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Analysis

Literary Devices in Sentimental Education

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

The beauty and, later, wreckage of Paris are such regular features of Sentimental Education that they sometimes even they feel like characters. Frederick spends hours on end gazing from his balcony...

Narrator Point of View

We might be talking about a third-person narrator, but boy does that third person know what's going on in Frederick's head. We can see his every private preoccupation, and let us tell you, that bra...

Genre

Coming-of-AgeSentimental Education isn't your grandma's coming-of-age story. Sure, it's concerned with its protagonist's development from age 18 to 40, but, um, does he really develop all that much...

Tone

Huh? How can something be romantic, realist, and ironic all at once? Don't worry—we're on the case.Flaubert is all about creating a realistic portrayal of the bourgeois lifestyle. But as specs ou...

Writing Style

If you've read even one page of Sentimental Education, it will come as no surprise that Flaubert loves him some detail. This guy is a describer, that's for sure. And he'll describe literally anythi...

What's Up With the Title?

Sentimental Education: Seems simple enough, right? But let's start with a little vocab lesson just in case.We all know what an education is, but what about that pesky four-syllable-er?Basically, be...

What's Up With the Ending?

If you were expecting an it's-finally-happening-they're-making-out-so-much-eroticism explosion between Frederick and the now-widowed Marie Arnoux, prepare to be sorely disappointed.Yes, the two rom...

Tough-o-Meter

On the one hand, Sentimental Education is a pretty smooth read: your basic thwarted love story and all the highs and lows that go with it. But things get a little complex with all the political and...

Plot Analysis

Gee, Life is Dull. Zoinks! Look at That Hot Woman.Frederick doesn't know what hit him. On his way from Paris to the sleepy little town of Nogent-sur-Seine (to see his overly ambitious mom), he lays...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

If you could sum up our hero in one word, it would be "anticipation." This guy will do anything to find fulfillment in the form of seducing Madame Arnoux. Imagine spending twenty years just to get...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Young man in Paris, in love, and in a revolutionBecause Sentimental Education is pretty long and covers roughly 20 years, there's some funny business with time. Years can pass in a few sentences. B...

Trivia

American author Henry James said that Flaubert "had no faith in the power of the moral to offer a surface." Ouch! But don't worry, James a secret fan (source).As crazy as the whole Arnoux-Frederick...

Steaminess Rating

Sentimental Education almost deserves two ratings: one for what people think about and want to do and one for what they actually do. In a book about inaction, it's no surprise that we don't see muc...

Allusions

There are so many historical shout-outs in Sentimental Education that you might begin to feel a little post-traumatic stress just trying to keep track. Our advice? Don't. (Unless you're writing you...
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