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Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Dissatisfaction

Sometimes life just sucks. Hey, we didn’t write the rules – it’s true. However, in most of our lives, things are a series of ups and downs. Emma Bovary's life (of Madame Bovary fa...

Freedom and Confinement

You all know the feeling of being trapped inside your own life. Well, take that to an extreme, and you’ve got Madame Bovary. The novel’s protagonist feels stuck inside an unhappy marria...

Foolishness and Folly

There are many, many poor decisions made in Madame Bovary. Really, it’s so full of textbook BAD, BAD CHOICES that it could double as a manual of warning signs in a high school health class. W...

Love

Love encapsulates a whole lot of things in Madame Bovary. Seriously, just about everything relates to love: lust, beauty, power, money, fantasy – you name it. The thing is, nobody quite knows...

Women and Femininity

Madame Bovary deconstructs the prim, idealized vision of the perfect nineteenth century woman, simply by giving her thoughts, feelings, and desires. Our protagonist is simultaneously the perfect wo...

Wealth

Money, money, money – cold hard cash is certainly what makes this world go ‘round in this novel. Underneath Madame Bovary’s concern for human emotion and feeling, the cruel truth...

Appearances

Appearance – and particular beauty – is always linked to power in Madame Bovary. People can have the appearance of wealth or refinement or sensitivity…and regardless of how false...

Repression

Madame Bovary is all about desire – and its consequences. The protagonist is tormented by her inexplicable, sensual yearnings, and her longing to escape from her small-town life. Her town is...

Art and Culture

This may sound unusual, but art and culture are cause for worry in Madame Bovary. Emma Bovary, the novel’s protagonist, is infatuated by the romantic novels she reads, and believes wholeheart...

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