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Effect Of Societal Views On Emma In Madame Bovary Eng3 Ue Colonel By S.S. Essay

1429 words - 6 pages

Effect of Societal Views on Emma in Madame Bovary
Word Count: 1376
Yousuf Ansari
Colonel By Secondary School
World Literature Assignment
IB Number:
Teacher: Ms. Waddell
February 11, 2019
Ansari, Yousuf 1
In France during the mid 19th century, society was built of very specific norms which the
majority of people followed. In ​Madame Bovary​ by Gustave Flaubert, the main character,
Emma’s beliefs and actions are strongly influenced by the societal views of love and
relationships in the setting of 1850s France. The specific views of society pertaining to love
which have an effect on Emma’s character are: the society’s thoughts on the purpose of
marriage, the role of women in a relationship and the religious standpoint of marriage.
Firstly, throughout the novel, it is shown that the purpose of love and marriage according
to the society differs significantly from the purpose of love according to Emma. This difference
makes Emma a lot more secretive with her thoughts and actions, not wanting to be out of the
norm or to displease anyone. The first instance where Flaubert shows the effect this has on
Emma occurs near the beginning when she is set to marry Charles after the approval of her
father. During the setting of 1850s France, marriage was seen to be something very superficial
intended to benefit both parties, for example with Charles and Heloise’s relationship it was
arranged and money-based. We find out very quickly that Emma has a very unrealistic view of
love and marriage, she looked at it as something very romantic and perfect. For her wedding,
Emma “yearned to be married by midnight, by torchlight; but Pere Rouault wouldn’t hear of it.
So there was a wedding feast, with forty-three guests.” (Flaubert, 24) This quote goes to show
that weddings in this setting were not exactly all that romantic in contradiction to Emma’s views
on marriage, not wanting to displease anyone she keeps these thoughts to herself. Secondly,
during this time in France, the main point of marriage was to help each other by sharing
responsibilities and between the two partners and communication was not anything too important
in marriage, this can be seen with Charles and Emma early on, who don’t really have a real
Ansari, Yousuf 2
connection. We learn early on that Charles pays no attention to her words, instead, he only loves
her for her beauty, Flaubert writes, “The night on his way home, Charles went one by one
through the things she had said, trying to remember them, to complete their meaning, so as to
grasp something of her life before he had known her.” (22) This lack of communication
eventually leads Emma into unethical actions such as adultery. When the character of Leon is
introduced to Emma it is shown that they have very similar romantic views on love and similar
aspirations in life. The communication and connection which Leon and Emma from causes her to
fall in love with him and cheat on her husband without expressing her issues first. The purpose
of love...

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