| Quote #1
They chatted over all these matters at recreation hours, in the playground, in front of the moral inscription painted under the clock. (1.2.6)
This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship for Frederick and Deslaurier. And right off the bat, Flaubert gives us the vague mention of morals here, only to later reveal that the two boys had also gone to a brothel looking for prostitutes. Sneaky, Flaubert. You'll notice that morals are often in the background of Sentimental Education, far less important than desire and pleasure.
| Quote #2
Sénécal protested: Art should aim exclusively at promoting morality amongst the masses! (1.5.13)
An age-old position, care of Sénécal. This guy believes that art serves a moral purpose—to make people better. Period. The opposite position would argue that art is just there to amuse people and provide visual and aesthetic pleasure. Which team are you on?
| Quote #3
Sénécal placed his glass of beer on the mantelpiece, and declared dogmatically that, as prostitution was tyrannical and marriage immoral, it was better to practice abstinence. (1.5.99)
He may not be a major figure, but Sénécal sure is one of the most opinionated—especially when it comes to morals. Apparently, according to this passage, he doesn't even believe in having sex.