Gustave Flaubert and Madame Bovary: Comparisons
We would like to think that everything in life is capable, or beyond the brink of reaching perfection. It would be an absolute dream to look upon each day with a positive outlook. We try to establish our lives to the point where this perfection may come true at times, although, it most likely never lasts. There's no real perfect life by definition, but instead, the desire and uncontrollable longing to reach this dream.
In the novel Madame Bovary, it's easy to relate to the characters as well as the author of this book. One can notice that they both share a fairly similar view on life, and that their experiences actually tie in with each other. Emma Bovary dreamed of a life beyond that of perfection as well. She realizes that she leads an ordinary and average life, but simply does not want to abide by it. In the novel, Emma meets a pitiful doctor named Charles Bovary. The first time they meet, Charles falls instantly in love with her. They begin to see more and more of each other until Charles asks Emma's father for her hand in marriage. They end up getting married and everything goes fine, just like a normal couple, for awhile. They did things with each other, went out, and were extremely happy. Although, this love and passion for life shortly ended when Emma's true feelings began to come about. We soon come to realize that "the story is of a woman whose dreams of romantic love, largely nourished by novels, find no fulfillment when she is married to a boorish country doctor" (Thorlby 272).
This is completely true because Emma really does get caught up in her reading. She wonders why she can't have a flawless love as well as a flawless life, just as the characters do in the novels she reads.
Once Emma becomes fed up and realizes that he is "a sad creature" (Flaubert 78), she begins her little quest to find the right man through a binge of affairs and broken hearts.
The author of Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert, was born in Rouen France (Kunitz 280). He grew up in a rather wealthy and prosperous family as a result of his father being a successful doctor (Kunitz 280). This could easily relate to the fact that Charles Bovary was a doctor too.
During Flaubert's younger years, he was alone most of the time. He didn't have any friends and normally spent his days in solitude. This gave him time to focus on his literature (Flaubert i). Since Flaubert's academics and knowledge of literature were released at such an early age, it is explainable to see how his profound talent was released (Flaubert i). He began to write plays at around the age of ten. These were in-depth, romantic plays that adults would learn to appreciate (Kunitz 280). At that time Flaubert focused his attention on the study of History and the writings of numerous romantics as well (Kunitz 280).
Flaubert was later sent to an intermediate school in Paris to further strengthen his academic standings (Kunitz 280). Upon completion of that, he enrolled into law school but found no interest in it (Thorlby 250). This allowed him to do some drifting, while taking the time to realize that literature would be his destiny (Kunitz 281).
Although all of this schooling and work helped Flaubert become an extremely talented writer, he thought writing to be one of the most difficult things (De Man xi). He wrote very slowly in fact, while reflecting on his painful life experiences. It took over five years to perfect his most famous novel, Madame Bovary (Thorlby 272).
Although some people, as well as I, believe that Flaubert based the character of Emma Bovary on himself, he was very unhappy with the subject of the book upon finishing (Thorlby 272). Maybe Flaubert figured her character to be too provocative and heartless. Otherwise, he might have simply reflected upon the theme, and thought it to be uninteresting.
In 1856, the novel Madame Bovary was...
Cited: York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1965
Kunitz, Stanley J., Vineta Colby, eds
Magill, Frank N., ed
Language Series. vol. 2; New Jersey: Salem Press
Magill, Frank N., ed. Cyclopedia of World Authors. New
Jersey: Salem Press Inc., 1958
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