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Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary

  • Emma, Charles, Félicité, and Monsieur Lheureux get out of the Hirondelle for the Bovarys’ first glimpse of Yonville. Monsieur Homais is on hand to introduce himself.
  • Emma checks out the inn. Meanwhile, a blond young man checks her out.
  • Who is this guy, you may ask? Flaubert tells us. It turns out that this is the Monsieur Léon (Dupuis) mentioned earlier. He’s a clerk who works for the notary in town. He, like Emma, is a bored young person trapped in a town full of aging, dull people.
  • The dinner party, comprised of Emma, Charles, Homais, and Léon, make polite chitter chatter about their trip, and about the town. Homais goes off on a long spiel about Yonville. We realize that his primary mode of communication is probably by long spiel.
  • Léon and Emma are clearly on the same wavelength – one that nobody else is on. They seem to have similar ideas and interests.
  • It turns out that Léon is an amateur musician, like Emma. Monsieur Homais, with whom the young clerk lives, claims that Léon is a beautiful singer. Emma is intrigued.
  • Emma and Léon have a little moment, in which he reveals that he loves German music, "the kind that makes you dream" (II.1.9) – what an Emma-like thing to say! He also tells her he’s going away to Paris to study to be lawyer.
  • Homais and Charles have obviously been conversing on their own. Homais attempts to include everyone in the conversation; Emma and Léon aren’t interested, and soon get caught up in their private conversation again.
  • Like Emma, Léon is a big reader, and it seems like they have pretty similar thoughts about literature, as well.
  • Homais tries to break into their conversation again, offering the use of his personal library to Emma.
  • Emma and Léon are sitting so close that he has his feet on one of the rungs of her chair.
  • After dinner, the guests all go their separate ways. Emma and Charles go into their new house for the first time. It doesn’t sound too thrilling. We are unsurprised.
  • Emma philosophically muses that, since her life so far hasn’t been too hot, it has to get better.

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