The Portrayal of Charles Bovary in Part I, Chapters 1,7 and 9 Note : all references made are from the “Penguin Popular Classics” edition of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. 1.
In this Chapter, the persona of Charles Bovary is introduced through the reader, starting from a scene where Charles arrives in the Boarding School, at the age of 12. •
P. 15 : “ In the corner behind the door, only just visible, stood a country lad of fifteen, taller than any of us, with hair cut square on his forehead like a village chorister ; sensible looking and extremely ill at ease. He had on a short green jacket with black buttons, which must have pinched him under the arms although he was not broad-shouldered, and which revealed at the cuffs a glimpse of red wrists that were used to going bare.” From the very beginning, Charles is marginalized by Flaubert as a rural figure. This report shows the scene that unfolds itself at the introduction of Charles through the eyes of his future classmates. This portrayal has a very negative and sardonic tone. •
P. 16 : “ The boy stammered out some unintelligible noise…This time, the new boy plucked up his courage, opened his mouth to an enormous width , and brought out at the top of his voice, as if he were hailing someone, the word Charbovari”
This description depicts Charles’ painful inability to communicate. He does not manage to effectively communicate even the most superficial of all messages, one’s name, let alone that he could communicate more complicated aspects of a existance (assuming he could actually identify them). This inability is also shown when he Charles proposes to Emma, later in the novel, where he misses the emotional intelligence to grasp the art of effective communication. •
P. 17 - 18 : “ At evening prep, he took his cuffs from his desk, set out his little belongings and fuled his paper with care. We saw him working conscientiously, looking up every word in the dictionary, taking the utmost pains.”...
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