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Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert

Dissatisfaction Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

Léon was tired of loving without having anything to show for it; and then he was beginning to feel that dejection which comes from a routine life when there is no interest to guide it or hope to sustain it. He was so bored with Yonville that the sight of certain people and certain houses irritated him almost to the breaking point; and the pharmacist, good-natured though he might be, was becoming completely unbearable to him. And yet the prospect of a new situation frightened him as much as it delighted him. (II.6.34)

Emma’s not the only dissatisfied one in this book. Dissatisfaction, it seems, not so terribly uncommon in small-town life. Léon, who is, like Emma, young, romantic, and a little foolish, has the same longing for something new, but is afraid to go out and get it.

Quote #5

What happiness there had been in those days! What freedom! What hope! What an abundance of illusions! She had none left now. Each new venture had cost her some of them, each of her successive conditions: as virgin, wife and mistress; she had lost them all along the course of her life, like a traveler who leaves some of his wealth at every inn along the road. (II.10.35)

Again, Emma finds herself at a crossroads. She’s lost the optimism of her early youth, and now just feels a dull resignation.

Quote #6

This was how they wished they had been: each was creating an ideal into which he was now fitting his past life. Speech is a rolling mill which always stretches out the feelings that go into it. (III.1.15)

Upon their reunion, Emma and Léon both try to create new versions of the past few years, narrating things the way they want to see them, rather than how they really happened.

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