Madame Bovary Madame Bovary discussion


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What do you think of Madame Bovary the character?

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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Feb 07, 2014 04:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah At first I couldn't stand this character. Every thought of hers annoyed me. How could somebody be so selfish? Then towards the end I realized I could relate to her. We all have these dreams, or these expectations. Emma reminded me of a little girl in some ways.

What are your thoughts?


Nathalia If she lived today, she would probably be many times divorced and still searching for that perfect man. I actually thought she might be a reader of Harlequin Novels, preferably the "Sheik and his Mistress" kind.
I did not like her, but I also did not find her selfish. Foolish, lazy and blind to reality maybe. In a sense she looked for happiness instead of contentment, which so many people still do.


Brad Lyerla Immature.


Maya She got under my skin. It was one of those books that I felt compelled to read but was tortured all the way through. She could be interpreted as a victim of a period when women could only be fulfilled by marriage and when that did not work then there was nothing else to live for. But , as empathetic as I like to think of myself, I despised her- she was a train wreck from the onset. Still, as much as I suffered reading this book, I feel enriched by it.


Elena Maya wrote: "She got under my skin. It was one of those books that I felt compelled to read but was tortured all the way through. She could be interpreted as a victim of a period when women could only be fulfil..."

I feel the same way. It was a hard read and I think in some ways still very relevant to modern relationships. It's not just a dreams and reality thing it's living with this overly grand expectation of the way life and love should be. I think most of us are guilty of that in one way or another but at the same time I found her exasperating. She's a bit of a drama queen but at the same time you can't blame her for getting bored and wishing for more.


message 6: by Sarah (last edited Feb 16, 2014 09:35PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sarah Elena wrote: "It's not just a dreams and reality thing it's living with this overly grand expectation of the way life and love should be."

Totally agree with that. That's the thought that kept going through my head while I was reading it.


Rick Patterson Maya wrote: "She got under my skin. It was one of those books that I felt compelled to read but was tortured all the way through. She could be interpreted as a victim of a period when women could only be fulfil..."
That's a very perceptive comment. Of course, Flaubert couldn't know how times were going to change in terms of opportunities for women, but it's stunning to recognize how little conditions have changed in terms of our complacency and tendency and entitlement. That's about human nature, obviously, not just women. As for Emma herself, she is a victim of her own perverse understanding of romance but creates any number of terrible problems in the real world that surrounds her and impinges itself upon her. Again, that hasn't changed one iota since Flaubert created her. You can't love or even like Emma, but you surely have to acknowledge that she is--ironically--a real person who shares a lot of not very admirable characteristics with those of us who cringe through her story.


message 8: by Juanita (last edited Aug 21, 2014 05:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Juanita Emma is on one level a character who conveys the socialisation of women throughout history through media or in this instance literature. Anita Brookner expresses this beautifully through her main character Ruth when she says "Ruth at forty had been ruined by literature". Brookner uses characters such as Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary and Cinderella to illustrate the ways in which women's lives have been framed through the literature they read. Emma Bovary, in the absence of a mother, is given romantic novels to read in the convent by the nuns and assumes this is the way life is meant to be. No different to the seemingly innocent messages evoked in Cinderella or the in your face messages girls receive in most media today in relation to expectations in marriage and consumerism.

I did not like her but I too saw my own subconscious and subliminal education as a process which is hard to escape.

In terms of Flaubert's language and insight into women's psyche the novel is a masterpiece. I have been to see where he wrote it, where he lived and given a tour when these places were closed in winter through the world expert on Flaubert, Ivan Le Clerc in Rouen. He remarked at the close of my day with him, with a wry smile as we stood by Flaubert's grave "I think you may have a little Emma about you, yes?" I was not sure if this was a compliment and I smiled back at him with slight unease.


Daphne Kaamiño Way better than Anna Karenina. lol


message 10: by Carolina (last edited Aug 22, 2014 09:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carolina Morales She was neither sympathethic, likable or despictable. Just an ordinary woman of her time & place.


Carolina Morales Daphne wrote: "Way better than Anna Karenina. lol"

Really? Concerning which aspect?


message 12: by Tito (new)

Tito I have just finished reading it and I have to say although I enjoyed the book it left me cold. I had no sympathy with any of the characters particularly Emma - she was so cruel and selfish and I was relieved when it all came to an end...I preferred Anna Karenina.


message 13: by M-n (new) - rated it 4 stars

M-n Tito wrote: "I have just finished reading it and I have to say although I enjoyed the book it left me cold. I had no sympathy with any of the characters particularly Emma - she was so cruel and selfish and I w..."

yup I agree. It's the callousness shown to her little girl the total lack of interest as a mum that disgusts me, whereas when I read it before as singleton and childless I never paid much attention to it.


Juanita I agree that the way Emma treated her little girl was deplorable and evoked anger in me. On reflection I realised the point Flaubert was making here was that Emma did not want to bring another female into a world where she felt life was so limited for her gender. When she looks out into the street every morning she sees the men going about their business and yearns for their lives .i think Flaubert sums this up when Homais is awarded the Legion of Honour at the close of the book. It is a statement about society albeit abhorrent.


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