Character Role Analysis
Madame Homais is everything Emma is not – she devotes her whole life to her brood of oddly-named children, to her husband, and to his career. She’s a character who’s practically not even her own person; we don’t know anything about her personal desires, likes, or dislikes (except for the fact that she loves the rolls Monsieur Homais brings back from the bakery in Rouen). She takes all her cues from her husband, and thus is perfectly suited to being the wife of such an ambitious and forceful man. The constant presence of Madame Homais right next door highlights Emma’s own forceful disposition, and the power of her desires over her familial and social obligations.