4 min read ⌚
A story for all times. A story that does not get worn out. A story that, even when time passes, keeps its significance and appeal.
A good story.
No, wait, scratch that.
A GREAT story.
That is what “Madame Bovary” is.
Who Should Read “Madame Bovary”? And Why?
There is a reason I started this summary the way I did.
“Madame Bovary” is indeed a great story, no doubt in that.
Many classics are significant for different reasons, but not all of them have an appealing story that can captivate modern-day readers with their short attention spans.
However, this one is different.
This one is one of the exceptions that hook you from the very beginning and take you on a painful but pleasant voyage in the deep waters of Emma Bovary’s world, filled with lust, broken dreams and wrong choices.
I recommend it to all lovers of classics and psychologically colored stories.
Gustave Flaubert Biography
Gustave Flaubert was a French novelist living and working at the beginning of the 19th century.
Emma Bovary is a woman romantic nature, who ever since she was young, she believed that love and marriage would be the climax of her life.
However, when marriage becomes her reality, she finds it very different from what she imagined it to be.
She gets married to Charles Bovary, a doctor, who is mediocre and far from exiting. He meets Emma while he is treating his father, and manages to woo her enough to marry her.
But her excitement soon wears off.
The Bovarys live in the village where Charles Bovary has his practice, and Emma finds the village life dull and unsatisfactory.
She always dreams of something much bigger, something much better. A more sophisticated reality.
This difference between her pleasant dreams and everyday reality eventually make her ill.
When she gets pregnant, Charles decides they move to another town, hoping that her mood would get better, and so would her health.
But even though they move, Emma is disappointed by motherhood. Yet again, she expected something else.
She wanted a son – but instead, she gets a daughter.
It seems that she is too focused on her imaginations of the reality, and cannot fully enjoy what there really is. This makes her look for excitement in her life, for something more.
Then, she meets Leon. She feels a strong connection growing between them, and when he decides to verbalize his romantic feelings for her, she steps back, afraid.
It is the first moment when something that she imagined could come true. So, she feels guilty and decides to erase that feeling by becoming a dutiful wife and mother.
Leon, noticing her behavior, believes that he could never have her, and hence he decides to go to Paris to study law.
Emma is destroyed by his departure.
However, soon she meets another man, named Rodolphe.
Emma is a beautiful woman, and he is captivated by her appearance.
This time, Emma does not hold back and has a passionate affair with him. More times than not, she is indiscreet and becomes the talk of the town, the subject of many gossips.
However, her husband is blindfolded by his love, and not even for a moment suspects his wife.
As you see Charles’s naivety, you will both hate how someone can be that stupid and feel bad for him at the same time.
Emma does not feel attracted by this blind love, and during an incident in which her husband’s professional reputation suffers a blow, she feels disgusted by his incompetence as a man and throws herself entirely into her affair.
However, her affection soon becomes too strong, and it starts suffocating her lover. She continually borrows money and showers him with gifts, and she begins to romanticize the idea of running off together.
But, he is not sharing her enthusiasm about their future and leaves her.
She becomes so desperate and falls ill because of her emotional health.
In the meantime, her husband is struggling to pay off her debts and plans to take her to an opera in a nearby town, hoping to cheer her up.
There, she meets Leon again, and their romantic feelings return.
But this time, Emma has no boundaries, and nothing stops her anymore to embark on a love affair with him.
This makes her go back to her own habits, and she gets deeper in depth. She also grows careless, and in a few instances, she is almost discovered by her acquaintances.
As time passes, Emma stops finding her love affair with Leon amusing. However, she does not know how to leave him, so she becomes more demanding.
While she is obsessing over her feelings, her debts increase, and her property is in danger of being seized.
She gets even more desperate and tries to get money to different men around time, even trying to prostitute herself.
However, she does not succeed, and not knowing what to do anymore, she commits suicide poisoning herself.
Madame Bovary Epilogue
After the death of his wife, Charles Bovary cannot accept the truth that everybody else knows.
He even idealizes her memory, but after some time he is forced to face the truth, as he finds the letters she got from Leon and Rodolphe.
He passes away alone in his garden, and his daughter leaves to work in a cotton mill.
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“Madame Bovary PDF Quotes”Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars. Click To Tweet At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Click To Tweet She wanted to die, but she also wanted to live in Paris. Click To Tweet Never touch your idols: the gilding will stick to your fingers. Click To Tweet An infinity of passion can be contained in one minute, like a crowd in a small space. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
“Madame Bovary” is a classic for a reason. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book – twice!
It took me on an emotional rollercoaster on which I felt hate and sadness for the main character at the same time.
Aren’t those the best stories out there?
Those that make you hate yourself for loving such a bet character and rooting for them?
This book is a must-read. Once you finish reading our summary, I suggest you add it to your reading list immediately.