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Topic: Madame Bovary book club

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Subject: Madame Bovary book club
Date Posted: 9/5/2008 5:29 AM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2008
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Hey is anyone interested in doing a Madame Bovary book club? I am about to start the book today and I thought it would be fun to do something like this. I must say i've never done a book club so I'm not really sure what to expect but I saw the movie the Jane Austen Book Club and saw how much fun they had talking about books and I don't have anyone to talk about what i'm reading. My husband only likes finance and spirituality books so he usually tunes me out if I try. If interested pm me....hope to find some people:-)
Date Posted: 9/10/2008 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2008
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Well i've been looking up questions for Madame Bovary and so far they all just relate to the theme, setting, title, those sorts of things. And since I haven't gotten very far in the book I'm not quite sure what to ask really. Actually to tell you the truth I don't even know much right now about what the book is about other than I think she has an affair or something along those lines. I've only read up to the part where Emma is starting to question herself for getting married to Charles. It seems as if she is extremely lonely and not only that but she married a "homebody." I can relate to that because I like going out and doing things and always staying busy whereas my husband would prefer to sleep all day or lay on the couch doing nothing and I hate it if I just sit at home all day. So far I felt really connected with Emma in that way because I can see how she is getting bored. (Please don't get me wrong I love my husband:-) I just hate being at home) I also think so far Charles is naive but seems like a general overall nice guy. He seems to really care for everyone including his first wife even though she was extremely jealous. I can't wait to find out more about this story and learn more of the characters.
Subject: Madame Bovary book discussion
Date Posted: 9/12/2008 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 5/11/2007
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I was just surprised you ddn't get any responses fro this. it sounds likes good idea. Are there other book discussions here? I should join you i'm just not in the mood for Madame bovary right now. Try posting again I think you'll get some responses. Kepe trying just post the same post. Good luck
Date Posted: 9/12/2008 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Hi Hayley,

I PM'd you some questions. They seemed more discussion oriented than a lot of the in depth analyses of the book.

My book has some of the history of the writing of Madame Bovary, Flaubert, and the scandal it caused. Flaubert was prosecuted by the French government for immoral work for writing Madame Bovary. He was narrowly acquitted and dedicated the book to his lawyer. Baudelaire, a contemporary of Flaubert, wasn't so lucky . . .

 

Date Posted: 9/12/2008 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
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Hi guys! so I finally located my copy...and unfortunately mine didn't have anything but the novel in it. I was hoping it would have reading questions for us in the back. Sheila - that's interesting about Flaubert. Hmm. I'm going to have to look him up. I haven't read very far yet. I just got to the point where he marries Emma. I wonder if she married him and was willing to marry him because of lack of other options. She had just returned from a convent and I doubt she would have met very many men at the farm. I bet Charles looked exciting and new when she met him. as well as being a doctor, I imagine he would be attractive to a young impressionable girl. I did notice the mention that she wanted to have a midnight wedding with torches. I think this gives us an early preview of what Emma will be like as a person. She seems to want drama and excitement early on. This already spells trouble for the quiet loving doctor. He had a wife previously who was demanding and constantly wanting more love and affection. Emma seems like she will be the same way.
Date Posted: 9/12/2008 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
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Oh and in response to Brian - perhaps we can try another book after this. Maybe we will need to "advertise" on the hidden gems board or something though because I think this thread gets less traffic than others. there have also been threads over there with people wanting to get into classics. What do you think? And Brian - since you brought it up...any suggestions for the next book? - Maybe we can all PM eachother and discuss? is there a way to get everyone on the same PM?
Date Posted: 9/16/2008 9:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I'm at the part where Emma and Charles have just moved to Yonville-l'Abbaye.

One thing I've noticed about Emma - she is the type of person who expects someone else to make her happy (and she isn't giving him many clues on how to do this). Also, she doesn't have any friends - no wonder she is miserable. I know it is part of the era but it irritates me a little that she doesn't take any responsibility for her own happiness.

Hannah - I agree with what you said about Emma wanting drama and excitement. She loved the ball at the Marquis's home and was so sad that they were not invited back.

Date Posted: 9/17/2008 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
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I am really interested in participating in another one, but not Madame Bovary.

Date Posted: 9/18/2008 8:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I believe anyone can start a book discussion :-)

Just post the name of the book you are interested in discussing and ask if anyone would like to participate. Then set a schedule for discussing the book. Check out the Historical Fiction section - they have an active monthly book discussion.

 

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 5:23 AM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2008
Posts: 127
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Hannah and Sheila I agree with both of you that Emma married Charles for lack of options. Considering the era the book is set in she most likely would not have met very many suitors and she thought Charles would be more exciting. It is her own fault for her unhappiness...she seems to expect her life to be full of adventure and excitement like those she reads about in her books. Unfortunetly for her Charles has not turned out to be the man that she had expected and is blaming him for all her doubts. I think Emma is expecting too much from Charles especially when she won't talk to him about why she is so unhappy and this poor man has moved for her and thinks he makes her happy when really he's the reason shes not. I'm on page 100 and it's about where Emma realizes she loves Leon but can't have him. At the end of my book it does have the "Trial of Madame Bovary" which I will read once i'm done with the book. We should pick out another book for next time also:)
Date Posted: 9/19/2008 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Hayley, I just read your home page . . . you are in Germany! That is one country on my list to visit when my husband and I return to Europe (probably not until the kids are older).

I am just a little further in the book than you are. I'm not working today so after I get a start on the housecleaning and laundry (I need Emma's Felicite!) I should have time to read a chapter or two.

I agree that Emma is expecting too much from Charles. Emma also does not seem to care much for her child, Berthe. I have trouble identifying with this characteristic of Emma's. I adore my children and love them more than I ever dreamed I would (didn't know I would be highly maternal until after I had children . . .).

I am at the part where Rodolphe Boulanger has met Charles and Emma. He has sized up Emma (her feelings and situation) and determined his plan of attack. The cad!

 

Date Posted: 9/20/2008 4:14 AM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2008
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I can't understand Emma on that aspect either! I never really wanted children until I was older maybe in my 30's but once my son came I am sooo in love with him I can't understand how Berthe goes to a wet nurse away from her mother and Emma doesn't seem to mind. I'm hoping to read some more tonight:)
Date Posted: 9/20/2008 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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These posts are very interesting to read . . . .it makes me wonder if the participants couldn't pick a day or night after all have finished reading the novel, and use one of PBS's chatrooms?  Remember the time zone differences, though, since at least one participant is in Europe, correct?

Date Posted: 9/21/2008 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
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Emma is definitely an interesting character to try and understand! I will say though that I feel a little sorry for her in the beginning because she was clearly inexperienced and didn't know what she was agreeing to when she married Charles. But Ioved reading the section on the ball...it was so vivd and wonderfully written. I felt like I was there! Everything in this book is described so well...it's is if I'm there seeing all this like a fly on the wall. OH! and I can't believe she burned her wedding bouquet! That clearly shows how she views her marriage...I didn't feel as sorry for her after I read that.
Date Posted: 9/21/2008 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I finished the book tonight. The second half went much faster for me than the first half.

Hannah - I agree that Flaubert's descriptions are superb.

Emma's desire for drama and excitement continues throughout the novel.

I will say more when we have all finished the novel :-)

Date Posted: 9/28/2008 2:48 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
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So I read a little bit more last night. Emma's attitude toward her husband is really something else! I've just gotten to the part where she is being the model wife and pretending as if she's happy and content but inside she is hating her husband and her life. I kinda feel sorry for her at this point seeing as how she's so miserable. It's strange to think that she is hiding it so well from her husband, or possibly he is choosing not to see. Still I'm loving the way this is unfolding. I'm going to read more tonight. Hopefully i'll be done this week :)
Date Posted: 9/30/2008 9:00 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Emma is immature IMHO. Never happy with what she has; always wanting something else (different clothes, different husband, etc). The one I sympathesize with is Charles. She seems to expect a perfect spouse and honestly, no one is perfect. Everyone has faults. Looking back, she seemed attracted to him during their courtship - she was not repelled by him. Do you remember how old she was when they married? I believe she was quite young.

Date Posted: 9/30/2008 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
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I believe she was about 16 when they married. I could be wrong. but that's the impression I got. She is very young when she has her daughter...much younger than Charles.
Date Posted: 10/11/2008 2:34 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
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It would appear that we lost steam on this one. :( Did everyone finish it? I haven't quite (<--insert my "guilty" face here).

Date Posted: 10/14/2008 2:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2008
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Yeah I was finally able to finish the book on Sunday:) I was beginning to think I never would! I definetly enjoyed the 2nd half off the book so much more than the first half. I won't say to much about the ending because I know Hannah hasn't finished reading but i'm not sure where everyone else is at. I have to say that I feel so bad for Charles. He really did nothing wrong except try and give Emma a normal enough life which was never enough for her. Although I feel Emma was pretty naive when they first got married I don't feel sorry for her. Seemed to me that any man would grow boring to her as Leon had. The point of getting to comfortable with someone seemed to scare her. I think Emma just liked relationships when they were new and there is all the excitement with first kisses, etc. But what I can't figure otu from the story is how Charles never noticed how much Emma was spending! For them to get so far into debt and he never questioned her about all the new purchases. Probablly out of fear of losing her he didn't question her much. The ending was sad for me. I felt bad for Charles and especially their daughter. I really enjoyed this book even though at parts I didn't think I wanted to read anymore:)
Date Posted: 10/14/2008 8:29 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
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I had the same reaction Hayley, the second half was much more interesting than the first half. A lot more happened too! I sympathized with Charles as well. Emma became so self-centered it was hard for me to sympathize with her. I believe Emma did "hide" some purchases from him, especially those for her lovers. And, she used her delicate health to her advantage so that Charles complied with most of her desires. The poor guy was completely besotted with her!

Do you think she chose a particularly painful and drawn out death to atone for her sins or did she just choose what was at hand? It was a bit of an impulsive act. And, she may not have realized how long it would take to die. Other methods would have been quicker and less painful.

Date Posted: 10/16/2008 2:01 AM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2008
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Hey Sheila the impression that I got from Emmas death was that she was in such a hurry to grab something from the cabinet also before Justin could stop her that she really didn't know what she was grabbing. I believe Emma thought the poison was going to work faster and less painful than what actually happened. I could be wrong. I think Emma was so selfish throughout the whole book that she wasn't to worried about her sins. Just the way it came off to me. :)
Date Posted: 10/21/2008 12:42 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2008
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I agree with Sheerbliss.

Emma strikes me as ignorant... in the way a child would be, she's perpetually an impulsive, deeply selfish adolescent.

I read this book about 4 years ago and forgot the details, but I get the impression that perhaps she didn't even intend to die, maybe she was just trying to cause some drama so they would take pity on her, thinking maybe that would redeem her from her debts and whatnot.

Or she was just looking for the easy way out. I think she's fascinating, but I have a hard time sympathizing with her.