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Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary

by Gustave Flaubert

Analysis: Writing Style

Alternately Ironic and Descriptive

Flaubert’s style in this book is an interesting mish-mash of different elements. He’s somehow able to combine straightforward, un-decorative irony with gorgeous, evocative description, and emerge with a text that’s cohesive and totally unique – mad props to him.

We see killer one-liners that are devastating in their simplicity, in which the true ridiculousness of humanity is made glaringly obvious. (The most notable example is the last line: "He has just been awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor.")

On the other hand, we also indulge in evocative moments of intimate detail, particularly relating to Emma’s various states of being. For example, after her first physical experience with Rodolphe, we can almost feel "her heart beating again, and the blood flowing through her flesh like a river of milk" (II.9.49). Taken all together, the style of this book is both a reminder that we’re human, and that, as humans, we’re incredibly flawed.

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