Madame Bovary (Roy's Analysis)

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Genroy Hylton

It is in human nature to indulge in acts that gratify our emotion. Psychologists and evolutionary theologist teach that the heart can convince the brain, but the inverse is not true for the brain. That means people will most likely do what makes them feel good and not what is the best for them. Throughout the novel Madame Bovary the author Gustave Flaubert uses literary devices such as symbolism to express the idea that pleasure inhibits the progress of human aspiration.

The first instance of pleasure inhibiting progress is in chapter one. Charles Bovary the main character is doing some intense studying for his medical practice exams. The author states, on page ten, that Monsieur Bovary “breaks all good resolutions” and starts to go to cafes to play dominoes. The Arthur states that Monsieur Bovary starts to [lose his mind] over the game. Monsieur Bovary quickly loses his sensible self value, evidenced by the fact that he starts “spending evening … in a dirty public room. The Arthur further goes to express his low self esteem for Monsieur Bovary at this point by metaphorically comparing the game of dominoes to a simple clicking of dotted sheep bones on a marble table. The specific form of pleasure, Monsieur Bovary is getting from his irresponsible actions, is the same of freedom. Throughout Monsieur Bovary’s life he has been subjected to follow under the authority of his parents. His farther always tried to push him to be aggressive, assertive, and strong willed. This can be deduced from the belief the farther has, which is “with enough nerve a man could always get a head in the world.” which can be found on page seven. The farther also attempts to “harden his child’s constitution”, with “strict-discipline”. This actually works to further put young Monsieur Bovary into a submissive role. When a child is forced to follow a strict set of rules and is not allowed to challenge the principle but instead obey them without an understanding of why he should obey them, the child will make it routine to submit himself to the authority of others and even repress his own desires. The mother further encourages young Monsieur’s to be submissive by forcing her personal interests on him, such as, singing and to listen to her on poor frustrated ambitions”. Young Monsieur Bovary does not want to listen to his mothers past sorrows, which he can not help cure, but he is forced to suppress his desires to her higher authority. The result of this is that young Monsieur Bovary will not create his own aspirations and follow the lead of who ever is willing to lead him, and in this case its his mother. She decides the path that young Bovary should take in medical school, and he obeys without a murmur because of the depression that has manifested between him and that has manifested between him and his mother over time. Being deprived of the opportunity to develop his own sense of self for such a long period makes it understandable that Monsieur Charles Bovary would get enraptured to the point of ecstasy by his newly found freedom. The experience was so intense for him, the experience of making his own choices, that the author states, Monsieur Bovary would feel a “pleasure that was almost sensual” just by touching the door knob to a café. It is at the café that Monsieur Bovary opens himself up to the desires of his heart. He indulges in the freedom that he could not experience in the past because of his parent’s authority. With his freedom, he ventures to learn a few verses of songs to sing at social events with friends and how to make punch. The simplistic nature of what he can only be comprehended by noting that his true pleasure comes from the fact that he chooses to engage in those activities. No one told him to. It was a choice that he made and he could only blame himself for the consequence of the actions that he has committed. He gained confidence in his ability to make choices, good or bad....
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