Summary – We continue learning about the relationship between Emma and Leon. As we know, he’s infatuated with her, but he couldn’t wait any longer for her. Eventually, he leaves Emma to live his dreams in Paris. Emma soon becomes depressed and sick because of Leon’s absences and dwells on the thought of preventing him from leaving. Charles writes to his mother to for advice to help Emma get better and stop her illness. When things seem to calm down, we meet Rodolphe. Rodolphe already has ideas of trying to seduce Emma because he is tired of his mistress (she’s getting to ‘worn’ out for him). He tries to admit his “love” to her at the agriculture show but, is constantly interrupted by their ongoing reality. Through the next couple of chapters, we continue to learn about the twist and turns of Emma’s and Rodolphe’s relationship (she eventually sleeps with him). Emma wastes a lot of money to keep up her appearance for Rodolphe however, she ends up owing a lot of money and leads her to steal from Charles. If that wasn’t bad enough, Rodolphe changes his mind about running away with Emma and leaves town on his own. He leaves a letter explaining his departure and once again Emma becomes ill and depressed.
Quote 1: “a little old woman with timid bearing, who seemed to shrink within her poor clothes. On her feet she wore heavy wooden clogs, and from her hips hung a large blue apron. Her pale face framed in a borderless cap was more wrinkled than a withered russet apple. And from the sleeves of her red jacket looked out two large hands with knotty joints, the dust of barns, the potash of washing the grease of wools had so encrusted, roughened, hardened these that they seemed dirty, although they had been rinsed in clear water; and by dint of long service they remained half open, as if to bear humble witness for themselves of so much suffering endured. Something of monastic rigidity dignified her face. Nothing of sadness or of emotion weakened that pale look. In her constant living with animals she had caught their dumbness and their calm. It was the first time that she found herself in the midst of so large a company, and inwardly scared by the flags, the drums, the gentlemen in frock-coats, and the order of the councillor, she stood motionless, not knowing whether to advance or run away, nor why the crowd was pushing her and the jury were smiling at her” (Flaubert, Chapter 8).
“He was dreaming of what she had said, of the line of her lips; her face, as in a magic mirror, shone on the plates of the shakos, the folds of her gown fell along the walls, and days of love unrolled to all infinity before him in the vistas of the future” (Flaubert, Chapter 8).
Question: Realism literary counterpart, naturalism (influenced by Darwin’s theories) illustrates categorization through social types; that certain men and women (usually middle class) do not question their social status or material wealth. During the agriculture show, how is realism’s counterpart to naturalism demonstrated in Catherine’s presentation and representation in comparison to Emma?
Quote 2: “How long since she had been with him, sitting on the footstool in the chimney-corner, where she used to burn the end of a bit of wood in the great flame of the sea-sedges! She remembered the summer evenings all full of sunshine. The colts neighed when anyone passed by, and galloped, galloped. Under her window there was a beehive, and sometimes the bees wheeling round in the light struck against her window like rebounding balls of gold. What happiness there had been at that time, what freedom, what hope! What an abundance of illusions! Nothing was left of them now. She had got rid of them all in her soul’s life, in all her successive conditions of life, maidenhood, her marriage, and her love—thus constantly losing them all her life through, like a traveller who leaves something of his wealth at every inn along his road” ( Flaubert, chapter 10).
“But what then, made her so unhappy? What was the extraordinary catastrophe that had transformed her? And she raised her head, looking round as if to seek the cause of that which made her suffer” (Flaubert, chapter 10)
Question: Emma is constantly reminiscing about her youth; however, she doesn’t come to terms with her reality. Do you believe she’s being selfish for wanting a romantic lifestyle or do you think she has a right to dream of what she’s always desired?
Quote 3: “They had often walked there to the murmur of the waves over the moss-covered pebbles. How bright the sun had been! What happy afternoons they had seen alone in the shade at the end of the garden! He read aloud, bareheaded, sitting on a footstool of dry sticks; the fresh wind of the meadow set trembling the leaves of the book and the nasturtiums of the arbour. Ah! he was gone, the only charm of her life, the only possible hope of joy. Why had she not seized this happiness when it came to her? Why not have kept hold of it with both hands, with both knees, when it was about to flee from her? And she cursed herself for not having loved Leon. She thirsted for his lips. The wish took possession of her to run after and rejoin him, throw herself into his arms and say to him, “It is I; I am yours.” But Emma recoiled beforehand at the difficulties of the enterprise, and her desires, increased by regret, became only the more acute.”
Question: What differences and similarities can we see between the Romantics and the Realists visions of love? What does this say about Emma ? How does this quote foreshadow the rest of the novel ?
Quote 4: “He again saw Emma in her room, dressed as he had seen her, and he undressed her. “Oh, I will have her,” he cried, striking a blow with his stick at a clod in front of him. And he at once began to consider the political part of the enterprise. He asked himself— “Where shall we meet? By what means? We shall always be having the brat on our hands, and the servant, the neighbours, and husband, all sorts of worries. Pshaw! one would lose too much time over it.” Then he resumed, “She really has eyes that pierce one’s heart like a gimlet. And that pale complexion! I adore pale women!”
Question: What does this say about Rodolphe’s vision of Emma? In a more larger scale, what does this say about women’s condition in Madame Bovary ?
Quote 5: “At first she felt stunned; she saw the trees, the paths, the ditches, Rodolphe, and she again felt the pressure of his arm, while the leaves rustled and the reeds whistled. But when she saw herself in the glass she wondered at her face. Never had her eyes been so large, so black, of so profound a depth. Something subtle about her being transfigured her. She repeated, “I have a lover! a lover!” delighting at the idea as if a second puberty had come to her. So at last she was to know those joys of love, that fever of happiness of which she had despaired! She was entering upon marvels where all would be passion, ecstasy, delirium. An azure infinity encompassed her, the heights of sentiment sparkled under her thought, and ordinary existence appeared only afar off, down below in the shade, through the interspaces of these heights.”
Question: What do you think of that scene ? What does this say about marriage, love, or the vision of sex in this novel?
Argument 1 – Realism demonstrates how a persons’ lifestyle should be done by things that are necessary rather then being ruled by emotions. However, Emma’s emotions take over her decisions that lead to this insanity that is very dangerous and dark. Rodolphe takes advantage of Emma’s insanity and uses it to make her fall in love with him and eventually sleep with him. Emma can’t understand his betrayal because she can’t perceive the truth of the reality. She becomes ill again and cannot even process her own train of thought because she is reminded of his decision to leave without her. In comparison to the romantic novels we have read, Werther and Victor both faced situations that led to the extreme of murders and death while, Emma is only dealing with the absence of Rodolphe in her life. I believe that realism not only illustrates the reality but at the same time, highlights one’s insanity. Eventually one’s insanity leads to the failure of trying to understand the actuality of what is and what was.
Argument 2 – In Madame Bovary, there is an underlining importance of women’s condition, along with the theme of love, marriage and sex. Flaubert seems to be depicting women as passionate, reckless and adulterers. The character of Emma is easily manipulated by Rodolphe who only seems to be interested inn her body, and she is ruining her life to pursue passion. Sex seems more important than love, love is thus dissociated from sex as she has sex with Charles only through marital duty, and marriage and love is dissociated since marriage seems to only be a social covenant. Women are objectified, sexualized, this is seen especially though the character of Emma, and the passion she shares for 3 different men.