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Madame Bovary
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Preliminary Reading > Madame Bovary - Week Two - 10/8-14 - Part II, Ch. 1-8

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message 1: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim This discussion covers Part II, Ch. 1-8, p. 61-135


message 2: by Joshua (new) - added it

Joshua Mostafa (joshuamostafa) Who's still here for Part II?

Can I get an amen?


Pierre Corbeau | 3 comments Amen - to be honest I have never enjoyed the first section of MB so refrained from commentating before now but love the rest and enjoying the Davis so will hopefully say something at some point


Ginny | 8 comments I'm in. I finished up part I on Friday and over this weekend started into part II.


message 5: by Joshua (new) - added it

Joshua Mostafa (joshuamostafa) Running a bit behind on this as I've been in bed for the past three days with fever - too delirious to read, or think in a non-circular direction.

Back on my feet today & I'm going to catch up!


Ginny | 8 comments I'm still reading. I'm a little behind and not sure how much sense my posts are going to make;climbing down from a tower in a lighthouse, I fell and broke my sternum and am on vicodin right now. Yay me. I really don't like Emma so far and I just finished the part where this man who has a mistress is thinking about making a move on Emma because "Virginie" is gaining weight! My real name is Virginia, but too close to my name and now I don't like that guy either for that reason as well as his just being despicable! Joshua get better!


Marieke | 181 comments oh ginny...that is awful, i am so sorry. i have an inflammation problem with my sternum from time to time and thankfully it hasn't acted up this fall yet (except for popping several times a day). it is so painful when it flares up that i have trouble breathing and walking...i can't imagine actually breaking it. :(

i'm still here, but also a little behind. i am in part 2 but haven't finished the section yet.

joshua i hope you are feeling better now...


message 8: by Kris, Obsessive Comproustive (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris (krisrabberman) | 136 comments Mod
I'm here -- I just finished Part II. I was able to keep up with the schedule, but not to participate in discussion. I should be able to participare now, once everyone is well. (Sending get well wishes, Joshua and Ginny.)


Ginny | 8 comments thanks. I'm not going to work tmw (more time to read, I guess) because of the pain meds and also that I'm a sign language interpreter- a lot of arm,hand, chest movement! Looking forward to that!


message 10: by Joshua (new) - added it

Joshua Mostafa (joshuamostafa) I don't dislike Emma

Are you perhaps biased in favour of your namesake? :)

climbing down from a tower in a lighthouse

Ginny: that sounds awful, but also pretty spectacular! If it's going to hurt like at hell at least it should have some bragging rights, I reckon. Wishing you a speedy recovery.


message 11: by Jim (last edited Nov 25, 2012 10:13AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim I just finished Part II, chap 8, about the ag-fair in Yonville. I live in a rural agricultural area of the Perigord Noir, due south of Rouen and due east of Bordeaux. Although it's some 150+ years after this novel, I still feel an understanding of Flaubert's France. The country women, the livestock, the officials and their patriotic speeches - it's alive and well, but with Renaults instead of horse and wagons.

The sentiments about farmers and their importance to the Republic is still strong through most of the country. The marché on Wednesday and Saturday is still the most important part of the family shopping, even though supermarché chain stores crowd the peripheries of the larger towns.

Each Sunday after dinner with the in-laws, my beau-père René and I enjoy a glass of eau de vie, which is homemade by a farmer nearby. But I digress...

I like how Flaubert has Rodolphe circling like a hawk, ready to take his little chickadee at the first opportunity. Nicely written....


message 12: by Joshua (new) - added it

Joshua Mostafa (joshuamostafa) If that's digression, please digress, Jim! I love the local insights :)

Yes - Rodolphe is a curious character, horribly fascinating. I also like how the influence of Rodolphe continues after he's gone; we keep hearing about him after he's exited the story, or Emma imagines he might show up (if he does come back, don't tell me, I haven't quite finished the book yet!). Likewise the viscount - wonderful motif for Emma's restlessness and fantasies.


message 13: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim Joshua wrote: " I also like how the influence of Rodolphe continues after he's gone; we keep hearing about him after he's exited the story, or Emma imagines he might show up (if he does come back, don't tell me, I haven't quite finished the book yet!). Likewise the viscount - wonderful motif for Emma's restlessness and fantasies..."

Yes! These men become part of a gauzy tapestry of Emma's sexual desire, romantic longing, desire for wealth and position, and her fuzzy, but powerful goal of falling in love in a way that is not occurring with her husband Charles. The long paragraph on p. 128 captures this very well. Begins:

He sat with his arms crossed over his knees....


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Ginny - I hope you are positively on the mend!

Jim - I like you can relate this story so directly to your own life. These same sentiments of farming also resonate in the US. There is becoming, if it wasn't there already, a sort of patriotism attached to it almost as near as soldiers. I have full respect for anyone who makes their life in agriculture, but I also get a funny feeling in my gut when a country singer makes as if they are sacrificing their entire life for the common good.

I have also seen some of these phrases such as the threads stretching across her chest in the case of the inn keeper and the material streching across their crotch in the case of the gentlemen. Is it too easy to assume that this is Flaubert's thinly veiled metaphors to set the scene?

The not so mind blowing thought that keeps coming back to me is that very little of this book has to do with anything other than the romantic desires of the characters. First Charles, then Emma, then Leon and Emma and now Rodolphe and Emma. That Emma and Charles have a daughter which only appears briefly here and there and only as an impediment to the adults is something I can't decipher. Is this to say that Emma was so caught up in herself that she couldn't care for her daughter? The only scenes in which they have interacted was to set the stage for Emma to get close to Leon and when Emma pushed her down. For me the jury is still out on this subject.


Marieke | 181 comments i finally finished the book and am catching up on the threads. Jim--i thoroughly enjoyed your post #12 so i second Joshua's sentiment. :)

Jeremy--i think, but i'm not 100% sure because i'm not a social historian, but i'm pretty sure that children were often not reared by their actual parents in the upper classes...so maybe this was Flaubert's way of highlighting Emma's pretension here? The wet nurse, the maid, the nanny, etc., keeping the child out of the family picture for the most part.


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