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Topic: Idle Tittle-Tattle about Madame Bovary Inside

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Subject: Idle Tittle-Tattle about Madame Bovary Inside
Date Posted: 1/2/2011 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Any thoughts so far?  Share here. 

Be warned that you may encounter spoilers, so read at your own risk

 

I've read the first chapter. The writing is accessible. I wouldn't say beautiful just yet. Charles seems like a loser.

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/27/2008
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Even after 2 chapters, I think he seems like a loser.

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
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I'm at chapter IV and I am liking the story....so far.  I do believe Charles is somewhat pathetic, but I am also not impressed with Monsieur Rouault.  As of right now, I do not believe he cares about his own daughter, He is controlling and undermining and see the marriage between Emma and Charles as a business transaction. 

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 12:56 PM ET
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I need to catch up with you Lori. LOL.

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 3:54 PM ET
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I am halfway chapter 6 and I think the marriage was a business transaction for her father. But I also think that it was a business transaction for charles' mother too. The same as his first marriage. But iam I wrong in thinking that in both marriages there wasn't as much money to be made as the matchmakers (I.e., the parents) initially thought there would be?

But i think. Emma thought she would truly fall in love with Charles--that the beginning of feelings were there before the wedding. But it doesn't seem to take her long to determine she doesn't love him. But I get the feeling she is the kind of person who wants whats just out of her reach until she gets at and then she wants the next thing out of her reach. Charles was much more attractive married and unaccessible than he is now that she has him.
Date Posted: 1/2/2011 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
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It won't take you long, Tome! lol  I'm sure I will fall quickly behind the group.  cheeky

But I must say, I'm at part two and am not liking Emma.

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2009
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I've only completed part one, but I'm liking this one so far. I've never read anything of Flaubert's before, but, I'm finding (considering some of the other books I've read recently) that it is refreshing to have characters that seem so real, with real faults & etc...

I don't know if I'm reading it right, but with the exception of the elder Mr. Bovary, I find each of the characters sympathetic in their own ways. I especially feel for all of the Madame Bovarys. All of them seem(ed) to be trapped in their marriages, their lives. The first two seemed to try to grasp as much power as they could. Emma seems to have retreated into some kind of fantasy world.

And then there's Charles. I just think that he doesn't have a clue - everything is falling down around him and he has no idea.

Date Posted: 1/2/2011 10:48 PM ET
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After chapter 7 I feel like I get a little of where Emma is coming from. That isn't too say I won't change my mind later, but I can understand where she is right now. And I wonder, how someone who lived a sheltered life like she did before marriage is supposed to learn what love is really like. I like romance novels as much as anyone, but I know that real life isn't like that. But I know that from seeing life first hand. How was Emma to know that real love isn't always what you read?
Date Posted: 1/3/2011 7:52 PM ET
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All I can say is that I've had a crappy day and am ready to escape for awhile with Madame Bovary....no matter what I think of her. cheeky

Date Posted: 1/3/2011 8:10 PM ET
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LOL Lori. 

Date Posted: 1/3/2011 10:44 PM ET
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I read chapter eight and was struck by the last line "some details escaped her, but the regret remained with her.". I feel like this line says a lot abt Emma.
Date Posted: 1/4/2011 11:09 AM ET
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Shanan - I liked that line as well.  I found it to be very profound and explain her expectations do not live up to her fantasies. 

Emma fancies the picture perfect life with money and beautiful gowns, a gorgeous husband, perfect household, etc., but expects others to bring these things to her instead of working or finding it within. 

Charles is nothing less than a workaholic and is not intune to his family.  He still believes Emma is completely in love with him, as he is with she and does not catch on to her contempt for him.  It is interesting in Part II he becomes jealous of Monsiuer Leon about the attention he affords Emma, but does nothing about it.  This just wanted me to kick him in the derriere and tell him to get with the program.  Charles really gives a new meaning to "love is blind". 

Thank goodness Emma just likes the "idea" of being in love, instead of the act itself.

While I am not an Emma fan, there are parts of her that I feel sorry for.  Her isolation, abuse of her status by others and lack of support shows a very insecure woman.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 11:20 AM ET
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But I think Charles is also bound by the experience he has had and seen of love and relationships in his life.  His parents were obviously not models of a healthy marital relationship.  What if he thought that by giving her room (not abusing her as his father did his mother), he was expressing the best love he knew how to offer?

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Flaubert's writing.  

 

Earlier I posted that I had only read the first chapter and that I hadn't found any exceptional writing.  What I mean by that is when I read a book, I look out for details that stand out and create a movie in my head. I am looking for details, description, metaphors, clever word usage, anything that is artistic yet not purple prose. It's very difficult to find as it is to explain what I mean. It's better if I give examples.

I've read up to chapter 6 now and I can say that Flaubert had the gift for observing details and then putting them down in clear words and not in flowery prose. It makes my heart sing and my Kindle highlighter very busy.

This story is easy to visualize.

 

Some examples I had to highlight:

"Through the chinks of the wood the sun sent across the flooring long fine rays that were broken at the corners oft he furniture and trembled along the ceiling."

"Some flies on the table were crawling up the glasses that had been used, and buzzing as they drowned themselves in the dregs of the cider."

"The air coming in under the door blew a little dust over the flags; he watched it drift along, and heard nothing but the throbbing in his head and the faint clucking of a hen that had laid an egg in the yard."

and my favorite:

"A few, even , who had to get up before daybreak, and not been able to see to shave, had diagonal gashes under their noses or cuts the size of a three-franc piece along the jaws, which fresh air en route had enflamed, so that the great white beaming faces were mottled here and there with red dabs."

 

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 1/4/11 1:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/4/2011 1:26 PM ET
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 it doesn't seem to take her long to determine she doesn't love him

 

I know! That was quick. She seems flighty. I also though I spotted a foreshadow.    "...of her bridal flowers packed up in a bandbox , and wondered, dreaming, what would be done with them if she were to die."  

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
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I agree with you Shanan in that Charles did not grow up with a model for healthy relationships.  It is possible that he believes he is doing right by Emma by letting her have freedoms his mother was not afforded.  But could it be possible their relationship is as unhealthy as his parents, minus the abuse and infidelity (up to now)?  I can't remember who asked Emma if Charles knew of her depression, but  she said no and would not tell him.  Emma chose to go to other sources than her husband for assistance. 

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 9:24 PM ET
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TomeTrader--I agree.  The author is very skilled at painting a good picture without a lot of extra words and prose.  His writing is easy to read and very accessible. 

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 9:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2010
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I agree that their relationship is as unhealthy as his parents, but in a different way.  I think though that sometimes it seems that the blame for that is put primarily on Emma's shoulders, but I feel like it really is both of them.  There are quite a few times where I think that small changes on his part could have made a difference.  But then I also look at how quickly she decided she couldn't really love him and wonder would it have mattered?  It seemed to me that she gave up almost as soon as he had to remove his late wife's flowers from the room.

Date Posted: 1/4/2011 11:43 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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Oh, all right, some of 'Emma's problem' is her own character weakness.........but the girl gets some sympathy from me because of how she was sent off to a convent for 'female education' and it sounds just like the polite crap a wealthy or doting father would think suitable for his daughter (kind of an earlier century's version of "finishing school").   Tapestry weaving, piano playing, etc.  are so practical for a bourgeois farmer's daughter, ain't they?  Flaubert also tells us how, cooped up there with those Ursuline nuns, Emma read Paul et Virginie, a 1788 romance by Bernardin de St. Pierre.  It's kind of a French version of that teen-age romance, Romeo and Juliet, and it ends just as tragically.  Soppy stuff.

Second, female children were still kinda second best, in those days,  Plus, a father was obliged to provide a daughter with a dowry,  Everyone who was anyone had domestic servants, and what does that leave a wife of a country doctor, "away out to plowed ground",  to do to fill the hours, day after day?  No book group, no gym, no shopping, no theater, no nuthin.    BO-RING, as my grandkids would put it. 

The whole first part  of the book, up to and including the wedding, made me remember one of my first newspaper jobs, that of Society and Women's Page Editor on a Southern daily newspaper.   I 'wrote up' the weddings of all those little "Emmas", and it made me blue to see how they would blow a bundle on all that la-di-dah of "the Big Day."    I tried to not think about how their lives would pan out, subsequently.

Lastly, the deep hunger for Love, Beauty, and Romance that drives so many women to read "romance novels"------don't anybody sneer at  that, because emotions are not something to laugh at . . . . .

 



Last Edited on: 1/4/11 11:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/5/2011 2:26 PM ET
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I didn't get to read any  last night and can truly say I missed Emma.

I was reading over the postings and am enjoying everyone's take on the book.  I read typing errors on my part, which made sentences mean something different than I meant, but what is said is said.  It was never meant that I think romanticism or love is a bad thing.  Its not.  My thoughts on Emma is she really doesn't give love a chance because she doesn't allow herself to.

Tome - I liked that line about the men shaving and missing spots because it was too dark to see.  I could see their cheeks all read with tufts of hair here and there on their faces.  Could smell the cold that was pouring off of people.

I guess that is one things I like about Madame Bovary. Flaubert puts me there; I am part of the book. 

Date Posted: 1/5/2011 9:43 PM ET
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Finished part one. I have to say I lost a lot of sympathy for Emma. She made herself miserable by refusing to do anything that had or could have brought her pleasure. Really she had read everything? Music is only worthwhile if you can play a concert? As I was reading, I wanted to scream "find a hobby!!!". Ok my mild rant is over. ;-)
Subject: Information of Flaubert that explains his descriptive talent
Date Posted: 1/6/2011 6:39 PM ET
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From Sparknotes:

Flaubert is often considered a realist writer. Realists challenged their romantic predecessors by writing books that focused on the details of everyday life without turning a blind eye to their dreary aspects. Flaubert participates in this movement by describing his characters’ emotions, actions, and settings vividly and without romantic or fantastic embellishment.

 

Okay, this explains all the details. I guess I like realist writers.

 

Date Posted: 1/6/2011 6:43 PM ET
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and some more interesting bio on Flaubert's writing. I am ignoring the more salacious side of his bio for now

 

That beautiful yet un-purple prose I mentioned earlier? It didn't come quick or easy. 

 

Flaubert was fastidious in his devotion to finding the right word ("le mot juste"), and his mode of composition reflected that. He worked in sullen solitude—sometimes occupying a week in the completion of one page—never satisfied with what he had composed, violently tormenting his brain for the best turn of phrase, the final adjective. His private letters indeed show that he was not one of those to whom correct, flowing language came naturally. His style was achieved through the unceasing sweat of his brow. Flaubert’s just reward, then, is that many critics consider his best works to be exemplary models of style.



Last Edited on: 1/6/11 6:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/6/2011 6:53 PM ET
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I am with you TomeTrader--I must like realistic writers as well.  I feel this book is much more accessible than I thought it would be.

Subject: re Flaubert's references
Date Posted: 1/7/2011 4:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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About that reference to Paul and Virginia in Chapter VI: " Paul is the illegimate child of Margaret, who has retired to Port Louis in the Mauritius to bury herself.  He grows up as the playmate of Virginia, the daughter of a French widow, Madame de la Tour, and as they grow in years, their fondness for each other grows into love.  When Virginia is fifteen, her mother's aunt adopts her and begs that she be sent to France to finish her education.  She is two years in France.  As she refuses to marry according to her aunt's wishes, she is disinherited and sent back to her mother.  Within a cable's length of the island, a hurricane dashes the ship to pieces, and the dead body of Virginia is thrown upon the shore.  Paul is prostrate with grief, and within two months follows her to the grave."

Cheery stuff our little 'drama queen' Emma was reading, hunh?
 

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