Thursday, 24 January 2013

A Reflection: Madame Bovary

At first, when faced with reading this novel, I was excited-- I mean, a novel written in 1856 about an adulterous woman is very scandalous and I was sure that it would be fun and entertaining. I had high expectations for the main character, Emma.  I figured Emma was to be this strong, take-charge woman who had men falling at her feet, and used this as power. I should have known better. Let's face it, no novel in 1850 is going to allow adultery to be thought of as a powerful thing. (Not that I think women should commit adultery to be powerful... I just mean that it would be exciting to read about a liberated woman who takes charge of her own boring life).


I was right about the beginning, we are introduced to Charles, Emma's soon-to-be husband who happens to be fairly dull and who the readers are naturally not very fond of (due to Flaubert’s I suspect ;)) However, other than the fact that Charles had to take his medical exams twice, he is not unlikable-- just simply uninspiring and lacks passion. Emma is your typical small town woman who dreams of passions that are beyond what her life holds. Before I complain about what I did not like in this novel I have to recognize the fact that this was written in a different era for different reasons. Nonetheless, I found Emma irritating. Her adulterous nature leads her to be heart-struck, ill, near death, whiny, and lacking strength. She never finds fulfillment in her own choices which leads to her **SPOILER ALERT** downward spiral of impeding dept, and of course tragic suicide (which was not very tragic). Yes, it teaches us women a lesson-- cheating is wrong and will lead you to great unhappiness....tragedy and death. (You will also become an increasingly irritating character who the readers (perhaps just me?) care little about!). I am being brief and there are wonderful things about the writing of this novel so...  Read it yourself...although it is rather long and sometimes tedious-- maybe you will not find Emma so irritating...

Up Next: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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