Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary" Book Review by aardvark

Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary"
A review of "Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert which highlights the emergence of feminism. Celebrating Gustave Flaubert's Famous Work Madame Bovary is one of the most important French novels of the 19th century. It is vastly regarded
# 107175 | 1,802 words | 1 source | APA | 2007 | US
Published on Aug 24, 2008 in Literature (French) , Women Studies (Feminism)

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The paper discusses the title character of Emma Bovary in "Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert. Emma is a dreamer with an unrealistic empassioned view on the world. The paper notes that the discrepancy between the world of beauty and the high society Emma longs for, and the reality of her middle-class country life, are the driving plot force in this novel. Emma is an example of early feminism. Most of the women of the nineteenth century were taught to obey their husbands and mind their homes. The paper comments that Madame Bovary rebels against societal norms, becoming an adulteress and squandering her husbands wealth behind his back. The paper notes that although this doesn't show her moral values in the best light, it does show that, in addition to personifying romanticism, Emma Bovary is also a strong female character and could possibly be considered one of the first feminists in literature.

From the Paper:

"The ball comes to signify the life Emma feels she was cheated out of. Emma sees the beautiful refinery at the ball and believes she was supposed to be one of these fine women. This makes her resent Charles because she feels he is a "nobody" and that no one at the ball notices him. What Emma fails to realize is that she, too, is not important to the people at the ball. Emma is asked to dance with an important man at the ball, and she takes this banal event, and almost construes it into a love affair. She later saves a cigar box as a memento of the ball, and even names her daughter after the ball. After noticing the grayness of her own middle-class life in comparison to that of the garish lifestyle enjoyed by those at the ball, Emma begins to borrow money from Lehreux, the local merchant. Emma spends the money on gaudy and expensive furnishings for her home. This again shows her unrealistic attitude towards her own life and her inability to accept her place in the middle class. It also shows her strength and independence ad a female character, gaining Charles' power of attorney so that she can continue to spend his money. During this same time period, Emma begins her fist encounter with Leon. As they are both cliched romantics, they talk about love, life, and books. Unfortunately, Leon leaves soon after and Emma feels that she was cheated out of something. Soon after, a man named Rodolphe comes to town. He begins to "court" Emma, and because Emma is so idealistically romantic, she does not see that he is scamming her and simply wants to use her. Emma finally feels the passion and romance she has been longing for for so long. The irony is, of course, that it is a facade much like Emma's notions of romanticism. Emma's romantic ideals are also what destroys this relationship - as she pushes for Rodolphe to run away with her, Rodolphe ends his relationship with Emma. Emma is devastated and thinks about killing herself. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary" (2008, August 24) Retrieved June 07, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary"" 24 August 2008. Web. 07 June. 2023. <>