Madame Bovary is a realistic novel criticizing romanticism written by Gustave Flaubert in 1856. This version was translated by Mildred Marmer. It is set in 1898 Normandy, France. It is about a provincial life of a middle-class woman named Emma. She wishes for a perfect life, but never achieves it. This novel was challenged in the court for being controversial, as this is anti-feminist. This portrays that an educated female is bad for society because she would read this novel and act like the protagonist. This novel would likely be protested by modern-day feminists.The novel that is about the rustic life of Emma Bovary. She is a bourgeois woman. She hopes for a better life, but her hopes do not become a reality.
The narrator shows Emma Bovary a dual character. She has a grotesque inner soul and a beautiful outer self. Her inner grotesqueness throughout the novel was mimicked by the blind beggar, who frequently reminds the reader of Emma’s soul.Emma’s inner soul is corrupted and grotesque. She has no feeling of family or loyalty. Her inner soul could be a foil to her outer beauty and a parallel to the blind beggar. This next quote is when Emma got the news that she was going to have a girl. She wanted a boy so he avenges Emma. Because in the French society women were held back and it is evident when she states that, “She hoped for a son; he would be strong and dark and she would call him Georges…Her will, like the veil of her hat that is tied by a ribbon, reacts to every wind.”(Madame Bovary, II,3)
The Narrator here writes in an immensely connotative style, due to the usage of the words like “strong and dark”. The narrator is appealing to the sense of sight of the reader, as expected boy of Emma is strong and is dark. He uses florid and metaphoric language, comparing her will to the veil of her hat, to establish the motif of male dominating the female and the overlining themes of the unpowered female. There is a hopeful tone created passage and then later an unsatisfied tone, due to the information provided above. Emma must have to have understood the French society, as she knows men stand higher than women in this society and that is the reason she is wishing for a boy. The reader will later read that Emma was sad because she wanted a son, and she got a daughter. This also connects to the grotesque self-centric aspect of Emma. This next passage is when Emma was trying to be religious. She had bought all the god related things. In this specific passage, she is angry, as her wishes have not been fulfilled, while she states that, “The pieces of furniture seemed even more fixed in their place…
Emma felt vaguely surprised that there could be such outward calm while there was so much turmoil within her.”(Madame Bovary, II,6) In the passage, the narrator uses highly connotative style, because he uses words like “so much” and “vaguely”. The narrator is appealing to the reader’s sense of sight, as he is talking about the still furniture. He uses extravagant and rhetorical language, as the narrator is talking about the furniture being still, but the furniture is always still. Due to this, a motif of the difference between Emma and the outside world is established, which then creates the tone of fantasy and disappointment.Emma has a god-like outer beauty. This is a foil the blind beggar and her inner soul. This next passage is when Emma has just reached her new home. She is very excited and happy. Her thoughts were positive, and that reflected on her clothes; when the narrator states that, “She would wear a dressing gown, entirely open…Her belt was a large-tasseled rope, and her tiny garnet-colored slippers had a cluster of wide ribbons that spilled all over the instep.”(Madame .,Bovary, I, 9) In the passage, The narrator writes in a highly connotative style, as he uses words like “extremely”. Due to diction, the reader’s sense of touch is provoked, as the reader can imagine a beautiful women in beautiful clothes. The narrator uses highly rhetorical and exaggerated language, by using words like “spilled all over the instep”, as nothing can be all over the instep. Due to this, the motif beauty is set throughout the passage; which then leads to create a positive and hopeful tone.
The reader understands that Emma is a woman of class; she cares about her outer appearance. This could stand as a direct foil to her grotesque soul as she only cares about her own feelings. The next passage is when Emma and Justin are together, and she asks him if she could enter the pharmacy to eat arsenic to commit suicide. Her appearance gives her the power to persuade Justin to let her in, and she eats arsenic and later dies, the reader can understand that when the narrator states that “She seemed extraordinarily beautiful to him, with a ghostly majesty. Without understanding what she wanted, he had a premonition of something terrible.”(Madame Bovary, III, 8) In the passage above, the narrator is majorly in connotative style, due to the usage of words like “extraordinary”, and that diction appeals to the reader’s sense of sight, as one can imagine a beautiful woman standing in front of a junior pharmacist and asking him to let her inside: so she could kill herself. The narrator then states that “premonition of something terrible”, this is foreshadowing the death of Emma, by using ornate language, and due to this, the motif beauty and the death of Emma are established. And, this creates a fascinating and a negative tone. The reader would interpret that Justin likes Emma and thinks that she is beautiful; even though he thinks something might go wrong, but he still gives in to Emma’s beauty and gives her the keys to the arsenic drawer, which later leads to Emma’s death.The image of the blind beggar is grotesque. This is a foil to her outer beauty and mimics her inner self. The image of the blind beggar worsens with Emma’s inner soul.
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This next passage is the time when Emma was with Homais and Hivert. While they were returning back to their home. Emma only has five-franc and is in debt, and spends all of that money throwing at a beggar; while the narrator states that, “Emma, filled with disgust, threw him a five-franc piece over her shoulder. It represented her entire fortune. She thought it was a beautiful gesture to squander it like this. ”(Madame Bovary, III, 7) In the passage above, the narrator writes in a formal connotative style, due to the uses of the words like “entire fortune”. This appeals to the reader’s sense of sight, as the reader can imagine an image of Emma throwing money at the beggar, even though it was all of the money she owned. The narrator uses florid language and foreshadowing; as he is stating that her beautiful gestures are what will doom Emma, and her finishing all her money could also mean that her life was coming to an end, as when death approaches, people try to use the money they have saved.
The reader understands that the beggar is grotesque, the reader also gets to know Emma a little better, as she throws away the last of her money, by just giving it to a beggar, this shows the egotistical nature of Emma, who does not value money. This next passage is when Emma was dying; when the blind beggar starts to sing towards the end of the novel, and as his song ends, so does Emma’s life, and before dying Emma started laughing as the narrator states that “And Emma began to laugh, an atrocious, frantic, desperate laugh, thinking she saw the hideous face of the poor wretch loom out of the eternal darkness like a menace.” In the passage above, the narrator writes in a prominently connotative style; due to the usage of words like “hideous”. Due to diction, it is appealing to the reader’s sense of sight, as the reader can imagine a grotesque blind man singing to a beautiful person. His use of magnificent and rhetorical language, due to the usage of words like “atrocious” and “poor wretch loom”; helps establish the irony and the truth about the beggar. Due to this, a grotesque and a sad tone is created. This song plays an important role in the book as this song is a metaphor for the life of Emma Bovary. It is sung while Emma is on her deathbed and finished at her death. This shows the reader that this song was about her life. The beggar was a reflection of her life.
The beauty of Emma’s outer appearance and grotesqueness of her inner self and the blind beggar indicates to the reader that one’s inner soul is not always the same as the outer appearance. Therefore, one can not judge a person from only the outer appearance.