, Research Paper
JOURNEYS AND DREAMS
A journey describes a traveling from one place to another. Throughout Madame Bovary, the novel, Emma, the main character, travels to many places in search of a better life. Gustave Flaubert, the author, portrays Emma as a young lady who always lives in a dream world. Her ideas of the perfect world are far beyond her reach. It is ironical that every time she takes a journey, especially for romance, she is soon disappointed. Her dreams are never attainable; therefore, she poisons herself in the end.
Journeys are a way of escaping. One of Emma s first journeys is to the convent. At the age of thirteen, she enjoys being with the nuns and learning about religion. Gradually, she turns away from the spiritual and religious aspects, and finds the physical beauty of things to be much more interesting. She was softly lulled by the mystic languor exhaled in the perfumes of the altar, the freshness of the holy water, and the lights of the tapers (24). Emma s dreams start to unfold while she is at the convent. This journey, at the beginning of her life, is ironical because she learns about the things that make her life unhappy.
After she marries Charles, Emma is quickly bored. The ball at La Vaubyessard excites Emma and hopes that there are more events like this one in the future. The ball is a way of living out part of her dream. Fantasy and reality merge together, but this does not happen often in her life. Emma thinks that her presence at the ball means that she is no longer middle class (32-37). Her thoughts kill her in the long run. The journey that is supposed to be delightful actually begins her downfall because she believes that she is able to get whatever she desires. Because she imagines that she is a part of the higher class, she yearns for many things that are intangible.
Emma s affairs cause her to go on many rendezvous. At Yonville, Leon, a clerk, and Emma meet. They find that they also have much in common (57). She thinks that this relationship is going to be everything she dreams about and reads in novels. Emma and Leon walk to the nurse s house together and there is a special spark between them (64). Soon, however, Emma s feeling begin to change. She finds things wrong with Leon, for example, that he is passive, but she still loves him. Another affair starts when Leon leaves, this time it is with Rodolphe. Emma and Rodolphe go on a horseback ride together through Yonville (110). Although he tells Charles that the ride is good for Emma s health, Rodolphe just wants to be alone with Emma. She thinks that he is her soulmate , someone that she shares her pains with, and the perfect spouse. Another trip that she goes on to La Huchette, where Rodolphe lives. Emma visits him after Charles leaves for work early (115). She thinks that Rodolphe has the same feelings for her as she does for him, but he does not. Her repeated visitations are ironic because she looks for something that does not even exist. She tries to find romance with Rodolphe, but it is bound to fail because the love is not mutual. When Leon returns, they fall in love once again. The only way that they can see each other is for Emma to lie to her husband. She asks Charles for permission to take piano lessons in Rouen every week. When she travels to Rouen to see Leon, she is running away from the truth and into her dream world. Emma and Leon s rendezvous are at a hotel that they pretend to be their home. To Emma, it seems that this relationship is almost perfect, but since they are both shallow, it does not have a chance of working out. Emma starts different relationships to fulfill her fantasies, but they never turn into what she really wants.
When Emma does not have the money to pay off her debt, she tries to do whatever she can to save her dream. Emma runs frantically around the city asking people to spare her some money. She visits various brokers, Leon, and Rodolphe, hoping that they are kind enough to help. Those [the brokers] whom she did manage to see she asked for money, declaring she must have some, and that she would pay it back. Some laughed in her face; all refused (209). Emma has many open opportunities to get rid of her problems by asking Charles, but she always wastes the moments. The next trip she takes it to ask Leon for his help. He pretends to try his best to provide her with the money, but he says that he has none (210). When she wants him to steal the money from his office, this shows how selfish Emma is in real Life. As usual, Emma only thinks about ways to help her. With no luck so far, Emma turns to Rodolphe as her last hope. He is stunned when she tells him that she needs a large sum of money, and tells her that he is unable to help (220). Her future at this point is like a dark abyss because she does not really have a future. Frustrated, she rushes to Homais shop and drinks a bottle of arsenic (223). When things go bad, Emma never knows what to do. Her very last journey with death is painful, just as her whole life is. These last two journeys complete her life with much irony. She tries so hard to find the life she reads about in novels, but it does not even exist. Everywhere she goes and the action she makes all relate to her dreams of romance. She yearns for absolute love, but never finds it where she looks.
Emma can never fulfill her dreams. She goes on journeys as a way of escaping from her reality to find love. In order to be loved, she has to show that she is a giving person. Since she is not giving, she never is happy. Emma does not understand what and how to deal with the real world. Al her journeys are ironical in the way that nothing goes the way she plans. Her dream of material things ends up killing her.