Real life is beautiful

Real life is beautiful
Why do you disatisfy,Mrs Bovary

Madame Bovary

In 1851 Flaubert embarked upon Madame Bovary, on which he worked until 1856. It was published in 1857 and created a storm; Flaubert in fact was unsuccessfully tried on the charge of contributing to public depravity. In addition to satirizing the provincial bourgeoisie, this work tells of Emma Bovary, who as a girl attends a convent school where she acquires romantic notions of a lover who will live for her alone. She marries a good but simple doctor, Charles Bovary, who adores her but does not understand her romantic fantasies, and she then has two love affairs. When, at the end, she finds her dream world in shreds about her, she prefers death to accepting a world not consonant with her fantasies and commits suicide.
At a more profound level the book is the profession of faith of an author who had outgrown romanticism and knew its premises were false. The man of whom Emma dreamed could not exist; the only man who would tell her what she wished sought only an easy seduction. She was foredoomed from the moment she adopted romantic fantasies in the convent.
Madame Bovary can also be read as Flaubert's view of modern woman, who has been perverted by society to shallow or false ideals and thus cannot follow her own nature to its true fulfillment in real love, which would combine in one transcendent experience the fullest physical experiences with the richest spiritual ones. These concepts, coupled with Emma's death, embody Flaubert's principal themes: sexuality, religion, and annihilation. The book is a masterpiece because of these underlying concerns and Flaubert's analysis, and because of his success in giving them form in his novel.
Madame Bovary displayed a new technique for writing ironic novels which writers were to imitate for many generations. Flaubert's doctrines may be readily summarized. He believed writers must write of the observed, actual facts; his documentation became legendary. To this extent he partook of the scientism of his period. He wished the writer to be, like the scientist, objective, impartial, impersonal, and impassive. But while the scientist generalizes his truths into a law of nature, Flaubert asked the writer to generalize his observations into an ideal, a type, whose dynamic power becomes apparent through the artistry of its presentation. Finally, Flaubert was a convinced Platonist who accepted the Socratic dictum that the True, the Beautiful, and the Good are one. If the writer presented the True through the Beautiful, his work would also be morally good.
The publication of Madame Bovary made Flaubert a celebrity. A floundering school of French writers who called themselves realists (markedly inferior to their later American counterparts) imitated Flaubert's use of careful documentation and a rather commonplace subject and proclaimed him their master. In Paris he came to know most of the important people of his day: members of the imperial court, the Goncourt brothers, George Sand, to whom he became devoted, and later the younger men such as Émile Zola, Alphonse Daudet, and Ivan Turgenev. He withdrew, however, each spring to Croisset, a village near Rouen.
Flaubert's next work, Salammbô (1862), recounted the revolt of the mercenaries against Carthage in the 3d century B.C. In it he gave free rein to his penchant for archeological documentation and his delight in the ancient world. Unfortunately the novel is tedious and repetitious, and few readers have been moved by this mythological account of the fusion of sexuality with religion and their joint culmination in death and annihilation. Flaubert's scrupulously accurate reconstruction of antiquity, however, did influence later historical novels.

Farmington Hills, Mich “Gustave Flaubert." Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. 1998. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center.

Main Theme

How false or perverted values debase and dehumanize those who hold such values. Emma Bovary idealizes romance, believing flirtation, trysts, secret letters, and gala balls are the the pith, the very soul, of love. She also prizes things–money, chic fashions, sumptuous surroundings, the tinkle of crystal. The dinner-dance she attends in Rouen is a microcosm of the haut monde in which she wants to live.

Emma’s self-centeredness and quixotic perception of reality cause her to ignore her child, deceive her husband, surrender to promiscuity and go so deeply in debt that she offers her body in payment. Emma’s distorted vision of the real world also blinds her to the intentions of those who use her. For example, she fails to realize that Rodolphe is treating her as a sex object rather than a cherished lover. Other characters who also cling to false values are Homais, the pompous apothecary; Lheureux, the greedy merchant; and Heloise, the deceitful first wife of Bovary. Dr. Charles Bovary’s perception of reality is also distorted. He believes that to live means merely to exist. Consequently, he lacks curiosity, passion, spirit. He is so numb to the world around him that he is blind to the obvious faults of Emma, Homais, Lheureux, and others; he is, in this respect, Panglossian. He is not without redeeming qualities, however, including honesty and loyalty.

Cummings, Michael J. A Study Guide 2004

Other Themes

Deception: Emma continually deceives her husband while committing adultery.

Greed: Unscrupulous Lheureux runs the Bovarys into debt to satisfy his lust for money.

Naiveté: Dr. Bovary never suspects his wife of infidelity even though his neighbors become well aware of Emma's extramarital activity.

Prodigality and Materialism: Emma spends lavishly, believing that money can buy happiness.

Cummings, Michael J. A Study Guide 2004

Style

The book, loosely based on the life story of a schoolfriend who had become a doctor, was written at the urging of friends, who were trying (unsuccessfully) to "cure" Flaubert of his deep-dyed Romanticism by assigning him the dreariest subject they could think of, and challenging him to make it interesting without allowing anything out-of-the-way to occur. Although Flaubert had little liking for the styles of Balzac or Zola, the novel is now seen as a prime example of Realism, a fact which contributed to the trial for obscenity (which was a politically-motivated attack by the government on the liberal newspaper in which it was being serialised, La Revue de Paris). Flaubert, as the author of the story, does not comment directly on the moral character of Emma Bovary and abstains from explicitly condemning her adultery. This decision caused some to accuse Flaubert of glorifying adultery and creating a scandal.
The Realist movement used verisimilitude through a focus on character development. Realism was a reaction against Romanticism. Emma may be said to be the embodiment of a romantic; in her mental and emotional process, she has no relation to the realities of her world. She inevitably becomes dissatisfied since her larger-than-life fantasies are impossible to realize. Flaubert declared that much of what is in the novel is in his own life by saying, "Madame Bovary, c'est moi" ("Madame Bovary is me").
Madame Bovary, on the whole, is a commentary on the entire self-satisfied, deluded, bourgeois culture of Flaubert's time period. His contempt for the bourgeoisie is expressed through his characters: Emma and Charles Bovary lost in romantic delusions; absurd and harmful scientific characters, a self-serving money lender, lovers seeking excitement finding only the banality of marriage in their adulterous affairs. All are seeking escape in empty church rituals, unrealistic romantic novels, or delusions of one sort or another.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madame_Bovary

Social Background

The villagers who surround Emma provide us with a context for historically understanding Emma’s social position. The wet nurse whom Emma visits, for example, lives in a small hut with the children she nurses. When she sees Emma, she begs her for little necessities—a bit of coffee, some soap, some brandy. Although Emma remains unhappy because she can’t socialize with the aristocracy in Paris, her visit to the wet nurse reminds us that she is comparatively well-off. The village innkeeper, meanwhile, is a down-to-earth woman whose only concerns are whether the meal will be served on time and whether the drunkards who frequent the inn will destroy the billiards table. Although she does lack imagination, she also represents something that Emma is not: a woman who accepts and enjoys her lot in life.

“Study Guide” Sparknotes: Barnes &Noble 2006
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/bovary/section4.rhtml

Contrast

As a suitor, Rodolphe differs from Leon in terms of experience, and his seduction of Emma succeeds on the strength of his time-honed cunning. While both suitors are fundamentally motivated by erotic desire, Leon is shy, sentimentally romantic, and sexually innocent. In contrast, Rodolphe is aggressive, calculatingly pragmatic, and sexually cynical. Whereas Leon regards Emma as a potential partner in a love of equal terms and views her marriage as an obstacle to that bond, Rodolphe views Emma as sexual prey and her marriage as a convenient excuse for seduction without worry of commitment. Rodolphe infers immediately that Emma yearns to escape the yoke of her marriage and desires a lover. He sets about becoming that lover with ruthless precision.

The context of the fair provides sharp ironic contrast to Rodolphe’s skillful seduction of the sentimental Emma. Flaubert cuts back and forth between the scene of the seduction and the speech on morality delivered by the bureaucratic official at the fair. In every instance, the official’s pompous words emphasize the insincere passion Rodolphe displays toward Emma. When he tells her he loves her, for example, the official presents a local farmer the award for first prize in manure. As the scene continues, Flaubert heightens the pace by including shorter and shorter segments from each speech, until we hear single sentences intercut with each other.

When Flaubert employs high lyricism to describe Emma as she strides across fields at midnight to rendezvous with her lover, she suddenly becomes a sympathetic character. Emma believes herself to be in love, and her pretensions toward high society recede. It’s hard to tell, however, whether her sentimental feelings of love are real or a mere function of Rodolphe’s manipulations and higher social status. Emma appears to be ignited with real passion, but we know from her earlier attempts at religious and maternal love that she is rarely serious for long. We also know that Rodolphe is an experienced lover who tosses women aside as soon as he grows bored. This foreshadowing indicates to us that Emma is doomed in this affair, and we sympathize with her approaching disappointment rather than her present elation.

“Study Guide” Sparknotes: Barnes &Noble 2006
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/bovary/section6.rhtml

Where is she going?

Where is she going?
Heaven or Hell

Despair on both her affair and her finance

The essential superficiality of Emma’s connection with Leon compounds the disaster of her financial indiscretions. Once her affair with Leon loses its early glow, Emma loses all sense of proportion and propriety, oscillating between extremes of self-indulgence, self-pity, depression, and guilt. Emma and Leon try to make one another into romantic ideals but fail to connect with each other as real individuals. As these ideals crumble around their actual personalities, they become increasingly disgusted with one another. Emma reacts by seeking pleasure at all costs and in more egregious ways. Her initial desire to be a cosmopolitan aristocrat gives way to a carnal, voracious desire for pleasure, evident in her escapades with vulgar men at unsavory parties. Poor Charles continues to facilitate his wife’s infidelity, funding the trips she takes to Rouen on the pretext of taking piano lessons. The blind beggar Emma sometimes encounters between Yonville and Rouen is one of the most terrifying figures in the novel. He is a symbol of Emma’s moral wretchedness, and his morbid presence also signals her approaching death.

Emma’s financial ruin parallels her moral ruin. Once she obtains the power of attorney over Charles’s finances, her destructive qualities spiral further out of control. Emma’s attempt to transcend the values of her middle-class existence fails as much out of her own free will as the circumstances in which she lives. Even Flaubert, who initially describes Emma as a victim of circumstance, has begun to judge her unfavorably. Emma’s moral corruption, however, remains dependent on the will of the men around her.

“Study Guide” Sparknotes: Barnes &Noble 2006
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/bovary/section10.rhtml

Why Madame Bovary Is Not a Feminist Icon

.....Emma Bovary was in some respects the prototypical “Desperate Housewife,” a manic depressive spendthrift with eating and panic disorders who makes her life into a novel to escape the emptiness of her existence in rural France.
But like many great books, the message that I took from Madame Bovary resonates even more powerfully today than when Flaubert introduced it in the mid-19th century to a public alternately titillated and shocked by its sexual innuendo.
For me, that message is that there is no lonelier a woman than one who demeans her sex but uses it to get special favors.Let me try to explain what I mean before the Feminism Police break down my door. Which they may do anyway since I, like Flaubert, might be tarred with that ultimate male pejorative -- misogynist. ......

Mullen Shaun “Why Madame Bovary Is Not a Feminist Icon” I Power Blogger April 07, 2008

Madame Bovary: Still Alive

It's not my prerogative to analyze Flaubert and his idea of women wrapped in their monotonous lives being in need of active, feminist, ambitious struggle. Looking at Emma Bovary - a character of the 19th century - from the 21st century, I can say that even if Emma Bovary suffered only from social conventions, modern Bovary (who actually can do things Emma couldn't) still suffers.
Why? Because Madame Bovary is not just a portrait of all depressed women who didn't have any rights. Nobody knew the amount of rights a woman needed in the 19th century. I mean there was no example to compare with and think: "Oh, my God! Something is wrong with my life, I need to go and fight for my rights now." It was not the lack of freedom that made women suffer, and it's not feminism and emancipation that saved women. Emma Bovary didn't need freedom or a right to vote.
Basically what she needed was the right upbringing. She was drowning in her father's love, she was spending whole days reading novels and drawing pictures. She was just a spoiled girl, ...
It's funny, but it seems to me that feminism appeared just because some spoiled girl didn't know what to do or maybe she just had some serious sexual problems.
I can make such a conclusion here and now in the 21st century because I was always drawing a parallel between Bovary and some women I know. There is something interesting that I've noticed about them (us).
Even though women won their rights and now we can do anything we want, some of us still rebel. Some of these rebellious girls are spoiled, some of them have nothing to do, and some have both of the just-mentioned problems. ...

Ozar, Anna. "Madame Bovary: still alive." Moscow News 4311.7 (Feb 22, 2008): 22(1).
http://www.mnweekly.ru/culture/20080221/55311250.html

2008年4月16日星期三

Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen into a family of doctors. His father, Achille-Cléophas Flaubert, was a chief surgeon at the Rouen municipal hospital. His mother, Anne-Justine-Caroline (née Fleuriot), was the daughter of a physician. With the help of the medical knowledge, Flaubert had capacity of completing his masterpieces perfectly. When his first essay, won a prize, was found a copy and a disappointment in his teens, he met Elisa Schlésinger and fell in love with her immediately since she inspired much of his early writing. However, Elisa was married and some 10 years his senior. In the 1840s Flaubert studied law at Paris but soon giving up because of doubting himself to get epilepsy. The diagnosis changed the idea that learning literature. In 1846, Flaubert fell in love with the writer Louise Colet who became his mistress though they met infrequently. From 1849 to April 1851, he travelled with the writer Maxime du Camp in North Africa, Syria, Turkey, Greece and Italy. On his return, he started Madame Bovary which took five years to 1856. Meanwhile, his relationship with Collet ended in 1855.

Go Dying

Subjectively, when Rodolphe Boulanger, Emma’s first lover, asks her to be his mistress by using his romantic words, and Emma goes to la Huchette stiffly:

The edge was slippery, and sometimes she had to put out her hand and clutch the tufts of faded gilliflowers to prevent herself from falling. Then she would strike across fresh-ploughed fields, sinking in, floundering, and getting her hair fluttered in the wind that swept across the fields…Rodolphe at this early hour would be still asleep.

I commiserate this lonely woman who pursues her ideal romantic love. She is devoted herself to their love, regardless of Rodolphe’s attitude------seeing her as a sexual object like many other women he does. Rodolphe can never bear her when she plans to elope with him, ridiculously adding her daughter. He leaves her for Rouen to see another mistress. After this failing affair, Emma jumps in Leon Dupuis’s (her second lover) embrace again at once. This wanton is rarely tolerant and dying will be her only way.

2008年4月14日星期一

Disproving "Madame Bovary: Still Alive"

It seems a female brain is not able to calm down - as soon as it gets a bit of free time it starts to analyze and boil. In the end, a happily married, healthy, beautiful mother of three children decides to run away to New Zealand because she somehow realizes nobody understands her refined desires.

Emma is a product of a period of the 19th century in France. In that time, women still did not have freedom, no matter in career or family. Emma wishes to see this world but have no chance, so she put her wish on her children, hoping give birth to a boy so that he can go travelling the world. This expectation is not a fault. Fantasy happens in every person. Since everyone has a dream when he or she was a child, no matter whether it comes true or not, it proved that we have an integrated childhood. Emma is unaware of her immoral affairs, even see these as happiness. In spite of being spoiled by her father and husband, her lacking of education is also a big reason leads her to that way.

However, the author regards all female as Emma. After liberating, women have enough space to do what we want. Family is not the only thing in women's lives. Acquiring higher education let women have opportunities to come true dreams rather than relying on husbands. The woman who went to New Zealand leaving away her 3 children and husband cannot be seen as the same status as Emma. She just pursues her Personal Legend.

While the author blames on women, he or she has never thought of men. How many men have abandoned his family and embrace other mistresses? Weren't men spoiled by their parents and do the things Emma did? It is not men's privilege that have love affair or abandon his family. Why not see things fairly?

If the writer is a woman, I commiserate that she cannot understand herself and her fellows. If the writer is a man, I look down on his words that unfair to women. He never put himself on women's status to see problems. Commenting while out of situation cannot survey correctly. He is a failing man and a failing writer.

2008年4月13日星期日

Thinking after reading"Why Madame Bovary Is Not a Feminist Icon "

The book could be viewed as an exposé of the plight of women in the 19th century; women who had not yet been emancipated and were expected to obey their husbands, to stay in their homes while the men went to work, or left for months on end to fight in wars, my friend said. He probably read that in some thick book.

In the 19th century, women cannot live without their husband or parents. In all their life, being born; learing needlework, how to do housework and care for their husband and children; marring someone when they are 18 years old or even younger; appling for their learining of housework; listening to thier husband's every words and dying when they are old... Women spent their dull lives day by day without geting education or going for a adventure. In this case, most women like Emma, put their hearts in those romantic novels, imagine their lives are colorful just like the heroines in the books. On the contrary, someone may be practical and realistic such as the village innkeeper, a down-to-earth woman whose only concerns are whether the meal will be served on time and whether the drunkards who frequent the inn will destroy the billiards table. These two extremly different characteristics lead to the same failure of their lives. In the book:A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) argues that women are not naturally inferior to men, but appear to be only because they lack education. It suggested that both men and women should be treated as rational beings and imagines a social order founded on reason. The unfair treats between male and female result in the distortion of Emma so that she wishes to give birth to a son rather than a daughter:
She hoped for a son; he would be strong and dark; she would call him George; and this idea of having a male child was like an expected revenge for all her impotence in the past. A man, at least, is free; he can explore all passions and all countries, overcome obstacles, taste of the most distant pleasures. But a woman is always hampered. Being inert as well as pliable, she has against her the weakness of the flesh and the inequity of the law. Like the veil held to her hat by a ribbon, her will flutters in every breeze; she is always drawn by some desire, restrained by some rule of conduct.

Although Madame Bovary seems to be lewd, the yearning for freedom and fair illustrates the feeling of all women in that time.

2008年4月10日星期四

Summary Chapter 7-11 Part 3

Officers come to the Bovarys’ house to inventory their belongings, which they intend to seize to pay Emma’s debts. She schemes and plans to raise the 8,000 francs. The bankers in Rouen refuse to loan her the money, however, and Leon angrily refuses to steal the money from his employer. No one could help her. She thinks all people she may ask to lend money: she goes to see the town lawyer, Guillaumin, who agrees to help her in return for sexual favors. Emma angrily refuses his offer and leaves; she also begs Binet for more time to pay her taxes, but is refused; at last she thinks of Rodolphe. When she arrives his home with the last hope, Rodolphe says he has no money after knowing that her purpose is not continue their love affair but borrowing money.

Emma comes back to Homais’s apothecary shop, where she knows the arsenic is kept. She eats a big handful of it and returns home, feeling at peace. Charles has learned about the auction and searches frantically for Emma. He finds her in bed, and she gives him a letter, ordering him not to open it until the next day. At first, Emma feels nothing and imagines that she will just fall asleep and die. But then she becomes violently ill, with a terrible pain in her stomach. Charles opens her letter and reads that she has poisoned herself. The worried husband sends for the famous doctor Larivière from Rouen, but there is nothing to be done. The priest arrives to give her the sacrament. The last sound she hears is that of the blind beggar singing underneath her window as she dies.

Charles is devastated by Emma’s death. He plans an extravagant funeral, asking Homais to cut away a lock of her hair, and Homais does so, leaving a bald patch in the midst of her hair. Rouault, having received news that his daughter was ill, arrives in Yonville and discovers that Emma is dead. He attends the funeral along with Charles and the whole town. Emma’s death does not stop demanding payment of money. Charles has no idea to raise such amount of money since no one is expected to help him. Charles lives alone with his wife’s memory, regardless of his maid’s leaving with stealing her hostess clothes; Homais’s less intimate. One day, Charles opens Emma’s desk and discovers her letters from Leon and Rodolphe. He is forced to confront the fact that Emma was unfaithful to him and his spirit is broken. One day, he goes to Rouen to sell his horse to raise more money, and he meets Rodolphe. They have a drink together. Rodolphe expresses feelings of guilt for his part in Charles’s ruin. Charles forgives him just blaming fate for Emma’s behavior. The next day, Charles dies in his garden. Everything he owned goes to the creditors, and Berthe, whose future has sink into dark, at last, has to work in a cotton mill.

2008年4月8日星期二

Summary Chapter 1-6 part 3

Although Leon has all but forgotten Emma during his time at law school, seeing her again has reawakened his old feelings for her, and he goes to see her in her hotel while Charles is gone the next day.Leon confesses his love and kisses Emma's back neck. Emma chuckles to herself but still refuse him. She feels guilt for his husband. Leon begs for another chance, and they agree to meet at the cathedral the next day. Emma then writes him a letter in which she explains that she cannot be his mistress. The next day, Emma still turns down his request but coming back Yonville late because of her hesitating.

When she returns home, she is called urgently to Homais’s pharmacy. Homais tells Emma that Charles’s father has died. Charles is in mourning, and his mother arrives for a long stay at their house in Yonville. On the other hand, Lheureux appears with another list of debts and encourages Emma to obtain power of attorney over Charles’s finances in order to settle the debts. Emma cannot be tolerant her clumsy husband and dull life. She thinks of Leon's love and gives an excuse to Charles so that she can go to Rouen to date Leon for three days.In Rouen, Emma and Leon enjoy a passionate three-day “honeymoon,” making love in their hotel room, taking a boat out to an island, and romancing under the moonlight. when she returns to Yonville, she makes arrangements for Leon to write to her .

Leon begins neglecting both on his work and his friends in Rouen after Emma coming back to Yonville.And Emma continues to sink deeper into debt to Lheureux and convinces Charles to let her take a weekly piano lesson in Rouen, secretly planning to see Leon on a regular basis.

Every thursday, Emma travels between Yonville and Rouen, sneaking to date Leon when she should have learned piano. Thier relationship grows more intense since the two begin to view one another as characters in a romantic novel. Emma is obsessed with her time with Leon, and with experiencing every kind of romantic pleasure. She also develops a familiar routine of going to visit him and returning in the carriage to Yonville. On the road between Rouen and Yonville, she periodically encounters a deformed, blind beggar who terrifies her with his lurid, horrible song. Meanwhile, Emma sells some of Charles’s father’s estate at a loss, and borrow more and more money.

One day when Emma is scheduled to be in Rouen, Homais pays Leon a visit that delay the time Leon see his mistress. Emma is left waiting in the hotel room and becomes hysterically angry.She returns home in a rage, beginning to convince herself that Leon is not the man she thought he was. Thier relationgship begins to break down. Although Emma writes him, she imagin to write to another perfect man who is created by her imagination. Emma lives a extravagant life what makes her borrow more and more money. One day,a debt collector surprises her with a visit, and the sheriff serves a legal notice against her. She ask Lheureux for a impermanency help, but it does not last for a long time. Once she came back from Rouen after the masquerade, a court order awaits her, demanding that she pay 8,000 francs or lose all her property. This time, no one come to help her, she sinks into despair.

2008年4月6日星期日

Emma....Leon....Charles....

Emma is nearly dead when she finds Rodolphe betraying her and leaving her without any hesitation. “They loved each other so much”, Emma once thought. They even have planned to elope. Now, Rodolphe writes a meaningless letter seems to comfort her and try to persuade her to abandon the plan. He is too selfish to understand the meaning of love. With such shock, Emma is gravely ill. After this failing affair, no matter what kind of woman she is, she should stay in her home, loving her husband and caring for her dear daughter.In fact, She has a religious epiphany to replaces her loneliness and sadness.

However, when she meets Leon, she falls in love with him again, forgetting the defection of Rodolphe, regardless of Charles care. She has lost herself in the happiness of those love affairs. She ignores her poor husband, who loves her very much. Charles borrows the money from Lheureux at very high interest in order to support this family. He cares about her nearly without sleeping when she is dying. He carries her to theater to make her happy, what is good for recovering. In spite of commonness, Charles is the best and most responsible husband not only for Emma, I think, but also for all women in that time. Emma sees his advantages as nothing, embracing other man without any guilt. Just several romantic words, Emma is willing to betray her husband again.

Does Leon love Emma? Not really. He regrets cowardice that say nothing when he leave the town to Paris. He learns the style of life in Paris. He can tell Emma his heart bravely now, but it is not just because he love her. Leon has all but forgotten Emma during his time at law school, seeing her again has reawakened his old feelings for her. He does not want to taste the feeling of regret, no matter whether he still loves her or not.

2008年4月3日星期四

Summary Chapter 10-15 Part 2

Emma and Rodolphe become more cautious, now meeting in the arbor in Emma’s garden rather than at Rodolphe’s house. Rodolphe quickly begins to tire of her; he finds her romantic idealism exhausting and loses interest in her. He continues the affair solely because of Emma’s beauty. A letter from her father prompts a memory of her innocent childhood days. Emma begins to feel guilty and tries to redeem herself through sacrifice. She becomes cold to Rodolphe in order to end the affair, and she tries to force herself to love Charles.

Because of Homais’s goading, Charles begins to research a surgical procedure that will cure clubfoot and experiment on Hippolyte, a clubfooted servant at the inn, under pressure from Emma (who hopes to help Charles’s career), Homais, and much of Yonville. The attempt makes Charles a local celebrity—but it fails. Emma judges Charles incompetent and feels disgusted by him. Although her affair with Rodolphe has slowed down considerably, she renews it now with even more passion than before.

Emma and Rodolphe’s affair begins where it left off. As Emma’s dissatisfaction with her marriage becomes even more pronounced, she begins to talk about leaving Charles. She plans to the route for fleeing with Rodolphe and means to take Berthe, her daughter, with her. The lovers finalize their plans. However, Rodolphe has decided not to elope with Emma. He writes a letter full of unction and has it delivered to Emma. After receiving the letter, Emma is nearly insane. When she sees Rodolphe’s carriage drive by on its way out of town, she knows all the love is a fake. She despairs and develops a high fever what remains close to death for the next month and a half. Charles cares for Emma nearly without sleeping. By October, however, Emma begins to recover her health.

Charles has a number of worries. Emma’s ill health terrifies him, and his financial situation is becoming increasingly dire. The doctors are very expensive, and when Lheureux presents him with a list of Emma’s debts, what he coaxes Emma into making extravagant and unwise purchases. Charles is forced to borrow the money from Lheureux at very high interest in order to pay them off. At this time, Emma concentrates all her mind on religion to replace the feeling for Rodolph, but soon tires of it. Many people comes to visits recovering Emma, includes Homais. He suggests Charles take Emma to the opera in Rouen.

At the opera, Emma finds herself again embarrassed by Charles’s unsophisticated behavior, but she is more enjoying the opera a great deal; it reminds her of the romantic novels of her youth and makes her think about events in her own life. At intermission, they meet Leon. Since Leon is fed up of the opera, they go out before ending and go to a café. Leon begins to ridicule the opera but when he learns that Emma might stay in Rouen in order to see the second half, he praises it rapturously. Charles agrees that Emma stay the next day to see the rest of the opera while he returns to Yonville.