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Summary of Madame Bovary

The novel “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert, a French writer of the 19th century, takes place in some places in northern France in the period of romanticism.
The probable story of a woman dissatisfied with herself and what she has puts in the foreground the social issues of that period, in which the diversity between the various social classes was still well defined.

Becoming very famous, this novel introduced the term “bovarism” into the language, which indicates the desire to have what one cannot afford.
Emma, ​​the protagonist, is a beautiful and charming woman, initially a peasant woman, who grows up in a convent where a simple culture is formed based only on the romantic books she read, in which images of “a horseman with a white feather galloping on a horse stand out. black; coffers; guard corps; minstrels; manors “far from reality. She is also lucky enough to marry Carlo, a good-natured, calm and concrete doctor who proves to be a faithful husband. She soon gets bored of him, as she does not see the dream of leaving the simple life led up to now come true. This dream comes to life, in large part, when the couple attend a party to which they are invited by a patient marquis of Carlo. Emma knows and dances with some members of high society and, from that moment on, for her there will be only that world of nobles, dances and parties, from which she is exalted (“Her heart was like those shoes: in touching wealth, something had settled on it that would never be erased again “).
Her hopes for her are nourished by the awareness of being a very charming woman, a very relevant feature in society at the time but also today. The tantrums begin when the boredom and disappointment of not being able to participate and live from such exciting situations take over her life. So Carlo decides to change city, thinking that his wife’s suffering is linked to the environment. In Yonville they come into contact with secondary characters in the novel, such as the pharmacist Homais, a self-satisfied man with very specific ideas, the hotelier Lenfrançois, General Binet, the haberdasher and usurer Lheureux. They act differently in the development of the novel and participate in various situations in the public and private life of the protagonists.
Before the transfer, Emma was pregnant and wanted so much a son, because it would have been for her “the revenge, in hope, of all her past impotences” and then, also from a social point of view, “a man, at least, is free; he can wander through passions and countries, overcome obstacles, bite the most distant happiness “. Unfortunately, a little girl is born, Berta, to whom Emma however does not dedicate herself as carefully as a good mother should. Moreover, even in Yonville he gets bored and so he tries to live new feelings, building a relationship with a young notary apprentice, with whom he soon realizes that he is living an impossible love (“She appeared to him so virtuous and inaccessible that all hope abandoned him” ). Therefore, in the constant search for a man who can make her feel new emotions, Mrs. Bovary begins a new squalid and superficial relationship with one who will still be a source of disappointment, since she will only use it to satisfy her own pleasures. she slowly becomes passionate about betrayal and adultery, distancing herself more and more from her husband, who to fill his dissatisfactions begins to spend huge amounts of money and consequently to get into debt. Meanwhile, she realizes that her relationship with her Rodolfo does not satisfy her any more than she does, “yet I love her” he says (“She was now as disgusted with him as he was satiated with her”). And so, after not long, he leaves and leaves Emma a certain sadness anyway. One evening at the theater she meets Leone, that boy she had loved years ago, and she begins a short relationship with him. This relationship also breaks down and in the meantime Emma is very worried about the large debts owed to the usurer Lheureux and she does not know how to tell her husband. She so that one day she swallows arsenic and lets herself die.
The tragic end of this woman was born from her total dissatisfaction that she had led her to commit her whole life in search of a better condition. However, her dreams of her remain unfulfilled: she was unable to escape the mediocrity she hated so much, she was unable to enter the world she dreamed of, she never found the love she hoped for.
After Emma’s death, Carlo lives for a while in the nostalgic memory of her, until he accidentally finds all the love letters from Leone and Rodolfo. Then he goes mad with pain and starts drinking: here emerges all the ferocious and desperate anger of her, that of a man who lived in a state of submission and servility towards his wife until recently.


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