Study Guide

A Simple Heart The Home

By Gustave Flaubert

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The Home

"A Simple Heart" takes place almost entirely in Madame Aubain's house, where Félicité works as a maid. For Madame Aubain, the house represents a step down; she used to be rich, but lost it all when her husband died and left her tons of debt, so she had to move into this measly little house in town. Félicité, on the other hand, is the maid. The house isn't hers—in fact, when Madame Aubain dies, her son puts it up for sale without even telling Félicité.

Félicité doesn't really have a home, so her workplace becomes her world. The injustice of her position in society is reflected through her lack of home and the way that she relates to Madame Aubain's place.

Questions About The Home

  1. Could you argue that Madame Aubain's house is Félicité's home?
  2. What is the significance of Paul's putting his mother's house up for sale after her death?
  3. Why does the story open with a meticulous description of the house?
  4. What does the house's layout tell us about the characters and their relationship to one another?

Chew on This

Félicité has no home; in the story, her work is her home.

Félicité is such a faithful maid that she finds a home at Madame Aubain's.

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