by Gustave Flaubert
Madame Bovary Repression Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Lowell Bair's translation.
Rodolphe had moved nearer to Emma and was now saying softly and rapidly, "Aren’t you disgusted by the way society conspires against us? Is there a single feeling they don’t condemn? The noblest instincts and the purest affinities are persecuted and slandered, and if two poor hearts manage to find each other, everything is organized to keep them apart. They’ll try anyway, though: they’ll beat their wings and call out to each other. And you can be sure of this: sooner or later, in six months or ten years, they’ll come together and bring their love to fruition, because fate requires it and they were born for each other." (II.8.45)
Here, Rodolphe basically tells Emma that they’re bound to get together, regardless of her marriage and the scandal it would cause. We get the feeling that he doesn’t really believe in all of this "love will conquer all" stuff – he just says it to get her to turn against the restrictive rules of the society she lives in.
She did not know whether she regretted having given in to him or whether, instead, she wished she could love him more. Her humiliating awareness of her own weakness was turning into resentment, which was tempered by her voluptuous pleasures. It was not an attachment, it was a kind of continuous seduction. She was under his domination. She was almost afraid of him. (II.10.33)
Emma’s domination by social convention has been replaced by a new domination – by her lover. Even as she sought to free herself from the oppressive constraints of society, she is still not at liberty to do as she likes, since Rodolphe now controls her emotions and desires.
[Léon] did not understand the deep-seated reaction that was now driving her into a still more reckless pursuit of sensual pleasure. She was becoming more and more excitable, greedy and voluptuous; and she walked with him in the street with her head high, unafraid, she said, of compromising herself. (III.5.93)
Once Emma breaks enough of the rules and continues to get away with it, she can’t go back – instead, she gets more and more reckless.