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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Society and Class

Talk about social climbing. Where you are and where you wish you were are a major deal in Sentimental Education. But here's the thing: even though we're in the midst of a socioeconomic-related revo...

Wealth

Apparently these people never heard that you're not supposed to mix business with pleasure, a.k.a. don't lend money to your friends. So much money is made, inherited, borrowed, paid back, not paid...

Sex

There's a big difference in Sentimental Education between how much people think about sex and how much sex we actually see. And in a book about inaction, it's no surprise that we don't get much, um...

Morality and Ethics

Not so many in Sentimental Education exactly moral—but plenty of them pretend to be. These people are less concerned about doing the right thing, and more concerned with, well, themselves. Even t...

Women and Femininity

We know quite a bit about the ladies in Sentimental Education. How women get by, whom they marry, what their social upbringing is, who supports them, and whom they sleep with are pretty consistent...

Visions of France

Nogent-sur-Seine. Paris. Fontainebleau. These are places that anyone would kill to see. But in Sentimental Education, Flaubert is pretty clear that Paris & co. were hurting at this point in tim...

Politics

It's no secret that there's some seriously upheaval going on in Sentimental Education. We've got battles in the street, thrones getting tossed out of The Tuileries Palace window by a mob, and worki...

Art and Culture

So you think you can paint? Frederick sure does. At various points in Sentimental Education, Frederick plans to be a lawyer, a writer, and a painter. Everyone else has big dreams, too: Monsieur Arn...
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