by Gustave Flaubert
Madame Bovary Foolishness and Folly Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Lowell Bair's translation.
The sheets of the bed were sprinkled with holy water; the priest took the white Eucharistic host from the sacred pyx; and she was overcome with celestial bliss as she advanced her lips to receive the body of the Saviour […] She let her head fall back, thinking she heard the music of angelic harps coming to her through boundless space: and on a golden throne in an azure sky, amid saints holding green palm branches, God the Father appeared in all His majesty, motioning angels with wings of flame to descend to earth and bring her back in their arms. (II.14.5)
Now, don’t get us wrong – there’s absolutely nothing foolish about religion when people actually believe in it. Here, though, there’s no real belief. Emma falls under the spell of a melodramatic, romanticized version of Catholicism, that she mostly constructs out of her own imagination, just like she did with her love for Léon or for Rodolphe.
Lying became a need, a mania, a pleasure; so much so that if she said she had walked down the right side of a street the day before, it was almost certain that she had walked down the left. (III.5.56)
Emma knows just how dangerous her situation is, but she’s addicted to lying – it’s become second nature to her.
Emma became a little confused in her calculations, and her ears were ringing as though gold coins were bursting open their bags and raining down on the floor all around her. (III.5.74)
Emma is not exactly the world’s best accountant – instead of figuring out the financial mess she’s created for herself, she just gets confused and bogged down by all the numbers, which, trust us, is not the right response.