family and society. As indicated by Joseph Nicholes, Dorothea’s selection of spouses is an endeavor to fight the ‘dreary uselessness of a ‘gentlewoman’s oppressive liberty’. Her smarts of utilizing society’s own abusive principles to discover individual satisfaction are admirable and maybe speaks to a little advance towards dodging the societal persecution of women.Victorian sex norms were inserted profoundly in the ordinary workings of society and it was close to unimaginable for somebody to break free from them, particularly somebody from the sex, for the most part, saw to be weaker. Despite the fact that Dorothea’s mind and Lydgate’s renewal speak to a little beam of expectation, sex standards and preferences are exhibited as too profoundly instilled in the public eye for any of these characters to have a huge effect.

Works Cited

Primary References

  • Eliot, George. Middlemarch. BiblioBazaar, 2007. Print
  • Flaubert, Gustave, et al. Madame Bovary. W.W. Norton, 2005. Print 

Secondary References

  • Gartner, Rosemary. The Oxford Handbook of Gender, Sex, and Crime. Oxford University Press, 2014. 
  • Kushner, Howard. Weaver, John, and David Wright. Histories of Suicide: International Perspectives on Self-Destruction in the Modern World. University of Toronto Press, 2009. 
Read more

267

Irony As a Main Stylistic Device in Madame Bovary

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

Irony can be separated into three distinct categories: situational, dramatic and verbal. The first two of these ironies can be seen throughout Flaubert’s text, and there are distinct instances whereby they are seen to heighten the pathos of the narrative. Verbal irony as defined by Christopher Warner as occurring ‘when the speaker says the opposite of what he means,’ (Warner:2016) is in fact present within Madame Bovary, however, it tends not to be incorporated with or around poignant events and thus there is no pathos for it to influence. It can be said that although not all forms of irony are utilised to add to the narrative’s pathos, more so are than are not, and so it is the case that the irony within the text, indeed does not take away from pathos, on the contrary, it only adds to it.

The first form of irony in discussion here is situational irony; arguably the most commonly understood of the three, it occurs when ‘a state of affairs or an event [..] seems deliberately contrary to what was or might be expected’ (NA: 2015). This device can be seen in the denouement of Flaubert’s novel where it adds to the pathos of the narrative. It is made clear throughout the text that the protagonist Emma has a warped idea of romance, and consequently the character yearns to be loved not only by any man, but by a man who could not live without her. It is this desire that significantly contributes to the character’s despair and eventually her suicide. The Situational Irony lies within the fact that the only man who indeed could not live without Emma was her husband, Charles, the very character who’s love she repeatedly dismisses as ‘nothing startling’ (Flaubert: 35), and in turn the last character one would assume would be able to fulfil Emma’s desire. The narrator describes the protagonist’s feelings of disappointment towards her husband stating that it was ‘inconceivable that this calm life of hers could really be the happiness of which she used to dream’ (Flaubert: 27). The character’s romanticised ideas of love are presented further when she claims to believe that love inevitably involves ‘aching hearts, promising, sobbing, kisses and tears’ (Flaubert: 29). It is only after the protagonist’s suicide that it is clear the character Charles lives up to Emma’s romanticised expectations of love, Flaubert presents this as the character dies shortly after his wife. The character dies ‘choking like an adolescent from the vague amorous yearning that swelled his achy heart’ (Flaubert: 295). Flaubert’s use of irony here is heart-rending for the reader, as he directly references Emma’s very desire for ‘aching hearts’ (Flaubert: 29), presenting a manifest similitude between the character’s fatal desires and her actualities. It is here where pathos is created, although it is arguable that suicide will unavoidably evoke sadness in the reader, regardless of narrative and situation, it is the irony and in turn the notion that the character’s death was needless which heightens this sense of sympathy and pity.

The next form of irony discussed, and one perhaps less commonly understood, is dramatic irony, which can be defined by G.G Sedgewick as a device which occurs ‘when someone on the stage reveals a failure to comprehend a situation of which the audience have understanding.’ (Sedgewick: 102) This is yet another form of irony which amplifies the novel’s pathos, this can be seen in the protagonist’s courtship with the character Rudolphe; Emma believes that she has finally found a man who can truly love her, and whom she can share the ‘happiness of which she used to dream’ (Flaubert: 32). This belief is not shared with the reader, as we are aware due to the omniscient narrator that the character does not intend to stay with Emma, nor does he love her. Flaubert presents this in describing Rudolphe’s views on women as the narrator states that to him ‘Emma was just another mistress’ (Flaubert: 159). This ironic device evokes sadness and pity within the reader, as the majority of the novel is written from Emma’s perspective it is naturally with her character that our sympathies lie. Yet it is in this instance where the narrator gives us an insight to Rudolphe’s thoughts, that we are left feeling both unsettled and helpless, as we wait for the turmoil to unfold unbeknownst to Emma. The pathos here is heightened as we are simultaneously aware of Emma’s need for love and Rudolphe’s lack thereof.

The final instance in which irony can be seen to enhance pathos is presented in the protagonist’s suicide. This situational irony occurs as the character Emma chooses to poison herself with Arsenic, believing that it will cause a quick and painless death, however it is the exact opposite which she experiences. The character’s misunderstanding of the poison’s effect is presented as she states immediately after eating it, in a rather nonchalant manner ‘I’m going to fall asleep and it’ll all be over’ (Flaubert:266). As previously stated this is vastly different to the time-consuming, painful death the character actually experiences; the narrator presents this intense pain describing the ‘ghostly jolting of [Emma’s] ribs, shaken by the furious breathing, as if her soul were jerking to break free’ (Flaubert: 274). The death is not only presented as painful but also extremely time-consuming as Flaubert dedicates almost an entire chapter to its description. Here, irony adds to the pathos as the character’s ill understanding of the poison lead to an agonising death, of which she was not prepared. As a reader, the fact that Emma believed her death would be fast and painless only adds to the sadness we feel when reading of the contrary excruciation that she actually felt.

To conclude, in the case of Madame Bovary, it can be said that irony does not take away from pathos, on the contrary, it only adds to it. The two forms of irony utilised in Flaubert’s text which help in doing so, are situational and dramatic irony. Although there are cases where Flaubert incorporates verbal irony within the novel’s dialogue, these are not mentioned within the essay as they tend to not be involved with poignant events and so to argue whether it adds to pathos or not, would be non-viable.

Read more

198

Depiction Of Human Nature in Madame Bovary

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

Madam Bovary : Style Analysis

The tone of this extract from Madam Bovary is gloomy and bitter. Emma Bovary is trapped in the hole of sadness which she makes no effort to escape. Her expectations of reality are too complex to be fulfilled in real life. So her ideas of perfect love and happiness are all fabricated and amount to nothing.

The author’s diction shows the depth of Emma’s suffering as well as her foolishness. She believes that her “melancholy” caused by Charles’s indifference “exasperated” her and that she can’t escape it but has to “clave” to it. The author makes it seems as if Emma is trapped in deep pain and is doomed. Suffering is part of life and can be resolved, but the author creates the image of an Emma who is foolishly and consciously holding onto her pain. She believes that she is “virtuous” and deserves “felicity” which is obstructed by Charles’s “ingratitude”. The irony from her beliefs in happiness arises when she thinks of committing adultery while claiming that she is simply escaping her boring husband. Although Charles is genuinely seeking Emma’s happiness, she stays blinded by her erroneous conception of “felicity” that she can’t treat others well. The author’s diction is depressing but since he acts detached from Emma, we cannot empathize with her, only contemplate her foolishness.

The author’s detail reinforces Emma’s foolishness as she gets upset over every little thing, big or small. Things that are “half-opened” or “ill-served” in her house irritate her. If she were in someone else’s house then she might have a right to complain, but since she is in her own room, she is not allowed to. She is busy complaining about her life that she becomes lazy enough not to close a door or serve or self. She further believes that the “domestic mediocrity” from Charles caused her the “lusts of the flesh”. A house with a broken relationship can be fixed if both partners collaborate, but Emma hasn’t directly told her husband but expects him to somehow do something. And ironically she wants to further destroy their relationship by having an affair with someone. The author’s careful and meticulous detail show the extent of Emma’s foolishness and her pride.

The third-person omniscient point of view highlights the narrator’s mockery of Emma’s choices. While noting that Emma “had loathing of this hypocrisy”, the narrator contradictory asks “For whose sake, then was she virtuous?” The narrator accurately reflects Emma’s attitude toward her hypocrisy. But by asking a question with no answer, he immediately detaches himself from her. He continues mocking her by saying, “Her[Emma] own gentleness to herself made her rebel against him” and that “What exasperated her was that Charles did not seem to notice her anguish”. Emma believes that Charles is the one responsible for her pain, but the author believes otherwise. He asks rhetorical questions and affirm things that make us realize Emma’s foolishness in complaining but taking no concrete action. The third person point of view only describes the character’s feelings without directly influencing our opinions of them; this allows us to realize the deeper meaning of the work.

The organization of this short passage moves from introductory, to blaming, and then finally to bitter. The first section of the passage sets the stage for our analysis Emma and her complex nature. She is perceived as an arrogant and foolish person who wants her expectations of life to be fulfilled in reality . The next portion then introduces Emma’s scapegoat for all her troubles, Charles Bovary. She believes that he is at fault for everything since he does not meet her expectations of a ‘real’ husband, and she keeps blaming him for the drift that’s beginning to show in their relationship. This ever growing drift which Emma doesn’t want to close leads to the bitter tone of the last section. She expects the situation to progress and become better on its own, just like in novels. This pattern is also repeated throughout the book which shows how much time the author dedicated to his work.

Flaubert’s novel carefully analyzes the complexity and psychology of human nature in their interpretation of reality. He uses a beautiful and elegant language to convey Emma’s state of mind and thought process which allows the reader to draw inspiring life lessons.

Read more

241

A Woman as a Resource: Emma’s Marital Status

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Published in 1856, the novel Madame Bovary is one of the first to explore the issue of women’s disempowerment in a pointedly modern fashion. As a woman, the protagonist Emma experiences a number of obstacles that prevent her from reaching what she desires the most. Emma is viewed as a valuable asset, rather than as an individual; her prestige depends on her husband’s social status, which makes her a mere “attachment” to another person. Thus, Emma doesn’t posses the power she needs to reach her ambitions and learns that men cannot help her in obtaining what she wishes, too.

In the novel, Emma stands not as an independent person, but as a valuable commodity to be traded. After realizing Charles’s intentions towards his daughter, old Rouault considers not Emma’s feelings, but possible personal financial gain from a potential marriage, “When, therefore, he perceived that Charles’s cheeks grew red if near his daughter, which meant that he would propose for her one of these days, he chewed the cud of the matter beforehand. He certainly thought him a little meager, and not quite the son-in-law he would have liked, but he was said to be well brought-up, economical, very learned, and no doubt would not make too many difficulties about the dowry”. Emma is no more than a precious asset her father uses to better his financial situation, “Now, as old Rouault would soon be forced to sell twenty-two acres of “his property,” as he owed a good deal to the mason, to the harness-maker, and as the shaft of the cider-press wanted renewing, “If he asks for her,” he said to himself, “I’ll give her to him”. Therefore, this novel explores the idea of a woman, being treated as a profitable commodity, rather than as a person.

After marriage, Emma’s social status becomes higher due to esteemed position her husband takes. This signifies Charles’s superiority over his wife. During wedding, old Rouault condemns one of the traditional wedding games that, on his opinion, don’t suit his future son-in-law status, “…a fishmonger, one of their cousins (who had even brought a pair of soles for his wedding present), began to squirt water from his mouth through the keyhole, when old Rouault came up just in time to stop him, and explain to him that the distinguished position of his son-in-law would not allow of such liberties.” At the same time, Emma’s desire to get married at midnight under the torch light is ignored, “Emma would, on the contrary, have preferred to have a midnight wedding with torches, but old Rouault could not understand such an idea”. From the start of the couple’s relationships, Charles is viewed as the leader of the household. Emma, on the other side, serves as an “attachment” to her husband, whose wishes are not quite as important.

Emma’s submissive position motivates her to use the men as an indirect tool of achieving her goals. This method limits Emma’s power and brings her only disappointment. At first, Leon meets Emma’s romantic ideals. The two become close and Emma seems to have found the sophistication and refined taste in art she always searched for in her lover. As the time goes by, Emma notices Leon’s weak character and limited intelligence, “She accused Leon of her baffled hopes, as if he had betrayed her; and she even longed for some catastrophe that would bring about their separation, since she had not the courage to make up her mind to it herself”. Once again, at the minute of need, when Emma urges Leon to provide her with financial help, he makes up excuses to avoid doing so, “Go, try, try! I will love you so!” He went out, and came back at the end of an hour, saying, with solemn face—“I have been to three people with no success”. Charles’s passivity prevents Emma from entering higher social circles and having elegant life she desires; she falls in love and seeks fulfillment of her wishes in Rodolphe, who loses interest in an “insane” lover and leaves her, “She sighed. “We would go and live elsewhere—somewhere!” “You are really mad!” he said laughing. “How could that be possible?” This way, as a woman, Emma doesn’t have a power she needs to achieve her goals and fails to receive whatever she wants from the men around her.

In a progressive feminist novel Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert depicts the struggles of a representative woman who is viewed as a financial resource, rather than an individual. Emma is defined by her husband’s social status, rather her personal achievements; she becomes disillusioned and bitter by her husband’s and lovers’ failures to fulfill her ambitions.

Read more

206

Gustave Flaubert’s Description of the Fight for Women to Live According to Rules Set by the Community as Indicated in Her Book, Madame Bovary

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

“Then upon the mouth, which had spoken lies, moaned in pride and cried out in lust”(256). Emma Bovary’s attempts to achieve her unrealistic desires are also an attempt to break free of the restraints society puts on women. Unfortunately, she is not in a position to break through these barriers because of the lack of power women have in this time period. Her actions represent the struggle that women had trying to maintain an image to fit society’s standards.

Emma Bovary talks about giving birth to a child so that he could live the life that she was not able to have. She does not want her son to be hampered by society’s restrictions because it would give her some meaning to her life to have a child that “is free”(23). Their society does not give women the opportunity to live fulfilling lives because they are limited in what they can achieve. Having a son to Emma represents the state of women’s rights in the 19th century and it accurately depicts the struggle that comes with being a woman when you have to hope to have a son to be free. This is why Emma Bovary lacks any financial stability because women during this time period did not have the ability to make almost any money the way that men did. A woman’s role was to be played in the house and more as a subservient to a man rather than their equal. These restrictions led Emma to riddle her marriage with dishonesty and infidelity.

Emma continues to struggle with achieving her unfulfilled desires because Charles does not seem to interest her after a short period of time. She does not have a viable excuse for her infidelity because she knew it was wrong by the restrictions of her marriage and she cannot justify her infidelity. Emma’s actions depict a woman who is selfish enough to violate the laws of marriage for her own needs.

“She thirsted for his lips, she longed for his love and cursed herself for having allowed him to leave. She could not comprehend through what weakness or virtue she had deprived herself of such a happiness”(293).

In this situation, I believed that in the back of her mind she thought about Charles feelings momentarily which is why she did not go through with having intercourse with Leon this time. She understands how unfaithful she is and the image that she is presenting to those she encounters. At the same time, she seems unable to contain herself and her desires because she continues to be dishonest and continues her acts of infidelity. This is not a matter of society restraining her from her actions because she placed herself in this scenario by setting such high expectations for her desires. It is impossible for her to even get a taste of the desires because they are so far out of reach. Emma does what she wants although she knows there may be consequences because she is still longing that happiness that she has yet to find in her life.

Emma portrays herself as a selfish and very needy individual because of her thirstiness for not only her own happiness, but for financial stability as well. I can understand that because she is a woman she does not have the power to make money the way she wants to, but she wants more money than some men have. Her financial instability eventually contributes to her downfall because she ends up in debt not being able to pay off the money she owes. It shows her carelessness and it shows how immoral she is acting considering she puts Charles in such a difficult situation to handle. The only sympathy that I have for her is because she is unable to do anything about her financial status. That is quickly countered by the fact that she continues to grow her debt although she knows that she does not have any financial funds to pull money from. That is what leads her to be reckless and ask various people for money because she digs herself a grave and eventually she has to lie in it.

Emma Bovary is put in a difficult situation in this book due to the fact that she is a woman with limited rights. Her situation only continues to grow worse the more she tries to fulfill her farfetched desires, which never happens. I can only help but wonder if her desires would be fulfilled if women had equal rights to men during this time. At the same time, I am sure it would help her financial status but her dream of finding the perfect man and living the perfect life would still be a dream to her.

Read more

226

Community Service Program Reflection: Malama Loko Ea

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Last September 15th, 2018, I went on a community service program together with my friends at the Malama Loko Ea fishpond in North Shore, Hawaii. It was the first community service I have done in that area. We have chosen the place because we just want to go North Shore, especially me who has never been there. The only problem that we had was the mode of transportation, but we discussed it later. We all listened to each other speak about their thoughts about this task and we got to the point of intersection. Since I have never been to North Shore, I was so excited and a bit nervous at the same time. I got to go there by myself and the whole trip on the way there felt so amazing. I woke up early in the morning to catch the bus. It took two hours to get there but those two hours were one of the most magnificent moments of my life. I have got to see a whole new side of Hawaii different from what I have been seeing.

Instead of tall buildings, I saw plantations and mountain ranges. It was my first time seeing a mountain that looked like knuckles and it was explicitly gorgeous. We all met in the area and went together to the fishpond. Before the activity started, we have done some small introductions and one the heads of the area talked about a brief history of the pond. The Loko e‘a is a 400-year old Hawaiian fishpond. I have learned that the pond is self-sustaining and can maintain fish stocks if well managed. This reflects the art of Native Hawaiian resource management practices. The mission of the foundation is to perpetuate the Native Hawaiian culture through education, land stewardship, and community building, while sustainably restoring our precious natural resources. On the other hand, their vision statement is to connect the present to the past. The purpose of this foundation is to restore ea. Ea has many translations including independence, life, air, or breath. It can also be a verb that means “to rise up” or “to smell”. The fishpond serves as a home to numerous aquatic species like Ahole, Ama’ama, ‘O‘opu Naniha which are all indigenous to Hawaii. This is the one of the reasons why the foundation has been working hard to restore and improve the pond.

After the brief talk, we were split into separate groups. We went to the part where there is a lot of weeds. We were given gloves and tools then we started working. I noticed that we all have the same working style which is execute. We just did what we were told and pulled out all the weeds. While were doing the work, we got a chance to talk to Sayo Costantino, the Kupuohi Education Program Director. She has been serving the foundation for over 10 years. She said that the removal of invasive grass species is important in reopening the waterways and allowing the native vegetation to thrive. That is when I realized how important our duty is in restoring the balance in the ecosystem of the area. By pulling out these weeds, we are not just helping the native plants grow, we are helping the marine species of Waialua bay which relies on these natural food sources. To conclude, my experiences in this community service made me realized how important our aina is. The littles things that we did like pulling out the weeds have a significant effect in maintaining the balance in the ecosystem of the fishpond.

Also, I have so much respect to the staff of the foundation who has been working hard to restore and improve the area. Their passion and dedication to their work astonish me. As an aspiring health professional, I would like to have that same amount of passion and dedication. I am looking forward to more community service programs and I hope next time, I would be able to work in a medical type of service.

Read more

535

Madame Bovary Analysis

May 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

In Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, the story predominately follows how Emma Bovary becomes disenchanted with her lifestyle as the wife of Charles Bovary and seeks to find the unobtainable life she so desperately dreams of from the books she reads. However, before all of that, Charles Bovary has a history of his own with a previous marriage and a dreary childhood. In the passage describing a request for his services and his journey to a distance farm, the descriptive imagery and juxtaposition of his thoughts convey how static his character is.

Flaubert chooses to describe Charles Bovary’s demeanor and actions as easy going to illustrate to the audience how his personality is both average and carefree. When a man frantically comes to their home in the middle of the night with a letter requesting Charles to set a broken leg, he “lean[s] his elbow on the pillow to read it” (11). Disregarding the fact that the situation is considered to be an emergency to many, Charles leisurely takes his time in his own comfort.

This goes back to his growing up when chose to not prepare for his examination, resulting in his failure. He does not understand the gravity of circumstances and does everything as he pleases. This is further exemplified when he decides to leave “three hours later,” all “well wrapped” and moving in a “peaceful trot” (11-12).

Rather than trying to get there as fast as he can, he goes at a pace where he can even fall asleep. He has little to no concern for the patient that is urgently waiting for him to put him out of excruciating pain. He has to make an attempt to “recall the broken leg” along with any knowledge he has on how to fix it during the journey (12). His lack of ambition is prevalent in this scene as it brings up his past apathy towards his schoolwork, which is catching up with him now, along with his currently indifference towards his work. He has no desire to excel in his job; he is perfectly content being an average man doing average work. This insight to his character shows how for a good portion of his life already, he has little to no goals in life and will most likely never strive to go above the ordinary. The description of Charles lethargically treating his job reveals his unchanging dispirited outlook on life.

Flaubert’s use of juxtaposition when Charles is confused between his memories from long ago and from now to elucidate the lack of development within his character. He becomes disoriented between his life as a “student and [a] married man” because of his similarities in them, leading back to the idea that he has not changed much within the past years (12). The way he goes about regarding any task, whether it be in school or in his current home, is very calm and passive. He is already a grown man with a job and a wife, yet his personality has remained unchanging. The reflection that he has unveils to us how, due to the stationary nature of his character, time has passed in a continuum such that he cannot distinguish when moments of his life have passed.

Comparing his life in medical school with the “iron rings of the bed curtains running on their rods” to his present life in a home with “his wife sleeping,” though most would think them to be vastly differing, the way he approaches them is the same—laid back to the point where he cannot distinguish between them anymore (12). By placing these two scenarios next to each other, Flaubert signals to the readers that, similar to how Charles has not changed from his childhood to now, he will continue to remain this mediocre man even in the future. Although we do not know why yet, this mindset of his seems to have importance towards the rest of the story. Altogether, the juxtaposition of Charles’ former and current self highlights the importance of his ordinary persona.

Flaubert’s use of language brings out Charles Bovary’s passive behavior, indicating a significance in his sedentary character for later chapters. Charles’ easy going demeanor, not laudable nor detrimental, seems to be a base off which other characters are compared to. Since he does not strive for much nor cause harm, he acts as a norm for people to relate to.

Read more

280

Sympathy for the betrayers and the betrayed

May 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

More than would be imagined, it is sometimes more difficult to sympathise with the victims of infidelity; easier than we might have imagined to sympathise with the betrayers themselves.’ To what extent do you agree with this estimation in relation to the three texts chosen?

In none of the three texts can it be said that the adulterers elicit or deserve greater sympathy than the victims of adultery. Despite this imbalance, it would unconsidered and possibly rather supercilious to simply judge the betrayers on their actions without meditating on the reasoning behind the actions and the circumstances in which the adulterers have found themselves.

All the adulterers within the text (apart from Jerry in Betrayal (1978), and Rodolphe in Madame Bovary (1857)) merit a degree of sympathy, yet despite this, their actions cannot be wholly justified, and the characters cannot, therefore, be fully exonerated.

The savage destruction of Emma Bovary by Flaubert, and Cresseid’s gruesome infliction of leprosy are certainly a cause for sympathy in both cases.

Emma Bovary’s death is a painfully drawn out event in which ‘she turned whiter than the sheet at which her fingers kept clawing’ and ‘soon began to vomit blood. Her limbs were contorted, her body covered with brown blotches.’ It is interesting to note the contrast between the description at the beginning of the novel in which Flaubert erotically describes ‘the tip of her tongue poking between her beautiful teeth, delicately licking the bottom of the glass’ and the description post-arsenic in which ‘her entire tongue protruded from her mouth; her rolling eyes dimmed like lamp globes as they fade into darkness.’ Notably, Flaubert focuses on the body and its indignities, which is in contrast to Madame Bovary’s romanticism Similarly, in The Testament of Cresseid, Henryson depicts a disease so realistic and visceral that, as early as 1841, Sir J. A. Y. Simpson was able to diagnose the exact type of disease Cresseid has.

(1) Henryson’s detailed description gave rise to at least one suggestion that he himself was a physician. The Gods marred her, declaring, ‘Your eyes so bright and crystal I make bloodshot / Your voice so clear, unpleasing, grating, hoarse / Your healthy skin I blacken, blotch and spot / With livid lumps I cover your fair face’. Cupid’s declaration of, ‘Your mirth I hereby change to melancholy’ is one of a series of semantically opposite, yet alliterative words, which in this instance, are used to display the unfavourable contrast of Cresseid’s existence before her punishment and afterwards, whilst also augmenting the malicious and sadistic nature of the Gods. In Heaney’s translation he writes, ‘your high estate is in decline and fall’. The is a reference to Edward Gibbon’s work ‘The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,’ (1776) the literary allusion conveying the suddenness and inexplicability of Cresseid’s physical decline. The bleakness of her situation is summarised in the description of her having to ‘make do with a cup and clapper. They remain’ – Her whole life has been reduced to this alliterative phrase, whilst the caesura indicates the sudden nature of her loss.

Not only does Cresseid receive a gruesome affliction, the reader is also left with the feeling that her punishment is undeserved. The reason for her sentence is blasphemy, since ‘whoever blasphemes… all Gods offer insults.’ Betrayal is heavily frequented with profanities such as ‘Good God’, yet nothing results. In Madame Bovary, Charles ‘addressed curses to the heavens, but not so much as a leaf quivered.’ The triviality of Cresseid’s offence in contrast to the magnitude of her chastisement displays an injustice in the name of justice, and this is borne true in the lack of consequence fastened to blasphemy in the other two texts. When Cupid retorts indignantly of Cresseid’s claim that ‘I was the cause of her misfortune,’ one notes an irony given that all the Gods share an overwhelming involvement in all her actions and hence her misfortune. Cresseid is a puppet of the pagan God’s whims, and her lack of volition means that she should not be blamed.

Fate is recurrently referred to, in for example, the lines, ‘Cresseid’s most miserable and fated death’ (‘fatall destenie’), ‘Of Troy and Greece, how it could be your fate’, and ‘Fate is fickle when she plies the shears.’ This predestination is not a problem with which the adulterers in the other two texts must face. Further, the scornfully humorous description of the Gods, particularly Saturn who ‘behaved in a churlish, rough, thick-witted manner,’ and had a ‘rucked and wrinkled face, a lyre like lead’ and a ‘steady nose run’ creates a further sympathy for Emma, since those that condemn her are rendered in an absurd, grotesque and humorous light. Henryson goes further when he describes Cupid as ‘a boar that whets its tusks, he grinds and fumes,’ since it goes beyond anthromorphism to zoomorphism; and the description of Gods that ‘raged, grimaced, rampaged and bawled and scoffed’ is a display of Gods that have unlimited power and limited judgement.

Whilst Madame Bovary does not have to contend with predestination, her actions are still restricted by society’s ambits and the limitations placed on women in the mid-nineteenth century. In societal terms, she has to live in the mediocrity of her provincial surroundings. It is important to note that the novel’s sub-title is ‘Provincial Manners’ – they frustrated Flaubert, and he used Emma Bovary’s disgust with her class as a way of conveying his own hatred for the banality of the middle-classes. Madame Bovary shows how ridiculous the attitudes of the bourgeoisie can be. Homais’s haughtily flamboyant speeches are used by Flaubert to display the pretensions of the bourgeois. The less grandiose act by a woman who received a 25 franc award for 54 years of service giving ‘it to our cur� so he can say some masses for me’ leads the reader not to see this as remarkable, rather to see it as a sign of fanaticism, thus challenging fidelity as a certain good. Madame Bovary longs to be more refined and sophisticated than her environment allows her.

Flaubert’s depiction of ‘a black chalk drawing of the head of Minerva … in the middle of a wall whose green paint was flaking from the damp’ is a visual metaphor for Emma Bovary, a Roman goddess amongst the banalities of life. A recurring leitmotif in the novel is that of Emma Bovary looking ‘with her head against the window pane, gazing into the garden’; it is a poignant allusion to her aspirations for a more interesting existence and also her locomotive desires, in which the garden has both a metaphorical and physically restrictive quality. Her affairs represent her both breaking out of an ‘existence as humdrum and circumscribed as that of their hens and their dogs’ (2) and that she had no ‘qualms about mistaking ‘cul’ for ‘coeur.'(2)

The Emma of Betrayal has a greater degree of freedom than the other two protagonists, she, after all is ‘running a gallery.’ Nevertheless, it could be argued that she is a player in amongst Jerry and Robert’s game of one-upmanship; their self-absorbed competitiveness being encapsulated in their games of squash (note the punning effect with the verb ‘squash’ and Rodolphe’s remark that he will ‘squash him (Charles) like a fly in Madame Bovary). This remark of Rodolphe’s shows that he also gets enjoyment from stamping on other men’s power, which is backed up in the imagery of Rodolphe’s ‘Mounted stags heads’ in his study – he gets a thrill from male conquest as well as female conquest. Harold Pinter himself commented that Betrayal is ‘a play about two close friends’ – perhaps Emma is simply within Jerry and Robert’s story, a victim of psychological determinism, rather than Madame Bovary’s societal determinism and Cresseid’s cosmic determinism.

Both Emma Bovary and Cresseid share an existence in a patriarchal world, which Emma from Betrayal is not a part of. Madame Bovary, for example, is blessed with artistic gifts that cause Charles to proudly display her work to whoever chooses to visit his abode. However, given the restrictions placed on women during the period, the Bovary household’s wall would be the only dwelling for any art she may happen to create; this can be contrasted to Betrayal’s Emma who actually owns her own art gallery and who also has the benefit of the possibility of travelling anywhere she wants (the film notes her possession of a car: making her an agent of mobility), and is not confined to the ennui of a rustic Rouen. Madame Bovary’s gender-founded restrictions are expressed in the structure of the novel.

The novel initiates with a depiction of Charles’ schooldays, and indeed, starts with the ‘nous’ form, thus centralising Charles’s character. At the end of the novel, Homais becomes the centre of attention, as his mounting successes are described by Flaubert, finally climaxing in ‘Il vient de recevoir la croix d’honneur’ (‘he has been given the Legion of Honour’). Emma’s story is therefore trapped between Charles’ and Homais’; the structure of the novel is mimetic of her entrapment in a male-dominated world, and these restrictions should evoke sympathy in the reader.

Similarly, Cresseid is subject to male authority, which is made clear in the line ‘Yet whatever men may think or say contemptuously,’ and the traditionally accepted belief of her as being merely a lustfully encumbered individual is challenged by the way in which her punishment is portrayed as having resulted from blasphemy. The popular portrayal of Cresseid in both Chaucer’s Troilus and Cresseid (C. 1380) and Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida is challenged by the Testament of Cresseid (1475) and evoke sympathy in the reader.

Madame Bovary and Emma are mutually unique from Cresseid in that their adulterous other halves are base to a level which subtracts from the potential criticism of the primary adulterers themselves. Jerry is emotionally detached from Emma, yet still has a vulgar, sexual interest in her, as indicated in the final (yet chronologically foremost) scene in which he declares, ‘I should have had you, in your white, before the wedding, I should have blackened you, in your white wedding dress.’ He later articulates, ‘you’re banishing me to, a state of catatonia,’ and frequently proclaims ‘you’re beautiful,’ ‘you’re incredible’ etc. However, earlier in the play, he makes short remarks and responses to Emma’s questions – an indication that he has no real emotional interest in her. Jerry also fails to recall with accuracy certain events relating to their relationship.

For example when Jerry recalls throwing Emma’s daughter in the air he believed it to be in Emma’s kitchen, to which she replied, ‘it was your kitchen’. When Jerry calls her ‘darling’ she responds, ‘don’t say that,’ because she knows that this term of endearment is not meant by Jerry. Emma puts in a lot of effort into the affair, as indicated by her yearning for a continuation of their romantic escapades: ‘you see, in the past, we were inventive, we were determined,’ Jerry’s disinterested response is, ‘It would not matter how much we wanted it if you’re not free in the afternoons and I’m in America.’ This is extremely similar to Rodolphe’s remark ‘You’re mad, you really are! … How could we do that?,’ when Emma puts forward the idea of a sojourn in Paris, and is indicative of the contrasting levels of commitment between the adulterer and the adulteress.

When they finally decide on their trip to Paris, Madame Bovary asks, ‘I am counting the days. Aren’t you?’ There is also a link between that and Emma’s question ‘will we ever go to Venice?’ She answers her own question in Betrayal – in Madame Bovary, nothing is said at all. Emma’s desire for something more in their relationship is indicated in her wish for a shared home with Jerry. She is saddened by the fact that ‘the crockery and the curtains and the bedspread’ have been left for so long. She later says to Jerry ‘you didn’t ever see it as a home in any sense did you?,’ to which Jerry replied, ‘no, I saw it as a flat… you know.’ Emma correctly acknowledges Jerry’s desires when she finishes off his sentence with the words ‘for fucking,’ despite Jerry’s protestation of ‘for loving’.

Emma’s inability to let go of the relationship is indicated in the scene where she struggles to take her ring from her keyring and ends up throwing it to Jerry to take it off – Jerry would be happy to end the relationship. Rodolphe is an even more heinous character, as indicated in his objectification of Emma: ‘This one had seemed pretty to him,’ the word ‘one’ rather than ‘she’ makes her merely one of his many inamoratas.

Even more striking is when he says, ‘how to get rid of it afterwards’ (admittedly, the French ‘elle’ can mean both ‘she’ and ‘it,’ but Margaret Mauldon’s Oxford translation, unlike that of the Penguin edition uses the wholly unkind ‘it,’ which is much more effective in making Rodolphe appear objectionable). In both cases, the deplorable adulterers create sympathy when scrutinising the adulteresses and this is not a factor that exists in The Testament of Cresseid. If one were to be overtly cynical, it could be argued that Jerry and Rodolphe are partly correct in their views on the affair. Is an affair really all that romantic, after all? Vargas Llosa would be quick to point out the dangers of equating lust with love. Perhaps the two Emmas are looking for too much in the relationship, and are making it out to be more than it really is.

Emma’s amorous adventures activate an abundance of lies, yet Stephen Heath empathizes with her fabrications. He states that ‘Emma lies, but everything lies'(3), he talks of how ‘the narrating voice enters to state a distance from her, but Flaubert also cuts such statements, reduces their number(3).’ At times, the narration drifts into sympathy with Emma, at other times it condemns her. The use of a style indirect libre causes the narration to be ambiguous, and the truth of description becomes indistinguishable from the subjectivity of opinion.

A characteristic example of this is when Flaubert talks about Rodolphe in the 3rd person ‘Rodolphe had heard these things so many times that they had nothing original for him.’ He then reverts into Rodolphe’s mind: ‘one has to make allowances, he thought, exaggerated declarations masking mediocre affection.’ One gets the impression that Flaubert reverts back to the narrative in the ending lines ‘human language is like a cracked cauldron on which we beat out tunes to make a bear dance when we would move the stars to pity’, however, this is just an assumption – the non-use of quotation marks means the reader can never know when a character’s thoughts have ended, and one gets the impression that the narrator imparts some of his own reflections into the character’s thoughts.

This free and indirect style not only creates a sympathy with regards to her fallaciousness, it is also creates a benignancy by virtue of the way the narration supports her own views. An example of this is when the narration wafts from ‘she wondered if by some other workings of chance it might not have been possible for her to meet another man’ to a sort of agreement from the narrator in the line ‘he might have been handsome, witty, distinguished, attractive.’ Heath describes this free and indirect style as a way in which the ‘the writer and the reader become Emma, are taken up in her reverie, her imaginings.’ The novel, therefore, often cultivates its own sympathy by virtue of its style, which causes the writer and reader to become one with the protagonist and to experience Madame Bovary’s own feelings. This can be paralleled to Henryson’s voice of sympathy The Testament of Cresseid. Henryson is so derisory of the unreasonable nature of the Gods’ ruling that he impulsively breaks into the second person when he declares: ‘Your doom is hard and too malicious,’ thus interrupting the sentencing and displaying contempt of court

Cresseid and Madame Bovary are dissimilar to Emma in so far as they experience a development as a result of their infidelity, the former explicitly and the latter implicitly. Cresseid talks about herself in the second person when she says, ‘Where is your chamber’s cushioned chair and screen / And handsome bed and hand-embroidered linen? The wine and spice, the supper that you supped on.’ The use of the second person is suggestive of self-derision rather than self-lamentation. She understands her situation and she profoundly remarks, ‘All wealth on earth is wind that flits and veers.’ She also criticised herself: ‘I myself will be my own accuser.’

This development from Cresseid makes her worthy of not so much sympathy but respect. Madame Bovary’s development happens in a moment, which makes it more like an epiphany, thus lacking the cognitively prolonged nature of Cresseid’s development. It is also a very implicit moment in which she ‘began to laugh, a ghastly, frenzied, despairing laugh’ after hearing the voice of the blind beggar. At this point, she realises the meaning of the beggar’s words – love is unseeing (thus rendering the beggar as an representation of Cupid. Whilst Cresseid and Madame Bovary cannot be justified in their actions, their realisations do rouse respect from the reader. The Emma of Betrayal experiences no such development.

An aspect of the equation still wants, namely the victims. It is certainly true that the adulterers garner a notable degree of sympathy, yet it would be very mean-spirited to identify more with them than the victims. In the Testament of Cresseid, the affected person is Troilus. Although there are only 2 paragraphs focusing on Cresseid’s betrayal of Troilus, they themselves being sped along by the use of enjambment, this is done more out a desire not to repeat a story successfully written by Chaucer, but also to alleviate the reader’s judgment of Cresseid. Later in the poem, Henryson writes of Troilus in glowing terms, describing him as having ‘beaten down, by war and jeopardy, / The Grecian knights,’ and in a moment of great largesse ‘past where Cresseid with lepers made abode’ and ‘A girdle he took out, / A purse of gold and many shining gemstones / and threw them down into Cresseid’s dress.’ Troilus certainly elicits a huge amount of sympathy from the reader, especially after he ‘for grief almost fell down’ when recalling Cresseid’s physical deformations.

In both Madame Bovary and Betrayal, the victims of adultery are children. Jerry’s lack of concern over his children is encapsulated in his gnomic description of his son Sam: ‘He’s tall. Quite tall. Does a lot of running. He’s a long distance runner. Wants to be a zoologist.’ The waiter in the restaurant scene is similarly an innocent bystander who is subjected to Robert’s frustrations: ‘where’s our lunch. This place is going to pot.’ ‘Same glass. Where’s our lunch?’ Richard Martin, in his letter to The Times Literary Supplement argued that he sees ‘not just ‘displaced emotion’ in Robert’s aggression towards the waiter but the waiter himself as a displaced version of Judith: for she is the hapless, indeed dumb, ‘waiter” (4). Judith, the children, and the waiter, are all correlated because they are all affected onlookers, but they know not what by. It is interesting to note that the children do not feature physically in the play, but in the 1983 film (by David Jones), the children feature in negative-consequences of the character’s adultery-borne vented frustrations; for example, when Jerry hollers at his son for playing music too loudly.

This is paralleled in Madame Bovary, where her daughter is a victim of her infidelity. This is evidenced in the scene where Madame Bovary says to Berthe ”Oh, for heaven’s sake, leave me alone’, shoving her away with her elbow.’ As a result, ‘Berthe fell against the foot of the chest of draws, cutting her cheek on the brass fitting.’ At the end of the novel, Berthe makes her ‘keep at a cotton mill.’ The chief victim of infidelity in the three texts is Charles Bovary. Despite being unsophisticated, dim-witted and a frighteningly bad doctor (his operation on Hippolyte’s club foot, resulting in amputation, as an example), he is still one of the novel’s most moral and sincere characters and he genuinely loved Emma whilst she was having licentious liaisons.

Emma is often very unkind to Charles, for example, when she says; ‘he carries a knife in his pocket like a peasant.’ I cannot help but parallel this to the narrator in Robert Frost’s poem ‘Mending Wall’ who describes his neighbour as ‘Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top / In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.’ It is a particularly significant line, since Rodolphe wields a knife at one point, and this fails to elicit the same response from Emma. One strikingly poignant scene is when Charles finally sees all the letters from Emma’s lovers: ‘his deep despondency caused general amazement. He no longer went out, he saw no one, he even refused to visit his patients. People began saying that he ‘shut himself off to drink.” The final description of him is as a ‘long-bearded, wild-looking man in filthy clothes who paced up and down noisily.’ For all Charles’ faults, it seems unthinkable to sympathise more with Emma than Charles. In all three cases, the victims garner more sympathy than the betrayers.

One should not nonchalantly accept the three primary adulterers’ actions as morally reprehensible; but we should acknowledge that their actions are borne out of something more complex than it would at first appear. The greatest sympathy should be given to Cresseid because her life was subject to fate; she lacked all volition owing to Henryson’s depiction of the all-encompassing control of the Gods. I say ‘Henryson’s depiction’ because Chaucer’s original has been manipulated by Henryson such that it rapidly avoids the issue of her affair whilst also removing all her volition.

Madame Bovary represents the repressed sensuality within us, and the reader can certainly feel for her more than the prudish and monotonous environment she inhabits (ironically, it was a puritanical society that condemned Flaubert’s novel for being too sympathetic to an adulteress). It is difficult to sympathise with Betrayal’s Emma. It is true that she longed for a more meaningful relationship with Jerry, but her dedication to Jerry is severely questioned given the initiation of her additional affair with Casey. One would have to question the disposition of any individual who sympathises with the adulterers more than the victims of adultery, as any reader of Madame Bovary would attest to.

1. https://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/kindrick-poems-of-robert-henryson-testament-of-cresseid-introduction

2. ‘The Perpetual Orgy’ (Vargas Llosa)

3. ‘Madame Bovary’ (Stephen Heath)

4. Letter from the Times Literary Supplement

Word count with quotes: 3720

Word Count without quotes: 2895

Read more

282

In the novel Madame Bovary the author portrays flaws that are driven

May 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

In the novel, Madame Bovary, the author portrays flaws that are driven by passion and the need to find love as it is described in the books that the character reads from a young age. Emma lacks pride and satisfaction due to a trapped marriage. Through this tragic heroines attempt to discover the best version of herself and what she believes she deserves, readers are able to leaven a more serious subject.

In the beginning of the novel Emma is an educated young girl with a newly found passion for reading due to an encounter at the convent.

This drives her idealistic thoughts and causes many problems throughout her life. As a young teenager she always pictured her life as a novel and would often daydream. Eventually, Emma goes on to marry Charles Bovary, by doing so she has faith that he will be the answer to all her problems. “ Before she had married she thought she was in love. But the happiness that should have resulted from this love had not come; she must have deceived herself, she thought”(Flaubert pdf).

Due to having an idealistic vision about romance from the novels she reads, Charles does not live up to her expectations and she becomes bored and starts to distance herself from their relationship. Due to becoming miserable and suffering from boredom with her husband she even begins to despise meals with him, and her health declines due to her depression. Charles, with good intentions in mind, only wants the best for his wife and believes moving to the town of Yonville will make her happy, and overall improve her health. Little does he know, the move begins a story of lies and deceit as Emma begins to indulge in her sexual temptations with other men. The end of part one concludes with Emma rediscovering her flower bouquet from her wedding, instead of reminiscing about happy memories she decides to burn the flowers in order to represent the unhappiness she has in her marriage. “ The little pasteboard buries burst, the wire twisted, the gold lace melted; and the shriveled paper corollas, fluttering like black butterflies at the back of the stove, at lest flew up the chimney. The burning of her flowers foreshadows the young wife’s life that will be cut short at the hands of her own self. Although Charles has great love for his wife, Emma can not confirm that she feels the same.

The main characters downfall of corruption both financially and morally begins as the newly weded couple moves to Yonville, Emma’s lack of lust and love for Charles makes it easier for her to commit the multiple acts of adultery she engages in.

Flaubert presents recurring themes throughout the novel Emma Bovary’s lust for wealth and true love caused her to become a tragic heroine stuck in a plummet of tragedy which ultimately lead her to her own demise. Flaubert creates this young girl to be a tragic heroine with pitiful traits, her recurring motives to find what she believes she truly wants not only makes her a slave for love, but also a victim.

Read more

318

The Spiritual Doldrums of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary

July 18, 2019 by Essay Writer

The Spiritual Doldrums of Flaubert’s Madame BovaryThe narrative of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary cannot be completely separated from the commentary on religion and spiritual deficiency in the novel. Segments of Flaubert’s masterpiece are clearly satirical—and if they are not bitingly so, they subtly stir up a criticism of the institution of the church. Specifically, Madame Bovary deals with the ineptitude of the church, and sometimes religion itself, to provide spiritual succor and hope in the face of fear. Emma Bovary is the embodiment of the hopeless, spiritually depraved sinner whom religion has failed to comfort—whom the church has failed to aide. The novel catalogues the journey by which she sets toward salvation and achieves only the self-induced doom of suicide.One of the earliest instances of a turn from faith occurs not with Emma but with her father, Rouault. Rouault’s memory is momentarily piqued as he recalls the small delights his now-deceased wife’s presence had once afforded him. The bittersweet is evoked as he watches the wheels of Emma’s bridal buggy cart her off into the world, just as his wife’s bridal cart had drawn her indelibly into his own world. Seeking solace, Rouault contemplates a visit to the church; yet the church, with its ghosts of bliss (marriage) and woe (death) offers no salve for his wounded sense of spirituality. Of Rouault, Flaubert intimates:“He felt dismal…and as memories and black thoughts mingled in his brain, dulled by the vapors of the past, he considered for a moment turning his steps toward the church. But he was afraid that the sight of it might make him even sadder, so he went straight home.” (Flaubert, pg. 870)In the very upbringing of the immoral, even amoral, Emma Rouault, Flaubert infuses commentary on the superficial nature of the church as a vehicle for salvation. The churchly concerns pressed upon Emma’s soul only cause her spirit to rebel:“The good nuns, who had been taking her vocation quite for granted, were greatly surprised to find that Mademoiselle Rouault was apparently slipping out of their control. And indeed they had so deluged her with prayers, retreats, novenas and sermons, preached so constantly the respect due to saints and the martyrs, and given her so much good advice about modest behavior and the saving of her soul, that she reacted like a horse too tightly reined: she balked, and the bit fell from her teeth.” (Flaubert, pg. 873)As Flaubert later describes, Emma succumbs to fleshly desires and with animal abandon engages in adulterous affairs. Her extramarital escapades and her eventual suicide make a mockery of an institution so bent on spiritual salvation and so confident in its moral enforcement. Afflicted with boredom, Emma flouts her religious rearing and blames God for her sober, stagnant position in life: “It was God’s will. The future was a pitch-black tunnel ending in a locked door.”(Flaubert, pg. 887) Emma’s listlessness causes her to shed any feigned exterior interest in those hobbies in which she once appeared to delight. With hopeless rhetoric she questions, “Who was there to listen…What was the use of anything?” (Flaubert, pg. 887) Emma has nowhere to turn but inward—gnawing deeper into her own despair. Religion offers her no comfort, only greater gloom: “How depressed she was on Sundays, when the churchbell tolled for vespers! With a dull awareness she listened to the cracked sound as it rang out again and again…the bell would keep on giving its regular, monotonous peals.” There is nothing spiritually transforming—nothing spiritually uplifting—about the church in Emma’s dull world. The sound of the bells tolling excites nothing romantic within her, but instead serves as a metaphor for her own life, which drones on tediously.“Part Deux” of Madame Bovary opens with the seemingly arbitrary notation on the Yonville-l’Abbaye—the town to which Charles Bovary and his restless wife Emma move. Is it random that Flaubert—slave to meticulous detail—would include a mention that “even the ruins of the ancient Capuchin friary from which it derives its name are no longer there”? Viewed in the light of Flaubert’s notions of an inexorable fate, this scene of a church-less church town elucidates the grim progression of time—not even this friary could escape decay and ultimate disintegration. A small, remodeled church does stand in the town—but is located across the street from the finest house in Yonville-l’Abbaye. The church’s rotting wooden vaulting and black cavities present a stark contrast to the luxurious and flourishing home across the way. The church and its shambles are left to ruin; the wealthy lack the gratitude to repair it, and the poor lack the means. Small wonder then that it is here in this decrepit town that Emma’s own character will moulder and putrefy into nothingness.Emma undergoes a sort of spiritual resurrection, but quickly her insincere contrition dissipates with the prospect of a new lover. Just as her moral character has departed from the church, so too does Emma depart from the cathedral in the scene of her fever-pitch affair with her second lover, Leon. With little hesitation, the demoralized Emma accepts the pleas of the eager Leon and climbs into the Parisian cab that will host the first of their sexual episodes. Her flight from the Church is so clearly a flight from her already debased moral standing that one can read a hint of foreshadowed doom when the verger cries to Emma and Leon: “Drive past the north door, at least!…Take a look at the Resurrection, the Last Judgment, Paradise, King David, and the souls of the damned in the flames of hell!” (Flaubert, pg. 997) It is as though Flaubert were painting Emma into the history of salvation: hers will be among the souls of the damned in the flames of hell.Having gone to Monsieur Bournisien, the parish priest, in search of spiritual guidance, Emma Bovary encounters only greater despair. With an air of indifference the priest brushes aside her very real, very severe spiritual malaise. When Emma responds to his question—“How are you?”—with a plea—“Poorly”—the uncomprehending Bournisien asks why her husband has yet to prescribe a treatment. “Ah!” Emma replies. “It isn’t earthly remedies that I need” The apathetic priest simply keeps “looking away, into the church, where the boys were kneeling side by side.” (Flaubert, pg. 917) Emma reveals a need for salvation, for a source of happiness in her turbulent woe, and Bournisien offers a paltry, “But what can we do? We’re born to suffer.” (Flaubert, pg. 917)As she lies in bed—a wretch of arsenic and misery—Emma is almost brought to comfort by religion. Upon recognizing the purple stole of the priest who has come to administer her final rites, her mind attaches itself to the “lost ecstasy of her first mystical flights and the first visions of eternal bliss.” (Flaubert, pg. 1047) All is a show, however, and even as she pants closer and closer toward death, Emma kisses the crucifix with overly ecstatic manner—still trying to seize the passion and romantic melancholy that she was so sure life contained. Consider in particular the manner in which Monsieur Bournisien anoints the dying Emma. To exorcise the vice from her corrupted soul, the priest performs chrisms: “He anointed her eyes, once so covetous of all earthly luxuries; then her nostrils, so gluttonous of caressing breezes and amorous scents; then her mouth, so prompt to lie, so defiant in pride, so loud in lust; then her hands, that had thrilled to voluptuous contacts; and finally the soles of her feet, once so swift when she had hastened to slake her desires.” (Flaubert, pg. 1047)To the expiring Emma, the priest is cool and uncomforting—religion offers scarcely any cushion to death’s approach—and the priest’s routine style reflects little personal care for the plight of the self-damning woman. Having performed the rituals, Monsieur Bournisien stoically “wiped his fingers, threw the oil-soaked bits of cotton into the fire, and returned to the dying woman, sitting beside her and telling her that now she must unite her sufferings with Christ’s and throw herself on the divine mercy.” (Flaubert, pg. 1047) In a profound display of symbolic mastery, Flaubert describes the priest’s attempt to have the failing Emma grasp a candle—the symbol of the “celestial glories” which characterize heaven. At the point of death, Emma is too weak to grasp the candle and its religious implications, just as her moral character had been too weak to grasp virtue and battle worldly temptation. As Emma’s convulsions come to a climax, and death finally besets her, the lackluster image of the tolling bells winds its way back into her tale: “everything seemed drowned by the monotonous flow of Latin syllables that sounded like the tolling of a bell.” (Flaubert, pg. 1048)Madame Bovary’s banal existence has fallen far short of her romantic ideals, and the Catholic mysticism with which she had once been enamored proves to be a charade. Her shallow devotion to religion cannot endure the depths of her dejection—and it is without real peace of mind that Emma passes from this anguished life into the next. The novel lilts to a finale of despair, and closes like Emma’s life, with the melancholy song of the blind beggar who captures in his notes of woe the hapless misery of the human condition.

Read more