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Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary Analysis

Literary Devices in Madame Bovary

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The more Emma transgresses, the more beautiful she grows – as though her body responds to the corruption of her soul. Emma’s beauty reaches its greatest height at the end of the novel,...

Setting

Unlike many of the other famous French novels of the nineteenth century that you might encounter (such as Victor Hugo’s Les Misérablesor Honoré de Balzac’s Père Goriot),...

Narrator Point of View

This sounds quite odd and complicated, and it kind of is. In the first chapter, we have a mysterious, nameless, faceless first person narrator (supposedly a former classmate of Charles Bovary) who...

Genre

Madame Bovary was actually a big turning point for Flaubert. You see, he, like Emma, really loved the lush beauty of Romanticism, and even wrote his fair share of romantic tales. Even after Madame...

Tone

"Intimate yet detached" sounds paradoxical, but it’s true. Flaubert’s novel manages somehow to be both intimate and detached from its main characters – as though it can peer insid...

Writing Style

Flaubert’s style in this book is an interesting mish-mash of different elements. He’s somehow able to combine straightforward, un-decorative irony with gorgeous, evocative description,...

What’s Up With the Title?

This is pretty straightforward: Madame Bovary is about Madame Bovary. The novel falls in the tradition of books named after their heroes (think David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Emma, Jane Eyre, etc...

What’s Up With the Epigraph?

[Dedication to Marie-Antoine-Jules Senard]Dear and illustrious friend, Allow me to inscribe your name at the head of this book and above its dedication, for it is to you, more than anyone else, tha...

What’s Up With the Ending?

The end of Madame Bovary is classic Flaubert. Seriously, the guy just loooved a good ironic twist. Then again, who doesn’t? Basically, the outlook is grim for basically all of the sympathetic...

Plot Analysis

Emma and Charles Bovary establish their married life We meet Charles, then Emma and, soon enough, we see them set up their first household in Tostes. Everything may seem peachy from the outside, bu...

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

Emma and Charles set up their married household, first in Tostes, then in Yonville.Things are nice and smooth on the surface of this marriage, but we can see that Emma’s frustrations are reac...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Part I: Flaubert has actually divided his novel into three appropriate sections for us. This first one ends as Emma’s depression and discontentment motivates the move from Tostes.Part II: Emm...

Trivia

A 2007 book, The Top Ten, compiled best book ever lists from 125 famous authors – when an ultimate top ten was constructed out of these lists, Madame Bovary came in second! (Source)

Steaminess Rating

Madame Bovary is about as sexy as it gets in the world of nineteenth century novels. We’re talking secret rendezvous in a moving cab, clandestine moonlit embraces, and – let’s cou...

Allusions

Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Paul et Virginie (I.6.1) Sir Walter Scott (I.6.6; Bride of Lammermoor, II.15.6)Eugène Sue (I.9.6)Honoré de Balzac (I.9.6)George Sand (I.9.6) Volta...
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