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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.