by Gustave Flaubert
Madame Bovary Wealth Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Lowell Bair's translation.
In her longing she confused the pleasures of luxury with the joys of the heart, elegant customs with refined feelings. Did not love, like Indian plants, require prepared soil and special temperatures? Sighs in the moonlight, long embraces, tears flowing onto yielding hands, all the fevers of the flesh and the languors of love – these things were inseparable from the balcony of a great castle in which life moved at a leisurely pace, from a boudoir with silk curtains, a thick carpet, filled flower stands and a bed mounted on a platform, from the sparkle of precious stones or the aiguillettes of liveried servants. (I.9.8)
Love and romance, in Emma’s mind, are connected to wealth. The impression is that only rich people really know how to love, which is frankly just ridiculous.
Her carnal desires, her longing for money and the melancholy of her unfulfilled passion merged into one vast anguish, and instead of trying to distract herself from it she concentrated her attention on it, stirring up her pain and always looking for a chance to suffer. She complained bitterly about a badly served dish or a door left ajar, she lamented the velvet she did not own, the happiness that eluded her, her too lofty dreams, her too narrow house. (II.5.44)
Emma’s longing for wealth ruins her enjoyment of life completely. Having seen how the other half life, she refuses to settle for anything less than opulence. Interestingly, she has a unique and unshakeable sense of entitlement that makes her believe that she deserves to be rich.
"Still, though," said Emma, "it seems to me you’re scarcely to be pitied."
"Yes, because, after all, you’re free…" She hesitated. "… rich…" (II.8.29)
Freedom is also connected to wealth for Emma. Basically, all the positive things in the world stem from money in her eyes. She can’t understand why Rodolphe, a rich man, would ever be unhappy.