Madame Bovary Essay, Research Paper
It can be inferred that many women in today s society read romance novels in order to obtain a sense of fulfillment. Furthermore, the ideas and plots that are acquired from these role models are most often carried over into everyday life. While there is a good intention, most do not realize that their new lives are fake. As in Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, Emma Bovary is an overly emotional woman whose unrealistic fantasies of life and love cause her to become dissatisfied with her blunt husband and fall into two desperate love affairs, which ultimately cause her death. She dies because she is deluded by literature (Jung 2) while trying to make her life into a novel. Consequently, she is looking for a higher more spiritual life than the one available to her as a wife of a bourgeoisie country doctor, and in this quest she only finds self- destruction. (Jung 2) While it may seem that Madame Emma Bovary is something out of the ordinary, her yearnings are nothing more or less than the human condition in the modern world. (Jung 1) Because of her impatience and eagerness to make herself a woman of great prestige and class, Madame Bovary marries her husband without love or devotion, but rather to escape her dreadful unhappiness of being monogamous. Not aware of different worlds around her, the young and na ve Emma wants to look and feel like someone important who can be recognized from a distance, which causes her to subscribe to La Corbeille, a woman s magazine and to Le Sylphe des Salons (Saintsburt 226). She wants to show her prominence and significance, but considering she has never lived in this form, Emma seeks aid from her lady- like publishing. Furthermore, this causes her to get emotional as she tries to be something she is not, a romantic heroine in a breath taking romance novel. This identification with an adulterous heroine of fiction, whom she believes have known true romance (Saintsburt 226), causes her to loose faith in her marriage causing distance between herself and her husband, and ultimately achieving two love affairs. Madame Bovary lives her life through her books, because no other way is known or taught to her. These books are her shields that protect her and give her comfort and shelters when she needs them, because her real life has done nothing for her. To most, romance means, having someone to love and care for and sharing lives in holy matrimony, rather romance and love are having sex and spending money. As time progresses and Madame Bovary becomes more and more attached to her novels, she realizes that her life with her husband is a mere cover-up and that she is truly not in love with him. Even though they have only been married for a short period, Madame realizes that she mistakenly thought she was in love with Charles (Moss and Joyce 213). Emma believes that her life should be full of romance and surprises where she is swept of her feet and feels as a character in a book being chased around by men because of her aura and persona. She needs some form of excitement in her life, someone that will show her adventures and different aspects of the world, in order to help her achieve the level of happiness that is achieved in her novels. Obviously this does not happen with her present husband because he this man taught her nothing, knew nothing, wanted nothing. (Flaubert 35) Incapable of differentiating the difference between reality and fictional, she starts to realize that her life has been nothing but a book and that she is now caught in a web of stories that entangle her mind, but do nothing for the soul. In order to escape her boredom, Madame Bovary looks toward love affairs and executes them as the heroines in did her novels. They were filed with love affairs, lovers and mistresses, (Flaubert 32) something Emma needed in order to distract her life. She is the country girl who is kept inside and not allowed to see the other side of the world and because of this, she is not aware of how to live a life except for the one on a farm. Consequently, this forces Emma to run to books and use them as her rescuer. Madame believes that in order for her to make up the time she lost living with her husband, she must have extramarital affairs. It is for this reason that she marries Charles Bovary. The characters in her books all have husbands and all of them have lovers. As a result she needs to have all the details done exactly the same, otherwise she will not have complete satisfaction. In addition, Emma needs to experience adventures because she likes to travel. [Madame] enjoys a change of scene (Flaubert 69). Emma needs to be satisfied and fulfilled every second of her life; otherwise, she will have nothing to look forward to. Madame arranges regular trips to Rouen, where she and Leon indulge in passion and spend money freely. (Baudlaire 223) Again, her real life love affair is that of a book; a handsome man sweeps away his girl to a new place where they indulge in passion. This is not something Emma is accustomed to, but is definitely something that she wants. Another reason why Madame Bovary has an affair is because her husband is preoccupied with his job, which of course she does not understand, she needs to seek fulfillment somewhere else, and this is the reason why she seeks pleasure from others. Consequently, Madame does not realize what kind of emotional difficulty she has entangled herself in. Besides pledging her devotion to her husband, she must now also commit to two other men. Emma puts on this show of wild behavior as a way to get attention, because for a short period of time, her life had no excitement. She does not realize the hurt she is putting her husband through and the effect this might have on her new born daughter; this in turn shows the selfishness and ignorance of Madame Bovary.
Madame dies not because she is an adulteress, but because she wishes to die (Brandis 228). Emma could no longer live a normal life as an innocent person free from worries and shame. Thus, her life has become something that she is incapable of controlling. While it is true that adultery plays a large role in her downfall, Madame realizes that she has led a false life, one that is not hers. She does not want to continue a path of a dull life that she knows will have no future, instead, she wants to be a new person that is actually her and not a character from a book. Emma Bovary deteriorates and gets sick because she realizes that he lovers betrayed her and has done the same thing, as she herself has done to her husband. It is at the this point of the novel, that she finally realizes that the characters are not real and the events can not be the ones in her life. Furthermore, she grows in large debt form the lavish life that she has lead and is unable to pay it back and family property has to be confiscated as a result. As she becomes sicker, she ponders the idea that it is so dull to spend your life rooted to one spot (Flaubert 69). This idea is not prevalent in one specific part of the novel, but rather it is seen through out its course where it connects different actions and ideas. First, this relates to Madam s romances and her sense of adventure and inability to be committed to one person or object. Most importantly, this refers to the metamorphosis that occurs to Madame. Although she has changed her exterior and has had some adventures, Emma is still the same person; she is unhappy inside knowing she will never be what she wants to be. The quote is contradictory but it relates perfectly to Madame. She goes through this long and important process of changing her identity, while hurting others in the path, but still ending where she has started. Furthermore, Madame realizes that she can no longer live her life as someone else can. She must be the young woman at a farm who takes care of her parents, because that is who she is. Because Emma can no longer handle her life as a mistress, and a life as a false person, she breaks down in order to find faith in herself. It is impossible for her to seek help from someone else, until she finds and resolves the problem within her self, and most importantly, by herself.