by Gustave Flaubert
Madame Bovary Part 3, Chapter 9 Summary
- Charles throws himself on Emma’s corpse, overcome by grief. Homais goes home, invents a story about accidental poisoning to cover up the suicide, and writes it up for the newspaper.
- When he returns to the Bovarys’ house, he finds Charles alone and frightened, Canivet having left him.
- Homais, with the best of intentions, attempts to distract Charles by talking about the weather.
- Father Bournisien succeeds in getting Charles to do something about the funeral. He makes extravagantly romantic plans – ones that Emma herself would have appreciated.
- Charles rebels against God; he curses the heavens for allowing this to happen.
- The priest and the pharmacist sit up with the corpse all night, holding a vigil for her. The whole time, they argue about religion.
- Charles’s mother arrives in the morning. She attempts to reason with Charles about the expense of the funeral, and he actually stands up to her for the first time.
- The townspeople come to visit and pay their respects; they’re bored, but each is unwilling to be the first to leave.
- Félicité is hysterical with grief. She, Madame Lefrançois, and old Madame Bovary dress Emma in her wedding gown to prepare her for her coffin. Grotesquely, a stream of black liquid flows out of the dead woman’s mouth as they lift her.
- Homais and Bournisien continue their intellectual discussion.
- Charles comes in to say his final good bye in private. He reflects upon his memories of their past together, looks at her dead face, and is horrified.
- The priest and pharmacist lead him away. Homais shakily cuts a few locks of Emma’s hair for Charles to keep.
- Félicité thoughtfully leaves a bottle of brandy and a pastry out for the men – Homais and Father Bournisien need no prompting to drink the alcohol. They part ways after finishing the bottle.
- Finally, after Emma’s body is sealed inside three coffins, her father arrives. He faints immediately.
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