In Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, the story predominately follows how Emma Bovary becomes disenchanted with her lifestyle as the wife of Charles Bovary and seeks to find the unobtainable life she so desperately dreams of from the books she reads. However, before all of that, Charles Bovary has a history of his own with a previous marriage and a dreary childhood. In the passage describing a request for his services and his journey to a distance farm, the descriptive imagery and juxtaposition of his thoughts convey how static his character is.
Flaubert chooses to describe Charles Bovary’s demeanor and actions as easy going to illustrate to the audience how his personality is both average and carefree. When a man frantically comes to their home in the middle of the night with a letter requesting Charles to set a broken leg, he “lean[s] his elbow on the pillow to read it” (11). Disregarding the fact that the situation is considered to be an emergency to many, Charles leisurely takes his time in his own comfort. This goes back to his growing up when chose to not prepare for his examination, resulting in his failure. He does not understand the gravity of circumstances and does everything as he pleases. This is further exemplified when he decides to leave “three hours later,” all “well wrapped” and moving in a “peaceful trot” (11-12). Rather than trying to get there as fast as he can, he goes at a pace where he can even fall asleep. He has little to no concern for the patient that is urgently waiting for him to put him out of excruciating pain. He has to make an attempt to “recall the broken leg” along with any knowledge he has on how to fix it during the journey (12). His lack of ambition is prevalent in this scene as it brings up his past apathy towards his schoolwork, which is catching up with him now, along with his currently indifference towards his work. He has no desire to excel in his job; he is perfectly content being an average man doing average work....
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