By now, you've probably caught on that there are two stories in Sentimental Education: one about Frederick and one about France. (Want the historical low-down? Check out our discussion in "Setting.")
As it turns out, the development of both our protagonist and the country follow along similar lines: they both through significant upheaval, but nothing really changes in the end. Let's take a look at a few broad parallels:
But here's the thing: Frederick's life isn't a strict allegory. In fact, it's strange how little these two stories really intersect—how little Frederick cares about the revolution, the death, the carnage, and all of the crazy chaos on the streets. Could it be that Flaubert's trying to make a point with this distinction?