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Plot Summary and Review of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

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In this novel, we learn a lot about Emma on how she really feels and what she really wants. From what I have read, I personally think she is extremely selfish, inconsiderate and definitely crazy. Emma’s need for stimulation which may include sex or maybe just attention is a must. She is stuck in her head and she gets what she wants with the men she begins to fool around with even if she is married. In Les Bertaux, Emma is attempting to help her father with his broken leg. While trying to help him, she meets a man by the name of Charles. Now, Charles has stopped by multiple times to make us think that he is going to check on Monsieur Rouault but in reality he is actually going to see if he could get with Emma. He finally decides to introduce himself as she talks his head off and he listens patiently. After getting to know each other, they both then get engaged. Around this stage Emma is certainly being a good housewife. She starts to impress Charles by redecorating the house with her little touches here and there.

However, Emma begins to get more irritated with her husband and just miserable with life itself. Depression is amongst her and she starts suffering from a whole lot of uncontrollable mood swings. In Charles eyes Emma can do no wrong to him. Despite all the love he has for her, her looks may be enough to stick around but her personality remains confusing and oblivious. He adores her so much that he is blinded by most of the dirt she does to him. In order to make sure Emma recovers, they both decided to move to a small town called Yonville-l’Abbaye; sadly, things did not get any better. She loses her dog, Djali. Upon arrival she meets a young man by the name of Leon Dupuis, a clerk. They both became friends quite quickly and had shared many interests whether it was music, books, etc. After getting so close and getting to know each other more, she then starts to realize that Leon is in love with her and vice versa. Things aren’t looking too great for Emma and Charles at home. Her unhappiness turns into rage. In order for her to not feel rageful, Emma builds up a new fantasy with Leon. She tries to resolve her situation by playing good wife role. Father Bournisien and her even had a discussion on her spiritual angst and it did not work one bit. Leon eventually ends up moving away to Paris to study law, partly because he thinks their love is impossible as she is married. Emma says to Leon, “If you leave me, I think I just may die. ” Once again her emotions start to get out of hand. Charles is at a desperate state, so he asks his mother for advice.

The mother comes for a visit to see what is going on and begins to antagonize Emma rather than helping her out. She claims that she reads way too many novels and that is why she is corrupted. When things finally begin to cool off, a new man by the name of Rodolphe Boulanger enters her life. He was certainly impressed by her utility and beauty. Later on in the book, Rodolphe escorts Emma to the agricultural fair in Yonville. His rich man flirtatious act works and Emma falls for it. When the fair is finally done, Rodolphe talks to Charles about wanting to go horseback riding with Emma. Of course Emma’s first instinct is to resist because she is convinced that Charles may know about them. Emma gives in and says yes in the end when she finds out that she will be receiving a new riding outfit.

While they are riding the horse, they set out in the woods of Yonville and observe from a distance with absolute disgust. Not only did they realize their mutual disgust for the town but they also came to realization about their feelings for each other. They both walked to this secluded and secretive glade. Rodolphe declares his love for her as she resisted at first, then she quickly gives her mind, body, and soul to him. According to Emma, she feels like a different woman. She’s been slutting around and she is not ashamed of her activeness. She almost feels like she has reached a higher state, kind of being in a mythical state almost. All of this attention has made her feel like she could do anything. Emma starts to overly spend money on nonsense and just purchasing expensive gifts for Rodolphe. She is easily influenced on buying and borrowing money on all the things she wants by Monsieur Lheureux. At this point there is not absolutely care in the world for Emma if anyone finds out that she is talking to Rodolphe. She gives all her love and passion to him while she decides to take reckless trips to Chateau and sees him in the early morning. In one scene Emma would check to see if Charles was asleep by talking to him just so she could disappear in secret. Finally, Rodolphe sets it straight to her that she is beginning to get to comfortable and careless. Surprisingly, she’s scared that she may get discovered for all her wrong doings.

Although Emma has been cheating, Rodolphe is manipulative, selfish and no better than her. He has also had many other lovers. Their affair begins to slow down. Guilt finally caught up to her and she wonders why she just can’t show love to Charles but she could give it to Berthe, her daughter and everyone else. One of the sad reasons why she just can’t show him love is because of the operation he had gave to Hippolyte. Emma gets excited about the procedure that Charles is supposed to undergo, which could potentially bring him back to Emma. All of sudden she starts to slowly warm up to him. Sadly, the operation did not go as planned and Hippolyte gets his leg amputated than opposed to getting cured and of course she is turned off by the fact that he cannot help Hippolyte. Suddenly her tainted love has returned for Rodolphe and they start up their affair once again. Things seem to intensify between the two and Emma feels the need to convince Rodolphe on running away with her so that they could be together but Rodolphe has other plans and running away with her is not one of them.

Rodolphe writes Emma a letter breaking it off between the two. It was clear as day that things were not going to work between the two to be very honest. They both had their selfish needs. Mrs. Bovary’s depression starts up once again and it is the worst one yet. This one hit her so hard that it destroyed her mentally, physically, and emotionally. Charles notices that she is in this state and wants to save the day. He does anything in his power to try and make Emma happy. Homais suggests that Charles should take her to an opera show called Lucia di Lammermoor, which was about a diversion that goes crazy when he/she is forced to marry someone that they don’t even love. This opera hits home for her. Although this outing was terrible for Emma, some good does come from it. Charles and her randomly run into Leon and he is finally done with law school. They all left the theatre early to talk. Of course Leon tried to persuade Charles into staying an extra day so that they can ‘see the end of the opera,’ when we know that it is just an excuse to hang out with Emma.

The following day Leon shows up at her hotel to surprise her. Even though they both admit their love for one another, Emma is staying clear from him this time. That same night she decides to end things with him before they even get started up and then writes him a long heartfelt letter. While on her way to deliver the letter she runs into Leon again. They met in the cathedral at Rouen. As they get into the horse cab one thing leads to another and they are now involved with each other again. As time goes on, Emma finds out that her father-in-law is dead from Monsieur Homais. She returns home to her husband and starts being impatient with him instead of being sympathetic with him. She wanted her alone time so she could daydream about her new lover. As she was doing that Monsieur Lheureux shows up to her house trying to sell her more items and talk about all of her loans that she has taken out. Problem after problem starts to pile up on her plate. Emma starts asking many other people for financial help even Rodolphe, she was rejected by all. Not only did she get rejected financially but her and Leon slowly stop talking after he did not come visit her one thursday night in the hotel. Life is hitting her all at once and Emma is in panic mode. On her way back home she makes a stop at a pharmacy. She is determined to die so she forces a man named Justin to open the closet with all the poisons for her.

As time goes on, it finally kicks in. Vomiting occurs and she is in a tremendous amount of pain. Charles is frightened and does not know what he should do. Her condition starts to worsen and it is clear that there is nothing else the doctors could do for her. Before she passes away, Emma realizes that out of all the love she was looking for, she had it right in front of her. Charles was absolutely in love with her. Emma’s choices was certainly a product of her own mental and emotional instability. She definitely got what she wanted but karma got her in the end. She was clearly dealing with too much and was uncertain on how to deal with her love life, borrowing and spending money. I definitely do not feel sorry for this her at all. It is okay to be selfish with yourself but don’t be selfish to the point where you are hurting others who truly care about you. Death was amongst her anyways.

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Plot Summary and Review of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. (2020, April 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/plot-summary-and-review-of-madame-bovary-by-gustave-flaubert/
“Plot Summary and Review of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.” GradesFixer, 30 Apr. 2020, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/plot-summary-and-review-of-madame-bovary-by-gustave-flaubert/
Plot Summary and Review of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/plot-summary-and-review-of-madame-bovary-by-gustave-flaubert/> [Accessed 9 Dec. 2022].
Plot Summary and Review of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Apr 30 [cited 2022 Dec 9]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/plot-summary-and-review-of-madame-bovary-by-gustave-flaubert/
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