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Themes

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 time. Its government was a mess and the people were pretty miserable. Still, Frederick, our boy from the provinces, comes to Paris to fulfill his dreams and ambitions. Good luck with that, Fred.

Questions About Visions of France

  1. What does Paris represent to Frederick? Does it live up to his expectations? Do his opinions jive with reality?
  2. Could Frederick's story have taken place in a different city? 
  3. Is Frederick concerned about all of the devastation happening to his city? Is Flaubert?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

When Frederick takes Rosanette to Fontainebleau, he is escaping everything going on in the city—not just the riots but also his responsibility and being forced to take action.

Taking Rosanette to Fontainebleau really opens Frederick's eyes about her. Outside of her social circle, she seems pretty dull and selfish.

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