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Thread: Madame Bovary

  1. #1
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    Madame Bovary

    Do you think Gustave Flaubert made a good choice by deciding that Emma Bovary must die?
    Sabahlar hayr olsun!

  2. #2
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Yes. How else could you end the novel? Have her run away and leave her husband? And then what?
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by simona
    Do you think Gustave Flaubert made a good choice by deciding that Emma Bovary must die?
    That book was the biggest literary disappointment of my life, but not because Emma killed herself at the end. Supposedly the best European novel of the 19th century, it was nothing but a soap opera to me.

    As for Emma, she was a selfish unfaithful wife married to a mediocre but good man who made the mistake of loving her. Emma deserved the poison she took IMO.

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    No, this wasn't the end I was thinking about.
    I thought that death comes like a reward after what the main characters learn something from life, just like Marguerite Gautier(from La dame aux camellias) who died after what descovered love.
    Emma did not descovered love and she didn't felt sorry for what she has done.She died because she found no other way to exist.I think she had no strenght.
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    Quote Originally Posted by simona
    No, this wasn't the end I was thinking about.
    I thought that death comes like a reward after what the main characters learn something from life, just like Marguerite Gautier(from La dame aux camellias) who died after what descovered love.
    Emma did not descovered love and she didn't felt sorry for what she has done.She died because she found no other way to exist.I think she had no strenght.
    the message is for virgil
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    for starrwritererhaps you are right and it was a soap opera.
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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simona
    the message is for virgil

    It's been a number of years since I last read it, but from what I remember she died because she could not excape the circumstances of her life and she felt that this was the Romantic thing to do. She thought this what heroic heroines do. I could be wrong.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil
    ...from what I remember she [Emma} died because she could not excape the circumstances of her life and she felt that this was the Romantic thing to do. She thought this what heroic heroines do.
    Undoubtedly, that was the impression Flaubert intended to leave, but gag me with a spoon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil
    It's been a number of years since I last read it, but from what I remember she died because she could not excape the circumstances of her life and she felt that this was the Romantic thing to do. She thought this what heroic heroines do. I could be wrong.
    I agree that "she died because she could not escape the circumstances of her life" but I don't think "she felt that this was the Romantic thing to do".It's true she tried to be romantic in a society that did not really care about romanticism and she would have continued to do this if she wouldn't have felt that she has no escape and she has done everything wrong.
    Sabahlar hayr olsun!

  10. #10
    Sorry if it's news to you but we all have to die eventually.

    Here are some comments from Flaubert that might give you some idea of the world he saw:

    "To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost."

    "The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois."

    "Language is like a crack'd kettle on which we beat out tunes to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity." (Madame Bovary)

    "The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy."

    Julian Barnes, I think, quotes a possibly apocryphal comment by Flaubert about rail travel that could apply to this forum and the Internet in general:

    "What does it do other than bring more people together more quickly so that they can be stupid together?"

    If he did say this (and there is plenty of evidence that he did comment adversely on the consequences of this new technology), then it was a remarkable insight. He said it at the inception of mass rail travel, without the benefit of hindsight.

    He also said, "By dint of railing at idiots, one runs the risk of becoming idiotic oneself" so I have to be careful. Best of all, though is a comment that was certainly his:

    "Never have things of the spirit counted for so little. Never has hatred for everything great been so manifest - disdain for Beauty, execration of literature. I have always tried to live in an ivory tower, but a tide of sh1t is beating at its walls, threatening to undermine it."

  11. #11
    ellen c
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    Madame Bovary

    a long time since I last read it but she has always remained for me the most selfish, self-centred heroine I encountered - she deserved the death she got
    My sympathies went to her poor unfortunate child!

  12. #12
    tea-timing book queen bouquin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Yes. How else could you end the novel? Have her run away and leave her husband? And then what?

    Something more like in Lady Chatterley's Lover perhaps? Which of the 2 endings do you prefer?

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    Inderjit Sanghera
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    a long time since I last read it but she has always remained for me the most selfish, self-centred heroine I encountered - she deserved the death she got
    I think this a simplistic reading of what is, for its time at least, psychologically interesting and penetrating novel-Flaubert and Dostoevskii were, in their own ways the most psychologically astute writers of the 19th century.

    Some of Emma's action may be construed as being "selfish" or "self-centred", but you must remember that she married Charles out of circumstance, she had little choice in the matter and she (somewhat understandbly) found him boring-he, of course, idolized and idealized her, which made the whole situation even worse-she was partly looking for excitement, but she was also look (mainly) for love. It was a shame that she flunked it all up so badly!

    Flaubert was merely commenting on the tedious nature of marriage (at least from a woman’s point of view) and the mendacity inherent in most 'bourgeoisie' marriages in France at the time. Flaubert was, after all, very anti-middle class, many French authors, such as Celine, also share this anti-middle class tendency. It certainly required a great amount of empathy on Flaubert's part to so accurately describe the downside of marriage from a womans point of view!

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    yes, the best thing Gustave did...

  15. #15
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    I don't think the novel could have really ended any other way; Emma as a character reminded me very much of Hardy's Eustacia Vye in that suicide seemed to be the inevitable conclusion to her tempestuous emotions and existence. I felt a lot of empathy for her character despite her behaviour, and it's my feeling that she didn't so much 'deserve' her death as desire it, the only real way of ending what she saw to be her sufferings.
    "Haunt me, take any form. Only, do not leave me in this abyss where I cannot find you."

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