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Sentimental Education

Sentimental Education


by Gustave Flaubert

Frederick Moreau Timeline and Summary

  • Right off the bat, Frederick meets and falls in love with Madame Arnoux on a river boat. And there's the hook.
  • Next up, he goes to Nogent to see his mother. (Bor-ing.)
  • He visits Deslauriers, and together, they make plans for sharing a life together in Paris. It's going to be awesome.
  • Our guy Returns to Paris. Look at that architecture! Oh, and where's Madame Arnoux?
  • He finds law school boring and makes his way into Parisian society.
  • The sneak that he is, he hangs out at L'Art Industriel and finally receives an invitation from the Arnouxes for dinner.
  • Woe is Frederick: should he be a lawyer or a poet? (He decides to go with whatever impresses Marie Arnoux.)
  • A few up and downs come around: he returns to provincial life, believes he will be poor forever but then lands a good-sized inheritance, and gets to know Louise.
  • Eventually, he heads back to Paris and becomes part of the high society, getting himself invited to some pretty swanky parties.
  • He gets to know Marie Arnoux, but she's not going along with his desires. Well, that's not going to stop him.
  • To pass the time, he starts hanging out with Rosanette. She'll do for now.
  • Then there's that duel with Cisy, which ends in some embarrassment on both sides.
  • Frederick spends a dreamy Autumn hanging out with Madame Arnoux. Insert sappy violin music.
  • He becomes Rosanette's lover and watches the revolution go by. What a combo: flailing detached limbs of rebels and hardcore romance.
  • After Monsieur Dambreuse dies, he hooks up with Madame Dambreuse, but finds out she is even shallower than he thought. Is that possible?
  • He becomes fiancé to Louise, lover—then fiancé—to Madame Dambreuse, and father to a courtesan's child. This guy has a lot of balls in the air, so to speak.
  • Frederick severs all of his relations with Rosanette, Madame Dambreuse, Louise, and Deslauriers.
  • Plans promptly collapse.
  • Twenty years later, he's visited by Madame Arnoux in old age and basically rejects her. Ah, the horror of grey hair!
  • In the last scene, he reminisces with Deslauriers, and they realize that they didn't really live life to the fullest.