Need For Change Essay, Research Paper
email: firstname.lastname@example.org: The Need For ChangeChange is a central theme in the novel Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert, and is key to understanding the character of Emma Bovary. Through parallel events the reader comes to realize that Emma’s need for change is the result of the influence her early life had upon her. At the convent Emma is left to develop into an extreme romantic with high hopes for excitement and dreams of sensuous pleasures that will never be fulfilled. Thus, when life refuses to conform to her romantic notions Emma alternates between various activities in her constant search for a way to consummate her romantic longings. As a young girl from the country Emma is placed into a convent in the city. Here Emma develops and receives nourishment for her already sentimental soul. She looks upon “copper crosses,” the “sick lamb” and the “mystic altar” with the vigor of a scholar on a quest for knowledge. She listens intently “to the sonorous lamentation of romantic melancholy” which “awakened unexpected joys within her.” Emma, being isolated from the outside world, is left alone to develop her capricious dreams that she reads about in novels, gaining the hope of someday fulfilling these romantic and passionate desires. Emma devours books that involve “romantic woes, oaths, sobs, tears and kisses gentlemen brave as lions, gentle as lambs” and always “impossibly virtuous.” Due to Emma’s isolation from everyday living she develops the need for excitement and as a result cannot endure her own married life. Life with Charles simply does not fit the fictionalized accounts she reads of. Thus Emma turns to theShannon Patrick0878-048comforts of adultery and when passion is not readily available she will resort to any activity in the hope that it will fill the void in her heart. She tries everything. Emma redecorates her house, takes up reading, subscribes to Parisian magazines, helps at charities, knits, paints, plays the piano and engages in a multitude of other activities. However, none of these are enough for Emma. With each occupation she takes up she soon becomes bored and rejects one activity for another. Emma does not understand that she is a middle-class woman, in a middle-class existence and that no amount of hope will result in the fulfillment of her dreams. Instead of coming to the realization that fantasy is fantasy and reality is life she fritters away her time in daydreaming of another life, waiting for “something to happen.” When Leon leaves for Paris, Emma, left in the dull town of Yonnville, buys a “plan of Paris, and moving the tip of her finger on the map, she would wander about the capital.” She subscribes to Parisian magazines “searching in their writings for vicarious satisfaction of her own desires.” If she is not able to change her reality Emma is left to the imagination of her mind to conjure up a new and exciting life. In a constant search for the rare and expensive things of life Emma misses the obvious and simple pleasures that are hers to enjoy.
Even the secret and sensual pleasures of adultery do not satisfy Emma. No man can possibly live up to her ideal lover. As Flaubert so cleverly states, Emma does not understand that “one must not touch idols; the gilt rubs off on one’s hands.” What Emma wants out of her affairs and life in general, is something that is not humanly possible. She longs for a lover whose perfection must be the equivalent of Plato’s philosopher king. Since her lovers cannot meet her expectations she constantly looks for things to change in the hope that the change will result in fulfillment. With Roldophe she wanted to run away. To conduct a secret love affair was not enough, soShannon Patrick0878-048she thought the next step should be to live life together, forever, as do the characters in romance novels. However, Roldophe, having interests of his own, tires of Emma and drops her shortly thereafter. Emma no longer imagines a future together with her second lover, but instead attempts to mold Leon into her ideal lover. For a time Leon tries to be everything Emma would like him to be and does so out of a “desire to please her.” Emma advises him on what to wear, how to talk, what friends to have and he soon realizes that he was “becoming his mistress rather than she being his.” Emma too becomes disgruntled with her relationship to Leon. She comes to the realization that she cannot look on Leon realistically without seeing all his human imperfections. In which case she soon tires of him, as he does her. As her relationship with Leon progresses she also comes to understand that the lover she dreams of is a “man whose worldly existence [is] impossible.”As the result of her childhood Emma Bovary spends her entire life in an attempt to escape her middle-class existence by dreams, love affairs and false pretensions. Emma constantly changes her activities, her surroundings and her love situations in a desperate attempt to grasp the fairy tales she entombed in her soul as a child. Although she longed for the superficial and materialistic Emma Bovary was one who ended her life without ever compromising her vision of something greater than she.