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Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary


by Gustave Flaubert

Monsieur Homais Timeline and Summary

  • Homais greets Emma and Charles as they arrive in Yonville. He’s determined to keep Charles on his side, since he’s been threatened with legal action after being caught practicing medicine illegally.
  • Homais becomes the young couples’ best friend; he visits constantly and is always trying to make himself useful.
  • Homais tells Emma about the clubfoot surgery, and the two of them convince Charles to do it.
  • Homais also convinces Hippolyte the clubfoot, the other essential party to this operation, to undergo the surgery.
  • After the operation, Homais writes it up for a Rouen newspaper, exaggerating the details to miraculous proportions. Of course, he makes no mention of the actual disastrous outcome.
  • During Emma’s slow recovery from her abandonment by Rodolphe, Homais suggests that Charles take her to the theatre. The pharmacist gets into a rousing argument with Father Bournisien about literature, music, and theatre.
  • On jam-making day, Homais gets angry with Justin for letting the arsenic jar get dangerously close to the jam. Still enraged, he tells Emma that her father-in-law is dead, forgetting to make the speech he’d planned.
  • Homais visits Léon in Rouen, occupying him all day while the young man keeps trying to get to his rendezvous with Emma.
  • On the day of Emma’s mad flight around Rouen and Yonville, Homais runs into her in the Hirondelle. He has been buying rolls for his wife in Rouen. He yells at the blind beggar about bogus cures he should be taking for his eyes.
  • Homais tries to help Charles take care of Emma, but has nothing productive to offer.
  • When Dr. Larivière arrives, Homais invites him and Monsieur Canivet over for lunch.
  • Homais invents a cover-up for Emma’s suicide, saying that she accidentally consumed the arsenic.
  • After Emma’s death, Homais delicately separates his family from Charles and Berthe. Before then, though, he helps Charles pick an extravagant gravestone for Emma.
  • Homais immerses himself in civic life, attempting to procure the Medal of the Legion of Honor.
  • Homais has the blind beggar, his arch-nemesis, locked up forever in an asylum.
  • He also starts work on a book on Yonville.
  • When other doctors attempt to move into Yonville after Charles’s death, Homais basically chases them out of town. He has a monopoly on the medical trade in the town.
  • All of Monsieur Homais’s ambitions and dreams are fulfilled, except for the Legion of Honor.
  • As the novel ends, he finally attains this goal.