Madame Bovary: Emma's Unorthodox Behavior Due to Childhood

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Madame Bovary: Emma's Unorthodox Behavior Due To Childhood

From earliest infancy, an individual's character is molded by experience. In Gustave Flaubert's novel entitled Madame Bovary, Emma's unorthodox behavior during her married life can be attriuted to the illusions she maintained about life during her girlhood. These, combined with her father's disinterest in her mental happiness become the force which eventually leads Emma Bovary to commit suicide.

When she was 13 years old, Pere Rouault took his daughter, Emma, to town to put her in a convent where she would receive an education. She received more than her father bargained for. All that Emma later believed love should be, she learned from books there, mostly from romance novels lent to her and the other girls by an old maid who worked for the convent. In the fine pages of those books, Emma read of parted lovers, excitement, romance, knights in armor, and ladies in white satin dresses. These novels painted a world where palm trees and pine trees lived together, where lions and tigers roamed the forest, with Roman Ruins surrounded by virgin forests and lakes full of swans. "And the shaded oil-lamp . . . lit up all these pictures of the world, which flowed by on after another, in the silence of the dormitory, to the distant sound of a late cab somewhere still rolling along the boulevards." (page 30) In short, Emma fell in love with a world that never existed anywhere. She embraced the elegance of the life in the pictures which she had hung in her dormitory, and never did anyone tell her that such realities did not exist outside those pages. Wishing for the impossible she was never satisfied with the here and now. She could not find happiness, and when Charles came along she was already depressed with life, and was looking for anything to take her away in search of the things she was looking for.

Even Emma's father contributed to her future unhappiness. He didn't particularly like the...
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