Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
“The eponymous Emma is a victim of the smug, self-deluding French bourgeoisie that Flaubert despised. Trapped in a marriage to a second-rate provincial doctor, she escapes the suffocating confines of her existence by immersing herself in sentimental novels.”
Well, yes, maybe… But! Was that marriage that bad, really, or the husband so second-rated. I mean, yes, he was no genius but how many are there on Earth anyway. I think Emma’s major problem was that she was spoiled by her father, who probably saw a much brighter future for her that could have been given in reality. (Aren’t we all doing the same for our children?) She wasn’t bad at all, but the books she chose to learn from weren’t the ‘right kind’, they idealized the world around Emma and she was literally expecting a prince on the white stallion.
I mean Charles was very simple, and of course he had a bad experience with his first marriage, so he could definitely appreciate Emma for what she was, but he was no prince, not even close. He never was raised with the romance in mind, so how would he know how to spice up the marriage?
And here is Emma, bored to death with doing nothing around the house, all the time reading more and more of those ‘nasty’ romances… Well, that’ll definitely lead to disaster. Of course there was not enough social life, and not enough little pretty things to help her cope, but what do you expect marrying the poor doctor who’s away on errands most of the time. Of course he’s sick and tired by the end of the day and all he wants is to eat, slip, and… well… you know what the adults do when the lights are out… He doesn’t have time for any sentimental things that are so dear to a woman’s heart. And Emma cannot leave without it.
I have to agree that everything described is very much realistic and I believe it happening, but I almost wish to smack Emma a couple of times. She absolutely adores her dog and gets very upset when it’s lost, but she hardly pays any attention to her daughter. It just drives me crazy!
And of course there are men, and she as a true woman—a fluttering butterfly drawn to the fire of romantic words and behaviors… How stupid can we be sometimes when we think that the best thing is somewhere far away, something we can’t have, something unachievable…
I know others might disagree with me, but I see Emma as a spoiled child who didn’t like the toys she was given and always was looking in somebody else’s yard for better, brighter, nicer ones.