Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary Essays

The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life.

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The doctor defends her, but Heloise is deeply wounded.

A week later, while hanging out the wash, she coughs blood and dies.

Bovary and Emma Roualt then marry, and she becomes the second Madame Bovary.

However, when she discovers her husband's sober simplicity—that he wants little more than to live quietly in Tostes and heal common folk—she is crestfallen. He outfits her in the latest Paris fashions and even takes her to a grand ball in Rouen at the estate of a marquis.

Bovary and another physician decide that new surroundings will restore her vigor, so Monsieur and Madame Bovary—who has become pregnant—move to Yonville, a small town near Rouen. Bovary would offend her in a way that would give her reason to run off. The presence of little Berthe does little to cheer her, for Berthe is a girl; Emma wanted a boy.

On the night of their arrival, they dine with Homais, a pompous local apothecary every ready to display his knowledge of science and other subjects, and Leon Dupuis, a shy law clerk for a local attorney. One day, a greedy dry-goods merchant named Lheureux calls at her house to show her his wares and announce that he is a moneylender who can meet any needs that arise.

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Mingling with bejeweled nobles and aristocrats in sumptuous surroundings—and waltzing with a viscount—whets her appetite for more of the same.

But when life returns to normal at Tostes, she languishes and falls ill.

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