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Madame Bovary1

When Gustave Flaubert wrote Madame Bovary, the Romantic Movement was in full swing. This enabled writers to be more concerned with feelings and emotions rather than form and artistic qualities. Flaubert considered some of the novels written to be good, but others (e.g., romance novels) he viewed to be poor. Flaubert’s satirical view towards romantic novels is shown throughout this work of fiction. The title character cannot distinguish reality from fantasy. The relationships that Emma partakes in are doomed because of her desire to live in a fantasy world. The reader sees her inability to behave in a decent manner between her relationships with Charles, Leon, Rodolphe, and even her daughter, Berthe.When Emma plans her wedding to Charles, the readers learn: “Emma would have preferred to be married at midnight by torchlight” (p. 22). Instead, she settles for a traditional wedding. Charles adores Emma: “He was happy, without a care in the world…” (p. 28). Charles realized that he “possessed, for life, this pretty wife whom he adored” (p. 29). Emma, on the other hand, feels differently. Through the narrator, the readers learn her inner thoughts: Before her marriage she had believed herself to be in love; but since the happiness which should have resulted from this love had not come to her, she felt that she must have been mistaken. And she tried to find out exactly what was meant in life by the words ‘bliss’, ‘passion,’ and ‘rapture,’ which had seemed so beautiful to her in books (pp. 29, 30). Charles will never be able to live up to Emma’s high expectations or the dashing, charming, intellectual characteristics the men possesses in her novels.Emma’s relationship with Leon has two stages. During the first stage, there is no adulterous affair. This is due to her misguided feelings of love: “Love, she felt ought to come all...

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