Study Guide

Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary Summary

Charles Bovary is a pretty dull guy. He has an average career, no ambition, and has already been through an unhappy marriage of convenience to a harpy-like widow. With wife # 1 out of the way, however, he’s free to marry again – and soon enough, he finds a gorgeous, exciting girl named Emma Rouault.

Emma, a convent-educated farm girl with a head full of romantic fantasies and ideals, is willing to do anything to get off her father’s farm, so she and Charles end up married in short order. The couple moves first to a tiny town called Tostes, where Charles, a kind of low-grade doctor, sets up a medical practice. Soon enough, though, Emma is bored, sick of Charles, and incredibly depressed.

The couple attends a ball given by a local aristocrat; there, Emma gets a glimpse of the opulent lifestyle she longs for. Her depression worsens after this life-changing event, and the young couple moves to a slightly larger town, Yonville-l’Abbaye, in an attempt to make her feel better.

Emma, who is pregnant during the move, is slightly soothed by her friendship with another young person, Léon Dupuis, a clerk in Yonville. Léon lives with the family of Monsieur Homais, the town pharmacist. Monsieur Homais also quickly befriends the Bovarys for his own reasons.

After Emma has her baby, Berthe, she and Léon grow even closer. Slowly, they both realize that they’re in love – but they’re both too shy to do anything about it. Léon moves away to Paris to study, and Emma, left alone, falls back into a slump.

However, her unhappiness doesn’t last too long this time – she quickly meets another handsome bachelor, Rodolphe Boulanger. He’s quite a womanizer, and he decides to take Emma as his mistress. It doesn’t take much convincing to win her over, and Emma quickly succumbs to the temptations of adultery.

Emma starts taking out huge loans from a local merchant, and quickly slides into debt. However, she doesn’t care; all that matters to her is Rodolphe. They have a tumultuous relationship for two years, but it eventually comes to a dramatic stop. Rodolphe is bored with Emma, and he abandons her just as they’re supposed to run away together. He goes the super-wussy route of writing her a break-up letter, and doesn’t even deliver it himself.

This devastates Emma. She goes into shock and her health declines rapidly. Charles doesn’t know what to do; mostly, he just prescribes odd and useless medications. The Bovary family’s finances get even worse, and Charles is forced to take out additional loans. Emma slowly starts to recover. As a treat, Monsieur Homais suggests that Charles take the little lady to the opera in Rouen, the nearest city. It turns out to be a fateful trip.

At the theatre, Charles and Emma happen to run into Léon, who has finished law school and moved to Rouen. He’s become more worldly and is no longer afraid of Emma. They fling themselves into a passionate affair. She grows craftier and craftier, and figures out different schemes to visit the city to see her lover.

However, after a while, even this affair starts to peter out. Emma’s money troubles get worse and worse, as does her relationship with Léon. One day when she returns to Yonville, she discovers that she owes an incredibly huge sum of money, and can’t possibly pay it back. Disaster!

Emma rushes around, attempting to borrow cash from everyone she knows. The answer everywhere is "no." She tries Léon, to no avail; she even goes back to Rodolphe to ask him to take her back (and pay off her debt), but has no luck with anyone. Desperate, afraid to tell Charles, and completely hopeless, Emma gives in to her despair and poisons herself by taking arsenic. She dies a truly gruesome death, as her friends and family look on in horror.

After Emma’s death, things go even more downhill for Charles and little Berthe. They’re totally broke. And their finances are made even worse by the fact that Charles, who’s still in love with his dead wife despite the proof of her adultery, refuses to sell any of Emma’s extravagant possessions. He dies, poverty-stricken and lonely. Berthe is sent to live with her grandmother, who then dies as well. The young girl finally ends up living with a poor aunt, working as a child laborer in a cotton mill.

Ironically, the only character to achieve a happy ending is the determined, obnoxious, over-ambitious, and undeserving apothecary, Monsieur Homais.

  • Part 1, Chapter 1

    • A nameless first-person narrator (never heard from again after this chapter) recounts the day young Charles Bovary appeared at school.
    • Charles is an embarrassed, rusticated, slow, and bewildered rural fellow. Also, he’s a total fashion victim.
    • Charles has some difficulty managing his tragically ugly hat; the teacher and the other boys all mock him.
    • The class gets even rowdier, and the teacher assigns some lines to punish them. Things quiet down, though Charles is attacked with surreptitious spitballs.
    • The other boys observe the newcomer carefully. He’s not terribly bright, but he’s a hard worker. Next, we get some background on the Bovary family: Charles’s dad is a boastful but unsuccessful businessman who pretty much fails to support his family. His poor mom, whose money sustained her husband through his attempts at finding a career, is embittered, peevish, and obsessed with her son.
    • Charles received a half-hearted education, but spent most of his childhood left to his own devices, running barefoot around the village and chasing turkeys (Whoohoo!).
    • Despite his lackluster upbringing, Charles’s parents hope that he’ll make a name for himself. After a pretty average, unmemorable time at school, they enroll him in medical school, where he begins to appreciate the finer things in life: the stereotypical temptations of wine, women, and song.
    • After failing his exams once, then cramming like crazy and passing a second time, Charles manages to get certified as an officier de santé (health officer). This is kind of like a junior doctor; it’s a guy who’s not a real doctor, but is allowed to practice medicine.
    • Mama Bovary is happy. She sets Charles up in a nearby town, Tostes, then marries him off to a wealthy, needy widow. You’ve got to feel bad for the guy.
  • Part 1, Chapter 2

    • The young "doctor" is awakened in the night by a call from a patient; someone at a farm called Les Bertaux outside the town has a broken leg that needs to be set. It’s agreed that Charles will head out to take care of the patient at moonrise.
    • Until then, Charles lies awake, dreading the medical debacle about to unfold. We’ve already figured out that he’s not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, and he doesn’t feel too confident about his healing powers. We have to admit, we’re nervous for him and his patient, too…seriously, would you want this guy operating on your broken leg?
    • Les Bertaux turns out to be a nice piece of real estate. Monsieur Rouault, the farmer/patient, is obviously pretty well off. A widower, he takes care of the family farm with the help of his young daughter. Said daughter lets Charles in and takes him up to the patient.
    • Monsieur Rouault is a good-natured man, and his fracture also proves to be somewhat good-natured; it’s a totally clean break, and Charles starts to feel confident again. He cheers up his patient, and competently takes care of the injury.
    • In the meanwhile, the daughter, Emma, attempts to make herself useful by sewing some padding, but she turns out to be a bad seamstress. Her ineptitude doesn’t matter, though – Charles is quite taken by her dainty appearance (she’s a total babe). As the three of them go downstairs to have a bite to eat, the young doctor takes a better look at the young daughter.
    • Charles (and we) get to know Emma a little better. She hates country living, and doesn’t seem quite content with her life. We’re not sure if Charles notices this. What he does notice is that she is really beautiful. She’s got gorgeous brown eyes, full lips, carefully arranged black hair, and rosy cheeks. Someone’s got a crush…
    • Charles keeps visiting Les Bertaux, supposedly to check in with his patient, but really to see Emma. His irritable/irritating wife finds out that Emma is something of a fine young lady, having received a fancy education at a convent, and is upset by the idea that Charles is in love with the girl. She makes Charles promise not to visit Les Bertaux anymore.
    • Charles's first wife is not long in this world. Some bad financial news emerges (it turns out she was lying to the Bovarys about how much money she had in the first place, and Mom and Pop Bovary freak out big time), and the distraught woman actually collapses and dies. Charles is now free, although he does feel a little sad, since she loved him.
  • Part 1, Chapter 3

    • Charles’s half-hearted mourning doesn’t last too long. Monsieur Rouault shows up the day after the funeral to deliver his payment for the medical treatment, and also to give his condolences. He encourages Charles to visit Les Bertaux again, which he does, happily.
    • Monsieur Rouault cheers Charles up, and he quickly begins to forget about his dead wife. In the weeks that follow, things start to look up for Charles. He discovers that he likes living without his wife – he can decide when and what he wants to eat, and doesn’t have to explain himself to anyone. Furthermore, her death was actually good for business, since all the townspeople feel bad for him.
    • Charles keeps up his visits to Les Bertaux. One day, he encounters Emma alone. She convinces him to have a drink by saying that she’ll have one, too. She pours herself a few drops of liqueur, but in order to taste it, she throws back her head and licks the bottom of the shot glass.
    • Emma and Charles have their first real conversation – that is, Emma talks, and Charles listens. They even go to her room (gasp!) to look at mementos of her days as a schoolgirl at the convent. She complains about the hired help, complains about not living in the city, and generally talks a lot about herself. Charles is charmed.
    • On his way home, Charles mulls over the pros and cons of starting something with Emma. He begins to wonder if another marriage might be a good idea…
    • Monsieur Rouault, we discover, is not averse to this idea. He loves Emma, but he’s come to terms with the fact that she is simply useless on the farm. He himself isn’t a big fan of farming, and really doesn’t enjoy his profession. When he notices Charles’s interest in Emma, he decides to give his blessing.
    • After a while, Charles finally builds up the courage ask Monsieur Rouault for Emma’s hand in marriage. In typical fashion, Charles can’t even get the words out – fortunately, his future father-in-law figures out what’s going on and says it’s all cool with him. The marriage ball is rolling.
    • Notably, we don’t know what Emma thinks about any of this…
    • The winter passes, and Emma busily prepares her trousseau (a fancy word for the bridal wardrobe).
    • Emma reveals herself to be something of a romantic ninny; she would like to be married by torchlight in the dead of night. However, her more practical fiancé and father decide that this is probably not the best idea. A traditional wedding is planned.
  • Part 1, Chapter 4

    • It’s the big day, and various friends and family members arrive in a bustle of horses, carriages, and passengers. Flaubert treats us to a rather ridiculous description of country folks; we are reminded again that this is not the sophisticated big city event that Emma longs for; rather, it is a procession of people awkwardly dressed up in their unfashionable best for a small-town wedding.
    • We don’t get to see the ceremony, but the wedding feast that comes afterwards is mouth-watering. The guests are treated to be huge table overflowing with roast beef, mutton, chickens, a suckling pig, many alcohols, and a dizzyingly fancy (and incredibly silly) wedding cake. The guests gorge themselves until nightfall, when they pile back into their vehicles and raucously drive back home.
    • As everyone settles in for the night, a group of whiny wedding guests complain about how unsatisfactory the event was, cursing Monsieur Rouault behind his back (if you haven’t already figured it out, Flaubert is highly attuned to the flaws and ironies of…well, of humanity on the whole).
    • The Bovary family members are characteristically unimpressive during all of these goings-on. Charles’s mother holds her tongue for once (though we can be sure that she’s internally judging everything), while his father stays up partying and drinking all night with the guests. Charles himself is, as usual, fairly dull on the day of the wedding – but after the wedding night, he’s a changed man. He’s clearly very, very in love with Emma.
    • The bride, on the other hand, is pretty casual about the whole thing.
    • After the couple leaves to start their married life, Monsieur Rouault reflects upon his own life and his dear, departed wife. He remembers happier times and, overcome by sadness, heads home alone.
    • Charles and Emma return to his house in Tostes; the neighbors show up to check out the new arrival.
  • Part 1, Chapter 5

    • Next, we get a brief tour of Charles and Emma’s house. It sounds pretty decent – nothing impressive, but a nice enough home for a country doctor and his wife. There’s a little garden, an office for Charles (with a bunch of unopened medical books), and generally everything a typical village housewife might need.
    • Emma, however, is not your typical village housewife. First of all, she notices the former Madame Bovary’s bridal bouquet preserved in the bedroom – this totally doesn’t fly. This relic of wife #1 is relegated to exile in the attic. After this change, Emma goes on a total renovation rampage, making changes to every aspect of the little house’s décor.
    • Charles is in heaven. He gives in to all of Emma’s whims, and buys everything she wants. He’s totally head over heels in love with her, and is infatuated by her beauty. Everything is perfect, as far as he’s concerned, and he can’t remember ever being happier. The whole world is wrapped up in Emma.
    • Emma, however, isn’t sure that she’s so happy. She had thought herself in love before the marriage, but now conjugal life doesn’t seem so blissful. She wonders if the words she’s read about in books – passion, rapture, bliss – can apply to her life.
  • Part 1, Chapter 6

    • Now that we’ve had a tour of the Bovary household, it’s time for a tour of Emma’s inner landscape. Fade out to a flashback…
    • Emma is a dreamy, romantic child, and is perhaps too heavily influenced by Paul and Virginia, a popular and super-utopian novel about two siblings stranded on a desert island.
    • At age thirteen, Emma is sent to a convent school, where she quickly falls in love with the mystical, aesthetic atmosphere of the religious life; she devotes herself to the ceremonies and artistic poses of convent life.
    • We can see where this is heading. The things Emma likes best about religion aren’t what you’d hope or expect – you know, stuff like God or faith. Instead, she is really into the romantic aspects of it; metaphors for the nun’s relationship with God like "betrothed" and "heavenly lover" (I.6.5) really get her going.
    • At the convent, Emma meets an old lady with an aristocratic background (her family was ruined by the Revolution, and she worked at the convent as a seamstress). She introduces Emma to novels – and thus to a whole new world of swoony romantic dreams. As she does her work, the girls listen to her stories and read the romance novels she carries around in her apron pocket.
    • Soon enough, Emma’s attentions turn from religious ecstasy to dreams of historical romance. She wishes she could live the life she read about in her books.
    • Emma’s mother dies while Emma is away at school; the girl is dramatically sad for a little while, but is kind of secretly pleased at herself for being so sensitive.
    • The nuns worry that they've lost Emma – they'd assumed that she would join the sisterhood. She rebells against their attempts to draw her back in, and ends up leaving the convent. As Flaubert states pointedly, "no one was sorry to see her go" (I.VI.13).
    • Back home, Emma enjoys playing lady of the manor and ordering the servants around for a while. However, she gets sick of it soon enough and – surprise, surprise – misses the convent. By the time Charles appears on the scene, she feels cynical and experienced (though she really hasn’t done anything).
    • She actually believes that she’s in love with Charles – but we get the feeling that she would have felt the same way about any guy who happened to wander into her life at that time. Unsurprisingly, now that they’re married, she’s unsettled and discontented.
  • Part 1, Chapter 7

    • Emma wonders if these "honeymoon days" (I.7.1) are really the best days of her life. She starts to feel cheated, as though Charles has deprived her of the clichéd, romantic fantasies she cooks up. She’s sure that she would be happier if only she was somewhere else…preferably with someone else…
    • Emma wants to reveal these feelings of discontent to somebody, and wishes Charles could be a little more sensitive. Day by day he just grows less and less interesting to her, and she is consistently disappointed in the man she married. She believes that men should know everything and be able to do anything – Charles, however, is just an average guy.
    • Emma attempts to express her turbulent feelings through drawing and music; Charles loves to watch her, and the people of the village are impressed by her accomplishments.
    • Speaking of which, Emma turns out to actually be a pretty capable wife when she tries. She knows how to take care of the house and of Charles’s business, and this makes the village respect the doctor and his young wife even more.
    • Charles is also extremely impressed himself for having such a terrific wife. In his view, everything is just peachy keen. As far as we can tell, he’s a really simple creature, with very few desires and no ambition at all. He’s stingy and kind of oafish, but is generally still the same old predictable Charles – the kind of nice guy that finishes last.
    • Charles’s mom approves of her son’s ways wholeheartedly, but she’s skeptical of her daughter-in-law. She’s worried that Emma wastes too much money, and every time she visits (which seems to occur pretty frequently), the two women harass each other relentlessly. This springs largely from Mom’s anxieties about Charles’s love for Emma – she’s no longer the favorite, now that Wife #2 is in the picture.
    • Charles is caught in the crossfire between the two loves of his life. He can’t believe that his mother could ever be wrong, but he also can’t believe that Emma ever makes any mistakes. It’s a confusing time for him; mostly, he just bumbles about, which doesn’t help.
    • Emma decides to at least attempt to "experience love" (I.7.13). She sings songs and recites poetry to Charles, but it doesn’t accomplish anything.
    • That’s it. Emma is certain she doesn’t love Charles, and furthermore, that she’s incapable of loving him. She’s way, way bored with her life on the whole.
    • One of the great constants in life is the fact that Puppies Are Awesome. Emma receives a little greyhound pup as a gift from one of Charles’s patients, and for a while, the awesomeness of the puppy actually makes her feel a wee bit better. She names the dog Djali and tells her about the troubles of married life. You may not have realized it, but dog is woman’s best friend, too.
    • Emma is certain she could have married someone different – and better – given the chance. She wonders about her former classmates from the convent school, and is sure that they have better husbands than she does. Her former life seems painfully far away.
    • Just when it seems like nothing will ever happen for Emma, an invitation arrives: she and Charles are invited to a party at the home of a local big-shot, the Marquis d’Andervilliers. The Marquis, a former patient of Charles’s, was impressed by Emma’s elegance.
    • The chapter ends as the couple arrives at the Marquis’ château.
  • Part 1, Chapter 8

    • The château is everything Emma could have dreamt of. It’s gorgeous and extravagantly beautiful. Emma is profoundly impressed by the whole thing and notices every detail.
    • At dinner, Emma sees that many of the ladies take wine at dinner (putting one’s glove in one’s wineglass means "No thanks," and in the circles Emma grew up in, women just don’t drink).
    • Emma is fascinated by an old, unattractive man, the Duc de Laverdière; rumor has it that he had been Marie Antoinette’s lover.
    • Emma gets her first taste of champagne, pomegranates, and pineapple. Everything here seems better than it is at home. We get the feeling that she finally feels she’s getting what she deserves.
    • Getting dressed for the ball, Emma and Charles have a little spat. Charles wants to dance, but Emma claims it’s ridiculous, saying that people will laugh at him.
    • On this night, Emma looks better than ever. Charles, taken with her beauty, attempts to kiss her, but she just shoos him away.
    • The ball is like one of Emma’s romantic daydreams. It’s filled with beautiful women in gorgeous dresses and jewels, and – to Emma’s excitement – with beautiful men, too. Everything about these gorgeous guys radiates wealth, from their clear, white complexions to their well-cut clothes.
    • Emma and Charles are clearly in a brand new world. Emma sees some peasants looking in through the windows, and is reminded of her former life on the farm at Les Bertaux. These new visions of luxury and beauty totally sweep her off her feet, and she begins to wonder if she ever really was a simple country girl.
    • Emma witnesses a lady and gentleman exchange a secret love note.
    • Hours into the ball, a second gourmet meal is served. After this, people start to leave. By 3am, it’s time for the last dance, a waltz. Emma dances with a man Flaubert simply calls the Viscount, despite the fact that she doesn’t really know how to waltz. She stumbles, then watches the Viscount resume the dance with another lady.
    • Charles, who’s been watching (but not understanding) a game of whist at the card table all night, takes Emma up to bed, complaining all the way about his tired legs.
    • Emma stays up late, looking out the window and hoping to prolong her stay in this fantastical other world. Eventually she lets herself fall asleep.
    • In the morning, the remaining guests eat a quick breakfast, then walk around the château’s extensive grounds. Charles and Emma pack up their buggy, say their thank yous, and head back to Tostes.
    • During the drive home, they encounter a party of riders on horseback. One of them, Emma thinks, is the Viscount. Shortly thereafter, Charles has to fix something on the buggy. While he’s outside, he finds a green silk cigar case.
    • Home again, Emma is really in a foul mood. She fires the maid, Nastasie, because dinner isn’t ready on time. The word that comes to mind is "irrational."
    • Charles, on the other hand, is happy to be home. He’s a little sad to see Nastasie go, since she’s gone through a lot with him, but doesn’t want to argue with his wife.
    • After dinner, Charles tries to act like an aristocratic man by smoking one of the cigars he found in the silk case. Embarrassingly, he makes himself rather ill. Emma is disgusted.
    • In the following days, Emma rehashes the ball over and over again in her mind. She tries to remember everything about it.
  • Part 1, Chapter 9

    • When Charles is out, Emma lovingly looks at the green silk cigar case and invents stories about its origins. She imagines that an adoring mistress gave it to the Viscount – she even imagines herself in the role of the mistress.
    • Paris becomes a new obsession for Emma. She jealously looks at the fishmongers’ carts on their way through the village, thinking about their journey to the capital city. She buys herself a map of Paris, and studies it endlessly, imagining herself there.
    • In her passion for the metropolis, Emma attempts to cultivate herself by reading magazines about arts and culture. She learns all the details of fine Parisian life, and reads the novels of Honoré de Balzac and George Sand (two authors that wrote about Parisian society). In these books, she finds more and more similarities between the Viscount of her imagination and the characters.
    • To Emma, everything seems possible in Paris, a city of languid, beautifully-dressed women and extravagant, thrilling men. Everything else fades around her, and Emma lives completely in the fantastical (rather ridiculous) world she constructs.
    • Emma longs for luxurious boudoirs, lingering embraces, moonlit rendezvous. Instead, what she has is a number of awkward peasant servants in tattered clothes. To replace Nastasie, she hires a young girl, Félicité, who seems to be sweet but rusticated.
    • With nothing else to do, Emma wanders around the house languidly, wearing a fancy dressing gown. Bored, lonely, and utterly discontented, she halfheartedly wishes both to die and to escape to Paris.
    • Charles goes about his business, totally unaware of his wife’s unhappiness. He’s still his usual, dull self, perfectly happy and blissfully ignorant. He’s just so pleased with everything Emma does, and by her city-like airs. She attempts to create some kind of false happiness through buying things; Charles goes along with it gamely.
    • Everything looks great for Charles. His reputation as a doctor established, he generally does pretty well…that is, he doesn’t kill anyone. He prescribes the same course of treatment to almost everyone: sedatives, the occasional emetic, footbath, or leeches, and on special occasions, he bleeds people or pulls teeth. He attempts to keep current with the latest medical news by subscribing to a professional journal, but it doesn’t inspire him to any thrilling feats.
    • Emma is fed up with all this. She wishes Charles had more ambition and intellectual oomph. She is more and more irritated by him with every passing day. Even when she straightens his clothes in an attempt to make him look more presentable, it’s for her sake, not his.
    • She continues to talk to Charles, however – her reasoning being that if she has to resort to talking to the dog, she might as well talk to her husband.
    • Emma waits and waits, and grows more and more impatient with her unchanging life. She imagines a ship of dreams that will come and carry her away; unsurprisingly, it never does. Every day feels the same, and she’s sure that God has doomed her to a monotonous fate.
    • Disgruntled, Emma gives up on all of her pastimes – she stops playing the piano, abandons her sketchbook, and ignores her embroidery. She falls into a deep depression, and feels profoundly alone. She even wishes she could chat with Félicité, but her pride stops her. It’s not just Emma’s life that’s dull and unchanging; she observes the townspeople doing the same boring things day after day. We get the feeling that Emma’s not the only person who’s unenthused about provincial life.
    • A wandering peddler of some kind comes around on occasions, bringing with him a hurdy-gurdy (a kind of big music box). Emma listens to the waltzes and thinks of her brush with greatness at the ball.
    • Meals are the worst. Emma feels as though she can’t bear it any longer, as she regards the gross-sounding meals and watches her bovine husband slowly chew his cud.
    • By the springtime, Emma has given up on everything, including taking care of the house. She doesn’t even make the effort to maintain her personal appearance. Her mother-in-law arrives for a visit before Easter, and is shocked by the change; she’s taken aback, and can’t even muster up a critical comment. Emma actually succeeds in cowing the old Madame Bovary.
    • Emma starts to exhibit some kooky behavior. She goes on weird diets, has violent mood swings, and is totally unpredictable.
    • At the end of February, Monsieur Rouault comes for a visit and brings a huge turkey to Emma and Charles at Tostes to celebrate the anniversary of his broken leg (nice and weird, we know). Emma spends most of the visit with him, and is surprisingly glad to see him go. He reminds her of her hick background, something for which she has a great amount of contempt.
    • Actually, she’s contemptuous of pretty much everyone and everything at this point, so much so that Charles is shocked by her behavior.
    • All of this takes a toll on Emma’s health, and Charles gets worried about her frailty. He prescribes some rather useless cures, and it makes her seem worse than ever. She demonstrates what we might call manic-depressive symptoms around this time.
    • Emma complains and complains about Tostes, and Charles realizes that something about the town is making her unhappy. He ponders moving the little family elsewhere.
    • Oddly, Emma starts drinking vinegar to lose weight (the nineteenth century equivalent of SlimFast?). One of Charles’s old teachers diagnoses her with a so-called "nervous malady" (I.9.41), and it’s decided that they’ll move away.
    • Charles finds a slightly larger town called Yonville-l’Abbaye that needs a doctor, and decides to move by spring if Emma stays ill.
    • While preparing for the big move, Emma discovers her bridal bouquet in a drawer. While this might be a sentimental moment for some other women, she is disgusted, and throws it on the fire.
    • What else could Emma and Charles possibly need in their complicated lives? You got it: a baby. By the time they move away in March, Emma is definitely pregnant. You can bet her mood swings aren’t getting any better.
  • Part 2, Chapter 1

    • Welcome to Emma and Charles’s new home! Yonville-l’Abbaye, their new town, is a small step up from Tostes. It’s a market town in the Neufchâtel region of France, not too far from Rouen (the closest city). The town is bordered by farmland, and it actually sounds fairly attractive. Flaubert, ever the party pooper, describes it as "characterless," and claims that it makes the worst Neufchâtel cheese in the whole district (II.I.4).
    • Despite new improvements in roads and trade routes, Yonville is still really slow and old-fashioned. We can already tell that this doesn’t bode well for Emma.
    • The actual town is pretty simple; it has a nice house or two, a church and graveyard, some brandy distilleries and cider presses, and an inn. Most notably, it’s also home to a very peculiar building: Monsieur Homais’ Pharmacy. It sounds like a pretty exciting place, covered in signs advertising the pharmacist’s products.
    • Apparently that’s all there is to see in Yonville. Our sense of dread increases. Emma is so not going to like this…
    • The church’s caretaker (also the town gravedigger), Lestiboudois, is in the practice of planting crops right up to the cemetery, a rather sketchy thing, if you ask us. The priest claims half-jokingly that he’s "feeding on the dead" (II.1.13) – creepy!
    • All in all, we get the picture – nothing ever changes in Yonville. It’s not exactly the booming metropolis Emma dreams of.
    • On the day of the Bovary’s arrival, the innkeeper, Madame Lefrançois, is busy preparing everything for the coming week. She’s all in a tizzy because she’s got a lot of food to prepare, both for her regular boarders, and for Charles and Emma. As she’s in the midst of preparations, Monsieur Homais (the pharmacist) pays her a little visit. He immediately appears to be quite an arrogant guy.
    • Monsieur Homais and Madame Lefrançois have a somewhat aggressive conversation. They chat about town affairs, including a rival bar, and about the inn’s boarders. Among them are an oddly dull man named Binet (the town tax collector) and some young man called Léon.
    • Binet enters on cue, ready for his dinner. He seems like a normal guy, but is really, really boring. Monsieur Homais obviously isn’t a huge fan.
    • The town priest stops by to pick up his umbrella. He and Monsieur Homais clearly have some kind of antagonistic relationship (does this guy actually get along with anyone?), since Homais bursts out in a big anti-clerical rant after he leaves. Homais clearly regards himself as quite an intellectual. He’s immoderately proud of himself.
    • Finally, the Hirondelle (a kind of big, ugly, inexplicably yellow stagecoach) pulls up with the Bovarys inside. The driver, Hivert, is immediately besieged by questions from the townspeople (along with driving the coach, he runs errands for people in Rouen).
    • Hivert explains the Hirondelle’s tardiness: Emma’s beloved greyhound, Djali, ran away and they had to stop to look for her. She was nowhere to be found. A local merchant, Monsieur Lheureux, who was along for the ride, attempts to console Emma by telling her that Djali will find her way home.
  • Part 2, Chapter 2

    • Emma, Charles, Félicité, and Monsieur Lheureux get out of the Hirondelle for the Bovarys’ first glimpse of Yonville. Monsieur Homais is on hand to introduce himself.
    • Emma checks out the inn. Meanwhile, a blond young man checks her out.
    • Who is this guy, you may ask? Flaubert tells us. It turns out that this is the Monsieur Léon (Dupuis) mentioned earlier. He’s a clerk who works for the notary in town. He, like Emma, is a bored young person trapped in a town full of aging, dull people.
    • The dinner party, comprised of Emma, Charles, Homais, and Léon, make polite chitter chatter about their trip, and about the town. Homais goes off on a long spiel about Yonville. We realize that his primary mode of communication is probably by long spiel.
    • Léon and Emma are clearly on the same wavelength – one that nobody else is on. They seem to have similar ideas and interests.
    • It turns out that Léon is an amateur musician, like Emma. Monsieur Homais, with whom the young clerk lives, claims that Léon is a beautiful singer. Emma is intrigued.
    • Emma and Léon have a little moment, in which he reveals that he loves German music, "the kind that makes you dream" (II.1.9) – what an Emma-like thing to say! He also tells her he’s going away to Paris to study to be lawyer.
    • Homais and Charles have obviously been conversing on their own. Homais attempts to include everyone in the conversation; Emma and Léon aren’t interested, and soon get caught up in their private conversation again.
    • Like Emma, Léon is a big reader, and it seems like they have pretty similar thoughts about literature, as well.
    • Homais tries to break into their conversation again, offering the use of his personal library to Emma.
    • Emma and Léon are sitting so close that he has his feet on one of the rungs of her chair.
    • After dinner, the guests all go their separate ways. Emma and Charles go into their new house for the first time. It doesn’t sound too thrilling. We are unsurprised.
    • Emma philosophically muses that, since her life so far hasn’t been too hot, it has to get better.
  • Part 2, Chapter 3

    • The next morning, Emma sees Léon through her bedroom window; they bow to each other.
    • Léon, hopeful that the Bovarys will turn up for dinner at the inn again, can’t wait for six o’clock. However, dinnertime rolls around, and Emma is nowhere to be found. He’s deeply disappointed.
    • Apparently, Léon isn’t exactly a lady’s man. His conversation with Emma the previous night was the most intimate situation he’s ever been in with a "lady." Everyone in the town likes him for his many fine qualities, but he felt a different kind of connection with Emma.
    • Homais turns out to be a very, very attentive neighbor. He gives Emma all kinds of assistance with the house, and is oh-so-friendly. However, he’s not exactly Ned Flanders. It seems that his kindly guy-next-door act is a front; he’d been accused previously of illegally practicing medicine without any certification, and was threatened with legal action. A lot of townspeople, including the mayor, are out to get him, so he’s careful to keep Charles on his side.
    • Speaking of Charles, the poor guy isn’t so happy. He doesn’t have any patients yet, and spends most of his time hanging about the house. He’s worried about money – the move from Tostes was expensive, and all the money that Emma brought with her to the marriage is gone.
    • The only thing that cheers Charles up is the thought of Emma’s pregnancy. He feels that his whole life is complete now that a baby is on the horizon.
    • Emma, on the other hand, traversed a whole range of emotions, from astonished to bitter, before settling on indifferent. She decides that if she must have a baby, it should be a boy, so it can have the power to escape the rules that govern women.
    • Instead, it’s a girl.
    • Emma passes out, presumably from disappointment, as well as the rigors of childbirth. Madame Homais and Madame Lefrançois rush in to see how things are going. Everyone is excited except Emma.
    • Emma can’t even think up a name for the poor kid. She has all kinds of romantic ideas about what she’d like to call the daughter (um, Galsuinde? Seriously?). Homais has all kinds of crazy ideas, naturally, having named his children all kinds of crazy things. Emma eventually settles haphazardly on "Berthe."
    • Little Berthe is baptized. Her godfather is Homais, since Emma’s dad couldn’t make it for the birth, and her godmother is old Madame Bovary, who’s visiting with her husband.
    • Charles's father gets along pretty well with Emma, who’s interested in his stories of travel in the army. Charles’s mom is worried that her husband will be a bad influence upon Emma, and they peace out pretty quickly.
    • One day, as Emma is going to visit the baby (who’s staying with Madame Rollet, a wetnurse in another part of town), she runs into Léon. She invites him to come with her, which causes quite the scandal among the gossips of the town.
    • The wetnurse lives in an unsavory little cottage. Léon is thrown off by the image before him, of the beautiful lady in a fancy dress surrounded by squalor. The baby makes a spectacular entrance by promptly spitting up on Emma. The visitors head out.
    • As they’re leaving, Madame Rollet comes up and wheedles the promise of some brandy out of Emma.
    • Emma and Léon head back to Yonville. They obviously have an intense connection already.
    • When they get back to town, Emma heads home, while Léon keeps wandering, pondering his boredom and the dullness of the other people he knows in town. He has quite the crush on our young Madame Bovary.
  • Part 2, Chapter 4

    • Once the winter arrives, Emma moves into the parlor from her room. She sits and people-watches all day.
    • Twice a day, she sees Léon go back and forth to and from his office.
    • Monsieur Homais continues to be an attentive neighbor; he stops by every day around dinner time to discuss the daily news with Charles and to give Emma household tips.
    • After this evening chat, Justin (Homais’ cousin/apprentice/servant boy) comes in to fetch his master. Homais pokes fun at the boy for having a crush on Félicité.
    • The pharmacist also scolds Justin for eavesdropping all the time.
    • On Sundays, the Homais household entertains the few townspeople Monsieur Homais hasn’t alienated. Léon and the Bovarys always come.
    • On these occasions, Léon is always by Emma’s side, talking to her, coaching her at card games, and looking at magazines with her.
    • Something is obviously going on between Emma and Léon. Charles, unsuspecting as ever, has no idea. At this point, Emma herself doesn’t fully realize it.
    • Léon is careful to include Charles in his thoughts, as to avoid suspicions. He gives the officier de santé a splendid phrenological head model for his birthday (a kind of bizarro medical fad of the nineteenth century – supposedly different head shapes have different meanings).
    • Léon is always willing to get things for Emma, from the latest books to a bushel of cacti.
    • Emma and Léon each have little gardens outside their windows, from which they look at each other while tending the plants.
    • To show her gratitude, Emma has a gorgeous velvet bedspread sent over to Léon…it seems like something of an extravagant present. Everyone else is sure that the pair are lovers.
    • Léon idiotically reinforces this idea by talking about Emma 24/7. Even poor Binet gets so sick of him that he snaps at the boy one day.
    • Ah, l’amour! Léon is tortured by his love for Emma, and tries to figure out how to possibly tell her. He can’t bring himself to do it.
    • Emma, on the other hand, doesn’t get all worked up; she doesn’t even try and see if she is or isn’t in love with him. Flaubert ominously ends the chapter, though, with the suggestion that one day she’ll crack and her love will be out of control.
  • Part 2, Chapter 5

    • The usual quartet is out on an odd and incredibly boring field trip. They’re visiting a new spinning mill just outside town, along with two of Homais’ unfortunately named children, Athalie and Napoléon.
    • The main attraction is generally unattractive.
    • Homais, as usual, chats up a storm. Everyone else is somewhat pensive. Emma reflects suddenly upon how irritating Charles is, even when he’s doing nothing.
    • Léon, on the other hand, looks particularly lovely to her. She begins to realize that something is happening between them.
    • Napoléon ruins the moment by generally being bratty. He’s painted his shoes white with a pile of lime that’s lying around the mill. Charles and Justin attempt to get rid of it.
    • That evening, Emma thinks about the day – and about Léon. She can’t stop envisioning his face, his mannerisms, the sound of his voice. Finally, an epiphany: Léon loves her!
    • Once she admits this to herself, Emma goes into full-out dramatic Love Overdrive. She laments fate, lolls around the house swooning left and right, and drifts about in a blissful haze. Generally, she does everything she’s read about in books.
    • The next day, Monsieur Lheureux, the dry-goods merchant (he sells things like fabric and pretty much any household item) stops by for a visit. He is quite clever and sounds, from Flaubert’s description, like a pretty shady character. Nobody knows what he was up to before he came to Yonville.
    • The merchant knows exactly what buttons to press with Emma. He talks up her elegance and refinement, then offers her a selection of dainty items to choose from. She sticks by her guns and says she doesn’t need anything, but the seed has been planted – Emma, naturally, wants pretty things.
    • Lheureux also slyly tells Emma that if she needs money, she can always borrow it from him…which doesn’t sound like such a great idea, if you ask us.
    • Emma congratulates herself on being so frugal, but she still can’t stop thinking of Monsieur Lheureux’s pretty wares.
    • Léon shows up, nervous and on edge. He wants to say something to her about his feelings, but chickens out yet again. Awkwardness ensues.
    • In the wake of the realization that she and Léon are in love, Emma attempts briefly to reform herself – she goes all serious and tries to clean up her act.
    • Emma’s good girl façade fools everyone, even Léon. He begins to wonder how he’d even hoped to get close to her. In his mind, she becomes even more spectacular and flawless.
    • Everyone admires Emma for her elegance and character. Now that she’s playing the good housewife, she floats along easily in Yonville society. However, on the inside, she conceals passionate feelings. We’re talking serious angst, here. When she’s alone, she can only think of Léon – actually, these fantasies are more enjoyable than his presence, which leaves her unsatisfied.
    • Emma wishes Léon would notice that she’s in love with him, but she’s either too lazy or too scared to make anything happen herself. She consoles herself by striking dramatic poses in the mirror and prides herself on her "virtue."
    • All of Emma’s secret troubles build up to the boiling point, and she strikes out, complaining about the littlest things, like a door left open or a dish she doesn’t enjoy.
    • She is also incredibly irritated by Charles’s dopey lack of awareness; he’s still sure that he’s making her perfectly happy. She feels underappreciated, and makes Charles the focus of all her aggression.
    • Emma’s depression returns from time to time. Félicité tries to comfort her, telling her that she once knew another girl who suffered from a similar problem – it was cured by marriage. Unfortunately for Emma, her sadness was brought on by her marriage to Charles.
  • Part 2, Chapter 6

    • Poor Emma. It’s springtime, and she finally attempts to do something to change her life. Remembering how much she loved the convent school, she goes to church to talk to Father Bournisien.
    • She finds the priest much preoccupied by the schoolboys he’s in charge of. He’s something of an irritable and unpleasant man.
    • Emma flat-out tells the priest that she’s suffering. He assumes that her suffering is physical, and asks if Charles has prescribed anything for it. When Emma attempts to explain her situation, he gets distracted by the boys again, and breaks off the conversation to yell at them.
    • This is hopeless. The priest obviously has nothing to offer Emma – they talk for a while longer, their conversation punctuated by the children. Father Bournisien eventually just dismisses Emma, telling her to go home and have a cup of tea. She leaves, disgruntled.
    • When she gets home, the stillness of the house seems to mock her. Berthe tries to come over and hug her mother. Emma (who, if you hadn’t guessed, is a terrible mother), angrily pushes the little girl away. Pushing a baby? Come on, Emma. This is a new low.
    • Poor Berthe falls and hits her head on the dresser. She starts to bleed, and Emma freaks out. She feels terrible.
    • Charles comes home, and Emma tells him that the baby fell over while she was playing. He takes care of the injury and tells Emma not to worry. Emma feels bad for a while, but her anxiety eventually wears off. She looks at Berthe dispassionately, thinking about how ugly the child is.
    • Charles, in the meanwhile, has been visiting the Homais family. Mr. and Mrs. Homais. try to cheer him up in a truly warped way, by talking about the various dangers that children face in their everyday lives. The Homais kids live in a totally child-safe household without sharp knives and with bars on the windows.
    • Léon is also around. Charles pulls him aside – the clerk worries that the doctor suspects his feelings for Emma.
    • Luckily for Léon, Charles is still the same old well-intentioned buffoon he always was. He actually wants Léon to go into Rouen for him and make some inquiries about getting a portrait of Charles made.
    • It turns out that Léon goes into the city every week – nobody knows why. Homais suspects that the young man has a secret lover there (wrong!). Nobody can figure out what Léon’s deal is.
    • Madame Lefrançois notices that he’s started leaving food on his plate at dinner. Binet suggests that Léon should take up carpentry to improve his disposition (a rather odd choice).
    • Léon’s boredom with Yonville and angst about his love for Emma are at a breaking point. However, he’s also afraid of moving away. In the end, though, he decides to leave right away for Paris, to start his studies in the big city.
    • Soon enough it’s time to go. The Homais give Léon a tearful seeing-off, but before he leaves, he goes to bid Charles and Emma farewell.
    • Charles isn’t at home, so he and Emma have a tense parting moment. He kisses baby Berthe goodbye, then he and Emma are left alone. They shake hands awkwardly – the tension is palpable.
    • Léon leaves Yonville, accompanied by the notary, Monsieur Guillaumin.
    • After he’s gone, Emma mopes around, wondering where he is. Monsieur Homais comes over to visit as usual, and they discuss Léon’s fate in Paris.
    • Homais and Charles are worried that Léon will be corrupted by the city, or else catch some horrible disease. Emma is distressed.
    • Soon enough, though, Homais acts as though nothing has happened. He heads back home merrily.
  • Part 2, Chapter 7

    • Emma sinks back into depression. Now that Léon is gone, she has nothing but her romantic fantasies left. It’s just like it was after the ball at La Vaubyessard – nothing seems good enough for her.
    • Léon becomes the center of Emma’s fantasy life – not the real Léon, mind you, but her own construction of him. Now that he’s gone, she curses herself for never giving into her love and…how shall we put this delicately…er, offering herself to him.
    • The memory of Léon becomes the center of Emma’s life; Flaubert compares this memory to a campfire burning in the middle of a desolate, snow-covered plain. Emma clings to it desperately for a while, but soon enough it dies down.
    • Eventually, the flame of Emma’s love for Léon dies completely, and she’s left in the dark. Her depression is again as intense as it was in Tostes. Emma melodramatically feels that her life will never be better now that she’s experienced something she thinks is real grief.
    • This time around, Emma attempts to console herself with material things. She goes on a shopping spree, purchasing a special prie-dieu (a kind of prayer bench), new clothes, and a variety of other pricey things. She also half-heartedly picks up some new hobbies, like learning Italian and reading "serious" books instead of novels, but quickly abandons them. She also acts with an astounding unpredictability – one day she even downs a whole glass of brandy, much to Charles’s dismay.
    • Emma is flighty and unpredictable, but she never seems to swing over to "happy." Her looks reflect her inner unhappiness, and she starts to complain about aging.
    • Her health is on the decline on the whole – one day she even spits up some blood. Charles is understandably worried, but Emma waves him off. She seems not to care whether she lives or dies.
    • Charles cares, though. This incident reduces him to tears, and the only thing he can think to do is write to his mother.
    • The elder Madame Bovary suggests rather vehemently that it’s Emma’s novels and lack of religion that make her ill – so Charles decides to keep Emma from reading them. He’s afraid to tell this to Emma himself, so his mother comes to take care of the matter. She cancels Emma’s library card herself.
    • Emma and her mother-in-law are not happy to see each other – Madame Bovary Senior leaves after three weeks of uncomfortable silence.
    • Mama Bovary leaves on a market-day and, after she’s gone, Emma hangs out her window, watching the merchants assembled sell their wares. In the crowd, she notices a real live gentleman in a fancy velvet coat. Shockingly, he’s headed towards the Bovary house.
    • The gentleman asks Justin and Félicité if Charles is available – apparently his servant isn’t feeling well and wants to be bled.
    • Charles gets Justin to help with the operation by holding a basin to catch the blood. The sight of blood is too much for both the servant and for Justin – both of them pass out cold. Emma has to come and assist with the remainder of the business.
    • Emma is undisturbed by the blood. She competently helps Charles and attempts to revive Justin. As she helps her husband, she looks particularly beautiful, even amidst all the mess.
    • Homais comes over, just as all of this is happening. He yells at Justin for hanging about the Bovary household instead of working in the pharmacy where he belongs; the boy heads back home.
    • The remaining party briefly discusses fainting – Emma has never done it. Monsieur Boulanger comments that it’s very rare that a lady should have such a strong constitution, but notes that some men are also really easily disturbed by blood.
    • Monsieur Boulanger sends his servant back home, but lingers to pay…and get a better look at Emma.
    • He’s shocked by how beautiful and graceful Emma is, and can’t believe that she’s married to Charles. We get the idea that Rodolphe Boulanger is bad, bad news. He’s handsome, brutish, and intelligent – a dangerous combination. Furthermore, he’s a real womanizer. Emma is out of her league with this guy.
    • Rodolphe decides to seduce Emma. He’s incredibly arrogant about it – he thinks he has her all figured out. Unfortunately, he’s right.
  • Part 2, Chapter 8

    • It’s a big day for little Yonville – the town fair. Everyone in the town is up early to set up for it. Binet, who doubles as the captain of the fire brigade, is all gussied up. The whole town is looking its best.
    • The only person who’s not too thrilled about all of this is Madame Lefrançois. Homais stops to chat with her, and she cheers up a little when she finds out that he’s on the fair advisory committee (he got there through a dubious claim that his knowledge of chemistry gives him advanced knowledge of farming).
    • Homais keeps talking, but his audience is not listening. We follow Madame Lefrançois’ gaze and see what has put her in such a foul mood – the town’s other tavern, her rival, is full of singing people. These good days won’t last too long, though; she tells Homais that she heard that Tellier, the barkeep, was in such great debt to Monsieur Lheureux that the tavern was going to be shut down the following week.
    • From the perspective of these gossiping neighbors, we see Emma and Rodolphe a little ways off, talking to Monsieur Lheureux. Rodolphe is obviously planning on making his move already – unlike Léon, he’s a pretty smooth operator.
    • Homais goes over to say hello, but Rodolphe manages to avoid him. He regards Emma as they walk along – he’s pleased with what he sees.
    • Monsieur Lheureux attempts to follow them and maintain their conversation, but they get rid of him quickly. Rodolphe immediately launches his attack and starts flirting openly with Emma once they’re alone.
    • The townspeople are assembled for various agricultural competitions. Rodolphe is supposed to participate in the judging, but he has other things on his mind. He turns all his attention to Emma, who responds eagerly to him.
    • He knows exactly what buttons to push – they talk about the frustrations of provincial life, the loneliness of existence…basically, all of Emma’s favorite subjects.
    • Their conversation is interrupted by the entrance of the fire brigade and the start of the awards ceremony. A government official, Monsieur Lieuvain, arrives to dole out the prizes; he gives a long, long, loooong speech about the government, the country.
    • While this is going on, Emma and Rodolphe continue their intimate conversation. Rodolphe claims that the only true duty is to enjoy what’s beautiful about life, and reject the conventions of society.
    • Emma feebly tries to argue that society’s moral standards are important, but Rodolphe shoots her down promptly. He’s the clear winner here; Emma is toast.
    • Monsieur Lieuvain, in the meanwhile, just keeps talking and talking. He’s full of governmental rhetoric, but he’s basically not talking about anything. Despite this fact, the whole town (except for Emma and Rodolphe) is enraptured by him.
    • Rodolphe quickly wins Emma over. All of her feelings about Léon, the Viscount at the ball, and her loneliness come rushing back, and re-focus on Rodolphe. She’s smitten.
    • Finally, Monsieur Lieuvain wraps up his speech. Another speech begins, and Rodolphe continues to woo Emma all the while.
    • Agricultural prizes are given for things as diverse as pigs, liquid manure (gross), and drainage. Simultaneously (in an inspired moment of truly ridiculous juxtaposition), Rodolphe declares his love for Emma.
    • The prizes, and the wooing, conclude with the awarding of a prize for long service, which is awarded to a confused little old woman. Flaubert describes this woman, Catherine Leroux, with rather excruciating detail; she’s obviously been broken down by years of hard work. She says that she will give her prize money to the priest, which offends Homais.
    • Following this ludicrous ceremony, a big feast begins. The townspeople, in a frenzy of communal gluttony, all stuff themselves.
    • Rodolphe isn’t interested in the food – he’s thinking of Emma and of the pleasure he’ll get from her in the future. Emma is off with Charles and the Homais family.
    • The grand finale of the festival is a display of fireworks – unfortunately, they’re too damp, and they barely go off. The evening ends rather anti-climactically, and everyone drifts back home.
    • Homais proceeds to write an enthusiastic, over-the-top article about the fiesta, and publish it in a Rouen paper.
  • Part 2, Chapter 9

    • Six weeks have passed since the fair. Rodolphe hasn’t seen Emma again; at first, he just didn’t want to show up to see her right away, and decided to go on a hunting trip. However, this trip lasted a lot longer than he’d planned and, now that he’s back, he’s worried that he missed his window of opportunity.
    • He decides to give it a shot anyway and visit Emma, hoping that absence has indeed made the heart grow fonder.
    • Again, he’s right. He can immediately tell that Emma’s still totally into him. He plays his absence up melodramatically, claiming that he had to tear himself away from her. Rodolphe is a total drama king (and liar), and he theatrically wins Emma over with highfalutin’ words and extravagant declarations of passion.
    • Emma is totally swept off her feet by Rodolphe’s calculated attack. She allows herself to bask in the glow of his romantic words. However, as he continues to ham it up, they hear Charles arrive at the house. The two lovers immediately switch back into polite neighbor mode.
    • Rodolphe, ever the resourceful one, asks Charles if it might do Emma some good to take up horseback riding to improve her health. Of course, he will accompany her himself.
    • Charles thinks this is a splendid idea, and he and Rodolphe make all the arrangements. Emma, in a contrary mood, resists – however, Charles convinces her by saying that she can order a new riding outfit.
    • The next day, Rodolphe shows up promptly at noon on horseback, with a second horse in tow for Emma. After a brief warning about safety from Monsieur Homais, they’re off.
    • The pair ride off into the countryside. They get a good view of the village from up higher – to Emma, Yonville has never looked so small and miserable.
    • They venture deeper and deeper into the forest. They dismount and Rodolphe ties up the horses so they can walk into the woods unhampered. As they go, he keeps his eyes on the sliver of white stocking that show between her skirt and boots – to him, it seems like naked skin.
    • Rodolphe and Emma reach a clearing and, once they’re settled down, he starts to woo her once more…this time more seriously.
    • Emma puts up some resistance – but not too much. She gives in to his advances and, as Flaubert says, "abandons" herself to him. We all know what that means.
    • After the deed is done, Rodolphe and Emma head back to Yonville slowly. Everything seems different to her now.
    • Rodolphe is legitimately charmed by her – after all, she’s quite lovely.
    • Emma feels as though everyone is looking at her as they ride through town.
    • At dinner, Charles tells her that he’s purchased a horse of her very own. Little does he know what’s really going on…
    • Emma escapes from dinner early and goes upstairs to think over her situation in privacy. She even thinks she looks different – and she feels as though her real life is finally starting.
    • From the next day on, Emma and Rodolphe are committed to each other (at least, she’s committed to him, and believes him when he says loves her).
    • They do the stereotypical things people having affairs do – exchange notes, have secret rendezvous, etc.
    • Emma is blissfully happy. She even runs out in the early morning (after Charles has left on an early call) and races over to La Huchette to see her lover.
    • After this risky business goes on for a while, Rodolphe protests that she’s getting too careless. Is he really concerned, or can it be that he’s getting sick of her? Hmm…
  • Part 2, Chapter 10

    • This warning from Rodolphe begins to worry Emma – and one day, she encounters Binet illegally duck hunting. He has his own worries, since he’s breaking the law, but Emma begins to fear that he will tell everyone he saw her gadding about in the wee hours of the morning.
    • She stresses out about this all day. In the evening, Charles insists that they go get something to perk herself up from Monsieur Homais.
    • While they’re at the pharmacist’s, they happen to run into Binet, who makes a knowing comment about the humid weather, referencing their encounter that morning in the mist.
    • This alarms Emma. She’s relieved when Binet leaves.
    • The Binet incident makes Emma and Rodolphe rethink their meeting strategy. They decide that Rodolphe will look for a safe place to meet. In the meanwhile, they meet late at night in the back garden of the Bovarys’ house, after Charles has gone to sleep (doesn’t that seem a little risky, too?).
    • Léon is all but forgotten by this time.
    • One night, Emma hears someone coming, and worries that it’s Charles. She asks Rodolphe if he has pistols with which to defend himself against her husband. Rodolphe finds this concern absurd and in poor taste. In fact, he’s beginning to find many of Emma’s demands and goings-on rather vulgar.
    • Emma’s ridiculously romantic fantasies run wild with Rodolphe. She makes him exchange little tokens of love and locks of hair, and demands that they get a real wedding ring as a symbol of their devotion.
    • All of this irritates Rodolphe, but he’s still drawn to her – he can’t believe how pretty and charming she can be. However, he stops putting forth as much effort soon enough, and their affair loses its initial quality of excitement and oomph.
    • By the time spring rolls around, the affair has cooled to a markedly un-steamy temperature. The two of them are like a married couple.
    • Monsieur Rouault sends his customary anniversary turkey to celebrate the healing of his broken leg. With it comes a letter – reading it reminds Emma of the days of her childhood in the country. Looking back, those days seem idyllic to her now. She wonders what has made her adult life so difficult.
    • For a brief moment, looking at her innocent young daughter, Emma actually loves little Berthe.
    • Rodolphe is definitely sick of Emma by now. They treat each other indifferently – Emma in an attempt to win him back and Rodolphe because he genuinely feels like their affair is over.
    • Rejected and dejected, Emma repents for her adulterous actions – she even goes so far as to wish she could love Charles. In addition, Homais happens to give Charles the opportunity to become a more interesting man at this fortuitous time…
  • Part 2, Chapter 11

    • It turns out that Homais is all excited about some article on curing clubfeet. He’s convinced that Charles should attempt to fix the clubfoot of Hippolyte, a servant at Madame Lefrançois’s inn.
    • Emma is easily convinced. She hopes that the operation will earn Charles some respect and extra cash. This helps a lot with her resolution to stay with him.
    • Charles, despite his profound lack of medical talent, agrees to do it. He prepares for the operation by reading and attempting to understand it, while Homais works on getting Hippolyte himself to agree.
    • Hippolyte gives in to the pharmacist’s goading (and that of the rest of the town, who all feel involved in this process), and accepts the operation.
    • Charles, in the meanwhile, is having a heck of a time figuring out how to fix Hippolyte’s disfigured leg. He’s clearly confused and concerned, but goes ahead gamely anyway. He ends up cutting poor Hippolyte’s Achilles tendon, thinking that it’s the right thing to do. Ugh, just thinking of it gives us the chills.
    • After the operation, which appears at first to be a success, Emma actually voluntarily embraces Charles. The two of them are happier together than we’ve ever seen them. She is finally able to muster up a little bit of affection for poor Charles, who she now views as an up-and-coming surgeon in the making.
    • Homais busily writes up the operation for the Rouen paper, claiming that it’s a complete success.
    • However, this honeymoon period doesn’t last. Five days after the operation, Madame Lefrançois bursts in, claiming that Hippolyte is dying. Charles and Homais rush off to see what’s wrong.
    • Gaah! What isn’t wrong would be a better question. Hippolyte’s foot is a disgusting mass of infection, trapped within the bizarre torture device Charles strapped it into. Ignoring Hippolyte's claims of incredible pain, they put him back in the apparatus.
    • Three days later, though, the infection is way, way worse – it’s so disgusting we don’t even want to tell you about it here. Seriously. GROSS.
    • Everyone tries to make Hippolyte feel better, except for the peasants who come to the inn to play billiards. They just make him feel worse, and tell him that he smells bad.
    • Actually, that’s not just a taunt – it’s true. The gangrenous leg reeks up a storm. Hippolyte is in total despair, but Charles, who has no clue how to fix it, just tells him to eat more lightly (what?).
    • To make matters even worse, Father Bournisien comes over to harass the crippled man about his lack of religion. We’re sure it didn’t exactly make Hippolyte feel any better.
    • Finally, Madame Lefrançois, worried about the lack of improvement, send for Monsieur Canivet, a real M.D. from Neufchâtel.
    • Canivet, who is, unlike Charles, an actual doctor, laughs contemptuously when he sees Hippolyte’s condition, and says what everyone should have known by now – the leg must be amputated. He complains to Homais about practitioners (like Charles) who make use of ridiculous procedures without a thought about the patients…or victims, rather.
    • Homais feels bad, but chooses not to defend Charles – after all, Monsieur Canivet is an important man.
    • The amputation is a big event for the village. Everyone is quite excited, except, presumably, for Hippolyte. Poor guy.
    • Canivet struts into the town, confident in his own abilities. He derides officiers de santé like Charles, claiming that they ruin the reputation of doctors everywhere.
    • Speaking of our old friend, Charles stays at home, miserable, embarrassed, and guilty for the part he’s played in Hippolyte’s disaster.
    • Emma sits by him, humiliated and angry. She’s mad at herself for even hoping that Charles could be anything but mediocre.
    • This is the last straw for Emma. She can’t believe she ever felt bad for cheating on Charles.
    • The angry tension of the Bovary household is broken by a horrifying shriek that echoes through the village. The amputation is underway.
    • Charles and Emma stare at each other through the sounds of Hippolyte’s screams – and to Emma, everything about her husband disgusts her. Her feelings for Rodolphe come rushing back, and it’s as though Charles is permanently alienated from her life from this point on.
    • The operation is apparently over – they see Canivet and Homais leave the inn and return to the pharmacy.
    • Despairing, Charles asks Emma to kiss him. She refuses him violently, and flees the room.
    • Charles has no clue what’s going on.
    • That night, Emma and Rodolphe are reunited in the garden – they kiss passionately, their affair back in full bloom.
  • Part 2, Chapter 12

    • Emma and Rodolphe’s relationship is passionate again. Sometimes Emma misses Rodolphe so badly that she sends Justin to fetch him in the middle of the day.
    • On one such day, she suggests that the two of them run off and live somewhere else. Rodolphe doesn’t understand why she’s so serious over something as trivial as a love affair.
    • Emma really is serious, though. The more she loves Rodolphe, the more she hates Charles – in comparison to her lover, her husband seems impossibly dull, crude, and generally icky.
    • Emma’s vanity really emerges here; to keep herself looking good for Rodolphe, she spends all her time thinking about her appearance and making her room ready for his visits.
    • Félicité is busy all day washing lingerie for Emma. While she does the laundry, she chats to Justin, who’s always hanging around. He’s fascinated by the assortment of mysterious feminine garments.
    • Emma’s spending is clearly getting out of control. Her closets are full of shoes, which she frequently throws away and replaces. Charles doesn’t make a peep about any of this.
    • He also doesn’t complain about the purchase of a beautiful, super-fancy prosthetic leg that Emma insists they get for Hippolyte. He’s awed by the glory of this leg, and they get him plainer one for everyday wear. Hippolyte quickly goes back to work, and Charles feels guilty every time he hears the stableboy tap-tapping his ways along the street on his false leg.
    • Monsieur Lheureux is Emma’s new constant companion. He talks to her endlessly about the fads in Paris, and she gives in, ordering item after item. For a while, she feels safe like this – he never asks for money.
    • One day, however, after Emma purchases a beautiful riding crop for Rodolphe, Lheureux suddenly shows up with a giant bill. Emma’s not sure what to do – she doesn’t have any money. In fact, there’s no money in the whole house. She manages to put him off for a little while, but the merchant soon loses patience.
    • Desperately, Emma tells him to take back the things she’s bought for him. Craftily, he tells her that he only really needs the riding crop back – and he offers to ask Charles to return it. Based on her panicked reaction, he figures out the truth: she’s having an affair.
    • Fortunately, a big payment comes in just in time from one of Charles’s patients. When Lheureux returns for his money, ready to strike some kind of devilish deal, he’s shocked to see Emma offer him payment in full.
    • Unfortunately, this means that the household is short on money. Emma puts this little fact out of her mind for the time being.
    • Rodolphe continues to receive extravagant gifts from his mistress, which is actually really ridiculous, since he’s the wealthy one. In addition to the riding crop, she gives him a ring, a scarf, and an embroidered cigar case like the one Charles found on the road. Rodolphe is embarrassed by the lavish presents, but accepts them anyway.
    • Emma keeps making her same old foolishly romantic demands – and again, Rodolphe starts to get a little sick of it. They fight and make up over and over again; Emma lavishes praise on him, and pledges her unending devotion.
    • Rodolphe, who’s much more of a cynic than she is, gets fed up her melodramatic declarations.
    • Rodolphe starts to cultivate new pleasures in his relationship with Emma – he seems to enjoy corrupting her and forcing her to be compliant to him. She wallows in her infatuation for him, giving in to his desires.
    • Emma kind of loses it under Rodolphe’s influence. She stops caring about what people think, and starts acting like what one might call a "loose woman," to use a rather outdated phrase. She starts smoking in public and wearing daringly "mannish" clothes.
    • The worst of it comes when Charles’s mother visits. The two women, whose relationship is already in the dumps, get into a huge fight over Félicité, of all people. Old Madame Bovary discovered Félicité with a man (gasp!) in the house in the dead of night, and accuses Emma of being immoral. Emma takes this as a class issue, claiming that her mother-in-law is just an unsophisticated, narrow-minded peasant. She tells the older woman to get out of the house.
    • Poor Charles is caught in the crossfire between the two domineering women in his life once more. He helplessly tries to make things better.
    • Emma gives in and apologizes to her mother-in-law – but she certainly doesn’t mean it.
    • She puts up an emergency signal for Rodolphe; he comes to see what’s the matter, and she launches into the whole story and begs him to take her away. He doesn’t exactly say yes or no.
    • For the next few days, Emma acts like a new woman. She’s completely docile, and even asks her mother-in-law for a recipe. Is it possible that this new behavior is for the benefit of Charles and his mom, or that it’s to convince herself more fully of the repressive demands of her everyday life? No – the truth is that she’s so swept up in the fantasy of running away with Rodolphe that she simply doesn’t even notice anything around her.
    • Emma keeps bringing up the idea of escape with Rodolphe, imagining scene after scene of their flight from Yonville.
    • Emma is more beautiful than ever. Poor Charles is even more in love with her than ever.
    • Charles indulges for the first time in his own flights of fancy. His dreams are centered around Emma and Berthe. He imagines an impossible future in which everyone lives happily ever after; he envisions Berthe growing as beautiful as her mother, and can almost see the two of them together, almost like sisters rather than mother and daughter.
    • In the meanwhile, on the other side of the bed, Emma sees herself escaping with Rodolphe, fleeing to a new country full of fantastical, almost mythological landscapes. She doesn’t imagine anything specific. In fact, her vision of the future seems almost as consistent as her monotonous present, with one significant difference: in this future, she’ll be blissfully happy.
    • In preparation for her supposed elopement with Rodolphe, Emma orders a long cloak and traveling trunk from Monsieur Lheureux. He figures she’s had a fight with Charles.
    • Emma gives her watch to Lheureux to sell in exchange for these goods.
    • Rodolphe and Emma actually set a date – they will leave the next month. She plans to make like she’s going to Rouen to do some shopping, but will instead meet Rodolphe, who will have made all the travel arrangements for them to flee to Italy. Everything looks like it’s actually falling into place.
    • There’s no mention of what will happen to little Berthe – Rodolphe hopes that Emma will just forget about her.
    • Weeks pass – Rodolphe delays the trip for various reasons. All of August passes, and they decide that they will absolutely, positively leave on Monday, September 4.
    • The Saturday before the trip, Rodolphe stops by. He’s looking sad and particularly tender. They swear that they love each other once more.
    • Rodolphe suggests that there’s still time to change her mind, but Emma is sure: she is ready to leave Yonville behind.
    • Rodolphe takes his leave of Emma. On his way home, he stops, filled with emotion. We discover – surprise, surprise – that he intends to desert her. He’s tempted to go through with the plan – but no, he won’t. Rodolphe is no fool, and he doesn’t intend to become one.
  • Part 2, Chapter 13

    • His mind made up, Rodolphe returns home to La Huchette and sits down to write a farewell letter to Emma.
    • He sifts through the various tokens of love affairs past that he’s accumulated through many years of being a ladies’ man. All of the women he’s had in the past blur together in his mind – now Emma is just one of them.
    • Rodolphe gets down to business. He writes a truly melodramatic, ostentatiously noble letter to Emma, telling her that he can’t allow himself to ruin her life, blah blah blah. Suddenly the "fate" that supposedly brought them together before is now responsible for tearing them apart.
    • To avoid having to face her again, he writes that he’s going on a long trip.
    • The letter finished, Rodolphe is quite proud of himself. He even puts some false tearstains on the paper. This guy is just too much.
    • The next day, Rodolphe wakes up late, and has Girard, one of his servants, take the letter to Emma, concealed in the bottom of a basket of apricots.
    • Upon receiving basket, Emma is overcome with emotion – she finds the letter, immediately understands what its purpose is, and rushes to her room to read it.
    • Charles is there, so she flees madly, running to the attic. There, she forces herself to finish the horrible letter. Her feelings are all over the place – she feels desperately as though she might as well hurl herself out the window onto the pavement below.
    • Fortunately, Charles calls her from downstairs. She returns to herself, shocked that she narrowly avoided death.
    • It’s dinnertime. Félicité comes to fetch her mistress; Emma is forced to go downstairs and go through with the farce of eating. It’s torture.
    • To make matters worse, Charles even brings up Rodolphe, mentioning that he’d heard from Girard that the gentleman is going on a trip.
    • Then, just when Emma doesn’t think that things can possibly be more horrible, Félicité brings in the basket of apricots. Charles eats one, and tries to force Emma to, as well.
    • This is too much to handle – Emma almost swoons. Charles tries to calm her, but then she sees Rodolphe’s carriage pass by the window. She passes out.
    • Monsieur Homais runs over when he hears chaos break out in the Bovary house. He brings some vinegar back to revive the unconscious woman.
    • Emma comes back from her faint briefly – Charles, freaking out, tries to get her to hold Berthe. Emma promptly passes out again.
    • Charles puts Emma to bed. He and Homais try and determine what could have possibly brought on this attack. Homais puts it down to the scent of the apricots.
    • Emma stays sick for a really long time. Charles stays by her side for forty-three days in a row – like we said, a really long time.
    • He calls in backup; Dr. Canivet is called, as well as Charles’s old teacher, Dr. Larivière.
    • Emma doesn’t say anything or give any indication of what’s causing all of this.
    • By the middle of October, Emma feels well enough to sit up in bed – she starts to eat a little bit, and even gets out of bed for a few hours of the day. She recovers slowly, then relapses.
    • Charles worries that she may have cancer.
    • To make it even worse, there’s no money.
  • Part 2, Chapter 14

    • You have to feel bad for Charles. Life is not being particularly kind to him.
    • First of all, he has to pay all kinds of bills, he owes his friend Homais for all the drugs he’s taken from the pharmacy for Emma.
    • To top it all off, Monsieur Lheureux is on his case now. The merchant tries to pull a fast one over on the poor doctor, claiming that Emma ordered two trunks instead of one, and demanding payment for everything. Lheureux threatens to sue if Charles doesn’t pay up.
    • The solution is not a solution after all: Lheureux agrees to accept a promissory note (a kind of fancy legal I.O.U. with interest) to be paid up six months later. Charles then has what he thinks is a brilliant idea – uh oh. He asks to borrow a thousand francs from Lheureux, which he will pay plus interest after a year. Lheureux, of course, agrees.
    • Lheureux stands to make quite a profit from Charles’s predicament. He hopes the doctor won’t be able to pay up, so he can get in even deeper debt. We are starting to worry…a lot.
    • Everything is looking up for the shady Monsieur Lheureux. He’s feeling pretty good about himself.
    • Charles, on the other hand, is feeling pretty darn bad, understandably. He doesn’t know how he’ll ever manage to pay back the merchant. The poor guy also feels guilty about worrying about money when he should be worrying about Emma full time.
    • Emma slowly recovers from her shock.
    • Winter arrives – it’s a particularly harsh year. As spring approaches, her days fall into a dull, monotonous pattern.
    • Father Bournisien starts to visit Emma, thinking that it’s probably a good time for her to start praying.
    • In her desperation, Emma takes great comfort in the priest’s visits. At the peak of her illness, she asks for Holy Communion; when she receives the Communion wafer, she imagines an over-the-top, super-romanticized vision of heaven, which she then clings to. This is fascinatingly similar to the way in which she clung to the memory of Léon when he left – clearly she’s using religion to fill the void left by romance.
    • She resolves to become a saint.
    • Father Bournisien is impressed by her zeal, albeit a little freaked out by it (he wonders if she’s going a little mad – he obviously just doesn’t know Emma that well). He has a variety of religious books sent to Yonville for Emma’s edification.
    • Emma attempts to read this odd collection of texts (one title we liked particularly is The Errors of Voltaire, for the Use of Young People); she doesn’t really buy into all of them, but keeps gamely at them, believing herself to be the best Catholic ever.
    • She puts her love for Rodolphe aside, and replaces it with an obsessive love of God, whom she addresses in the same way she used to address her lover. That seriously can’t be right.
    • Emma is in full religious overdrive for the moment. She devotes her time to charity, and is so docile that even her acerbic mother-in-law can’t find a flaw in her. For the first time, she’s actually kind and gentle with Berthe.
    • In general, Emma seems like she and the world are getting along fairly well for the first time. Even the other housewives of the town accept her again and come and visit.
    • The Homais children and Justin are also frequent visitors. Justin, we learn, is nurturing an intense crush on Emma.
    • Emma grows gradually more and more introspective. She stops receiving visitors, and even stops going to church. Father Bournisien keeps visiting, but he mostly just hangs out with Charles and Binet (who likes to fish close by), drinking cider and chatting.
    • Homais, of course, has a suggestion. He tells Charles to take Emma to the opera in Rouen, where a famous tenor is performing. The pharmacist is pleasantly surprised to see that the priest doesn’t object; however, they quickly get into a fight about whether music is more or less moral than literature.
    • Homais tries to involve Charles, who wants nothing to do with the argument.
    • After the priest leaves, Homais again encourages Charles to take Emma to the opera. He brings it up with her, and insists that they go.
    • The very next morning, the couple boards the Hirondelle and heads into Rouen. As usual, Homais bids them farewell, telling Emma she’ll be a hit in Rouen in her pretty dress.
    • Upon arrival in Rouen, Charles rushes off to get tickets (which he fumbles, but eventually resolves), while Emma does some shopping. Before they know it, it’s time for the show to start.
  • Part 2, Chapter 15

    • The opera is Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, a tragedy in which an unfortunate heroine is driven mad because she’s forced to marry the wrong man. Perhaps not the best choice for Emma…
    • Emma and Charles take a stroll before the opera, and when they finally settle down in their seats, Emma feels satisfied for the first time in a long while. Waiting for the show to start, she admires her fellow audience-members.
    • The opera immediately transports Emma back to the romantic novels of Sir Walter Scott she enjoyed as a girl (the opera was based upon book called The Bride of Lammermoor by Scott). She feels the music reverberate in her soul – it sounds like the old Emma is back.
    • The famous tenor recommended by Homais, Edgar Lagardy, makes a dramatic entrance onstage. Emma is struck by his appearance, and the whole audience falls for him.
    • Emma sees her own story in the narrative that unfolds before her. She thinks that nobody has ever loved her the way that the hero and heroine love each other.
    • Charles doesn’t really get what’s going on, and he keeps bugging Emma with questions. She’s not amused.
    • A wedding scene unfolds on stage, and Emma thinks of her own wedding – she wishes that she, like the opera’s heroine, had resisted and not married Charles.
    • As things get more and more dramatic onstage, they also get more and more dramatic in Emma’s mind. She imagines what it would be like to be the lover of Lagardy, the tenor. She is swept up in the fantasy of running away with the singer across Europe when the curtain falls; it’s intermission.
    • Charles runs off clumsily to get Emma something to drink. On his way back, he manages to spill the drink on a very upset lady, but makes it back to Emma somehow.
    • Charles has big news. While he was away, he saw someone we haven’t encountered for a while: Léon Dupuis.
    • Before Charles even finishes telling Emma about his encounter, Léon himself shows up in their box. He and Emma shake hands and start catching up; just then, Act III of the opera begins.
    • Emma is no longer interested in the drama onstage, now that there’s some drama sitting right next to her. All of her pre-Rodolphe feelings start to return.
    • Léon obviously feels something, too – he suggests that they leave the theatre and go elsewhere to talk. Charles, who’s actually kind of into the opera now, doesn’t want to go, but Emma insists.
    • At a café, they eat ice cream and make small talk. Léon attempts to show off by discussing music – he claims that Lagardy isn’t all he’s cracked up to be.
    • Charles, who’s still bummed about missing the end of the performance, suggests that perhaps Emma might like to stay in Rouen by herself for a couple of days and see the opera again. Léon, of course, encourages this.
    • Emma demurely makes no promises – she smiles oddly, knowing that something’s up with Léon. She and Charles will decide overnight what she should do.
    • The old friends part ways, with the clerk promising to visit Yonville soon.
  • Part 3, Chapter 1

    • A lot of things happened to Léon in Paris. First of all, he studied law. Secondly, he studied women. He’s no longer the same shy boy he was before. All along, he held on to a vague hope that someday he and Emma might actually get together, even while he had new experiences with other women.
    • This new Léon is resolved to "possess" Emma. He’s determined and much craftier than he used to be. He follows Emma and Charles to their inn, then returns the next morning to scout out the situation. He discovers Emma in the hotel room…alone.
    • Léon has become something of a sweet-talker over the past few years. Perhaps he’s not at the same level as Rodolphe, but he’s getting up there. He and Emma talk and talk about the various sorrows of their lives. Sigh. Same old, same old.
    • Noticeably, Emma doesn’t say anything about loving another man, and Léon doesn’t say anything about kind of forgetting Emma.
    • Both of them make dramatic claims, each saying that life is miserable without the other.
    • Basically, this love scene is just one big string of complaints – there’s nothing romantic about that. Finally, Léon gives in and says out loud that he was in love with her.
    • All of a sudden the tension is broken, and old feelings come rushing out, created anew by their current proximity. Emma is startled by how much she remembers – she feels old and experienced.
    • They talk until night falls.
    • Léon suggests that they could start over again, but Emma, attempting to be noble, says that she’s too old and he’s too young (they actually aren’t that different in age, if at all).
    • It’s late – they’ve even missed the opera. Léon gets up to leave, but convinces Emma to meet him one more time. She makes their meeting point the famous Rouen cathedral.
    • That night, Emma writes a farewell letter of her own, explaining to Léon why they can’t be together. However, she can’t send it, since she doesn’t have his address. She decides to give it to him in person.
    • Before the rendezvous, Léon primps nervously. He even buys Emma flowers, and goes to meet her at the cathedral.
    • There, he’s met not by Emma, but by a cathedral guide, who attempts to give Léon a tour.
    • Emma’s late, and Léon grows more anxious. Finally, she arrives. She starts to give him the letter, but is seized by the desire to pray. Léon is both charmed and irritated.
    • As they’re about to leave, the guide comes up and offers to give them a tour again. Emma, concerned for her virtue, desperately says yes.
    • They follow the guide, not listening, through the cathedral and back to where they started. Before they get to the tower, Léon basically hurls a coin at the poor guide and pulls Emma away with him. The guide doesn’t get the picture – he just keeps coming back. The couple flees the cathedral rather comically.
    • Outside, Léon sends a little street kid to find a cab for them. Awkwardly, they wait alone – there’s a kind of aggressive tension between them.
    • The cab arrives. They get in as the cathedral guy yells at them from the church door, and Léon tells the driver to go wherever he wants.
    • The following is one of the most famous scenes of the novel. We see the cab rushing through Rouen aimlessly; we can’t see inside it, but we can, however, guess what’s going on…Léon keeps yelling up to the driver to keep going; he and Emma stay concealed in the cab.
    • The poor cab driver is tired and certainly weirded out. His horses are exhausted, and everyone’s demoralized. The passengers, however, give no sign.
    • Around mid-afternoon, a hand is seen throwing scraps of paper out the window; we assume it’s Emma bidding farewell to the well-intentioned farewell letter.
    • Finally, in the early evening, the cab stops. Emma calmly steps out of it and walks away.
  • Part 3, Chapter 2

    • Emma returns to the inn, and finds that she’s missed the Hirondelle, which was there to pick her up earlier. She hires a cab and catches up to the stagecoach. She returns home.
    • Once there, Félicité sends her next door to the Homais house, saying that it’s urgent.
    • It’s jam making day in Yonville, a particularly hectic time.
    • At chez Homais, Emma discovers the pharmacist’s family in an uproar. It turns out that Justin almost made a fatal mistake – he almost used a pan for jam that was dangerously close to the jar of arsenic.
    • Homais is unbelievably angry; his wife and the children freak out, as though they’d already been poisoned. Emma observes all this, as Homais goes through the whole chain of events again.
    • Poor Justin. Things just go from bad to worse for him. As Homais shakes him back and forth angrily, a book falls out of his pocket. Not just any book…a book called Conjugal Love. With pictures. The children are struck dumb, and Homais snatches it away furiously.
    • At this point, Emma successfully breaks into the conversation. She asks what’s wrong.
    • Homais bluntly tells her that her father-in-law, the elder Monsieur Bovary, is dead.
    • Emma goes to find Charles as Homais cools down a bit, still grumbling.
    • Charles has been waiting for his wife, and tearfully greets her with a hug and kiss. Emma, remembering Léon, is grossed out by her husband. She responds with an extraordinary lack of sympathy.
    • Charles, poor man, just thinks that Emma is struck by grief, when in reality, she just doesn’t know what to say, and doesn’t feel anything.
    • Hippolyte limps in, bringing Emma’s bags. Emma is embarrassed as ever by his presence, a symbol of Charles’s failures.
    • The next day, Charles’s mother arrives. Mother and son are debilitated by grief; Emma is unmoved. Instead, she’s daydreaming about Léon.
    • Monsieur Lheureux, who seems to have an incredible radar system for knowing the absolute worst time for stopping by, stops by.
    • The merchant and Emma step aside to discuss business. Lheureux slyly proposes another lending arrangement – knowing that Emma is a fool with money, he wants Charles to give her power of attorney (basically control over their financial situation), so he can deal with her.
    • Soon enough, he returns with yards of black fabric for a mourning dress.
    • Lheureux keeps pushing Emma about the whole power of attorney business, which she doesn’t really understand. However, she figures things out soon enough.
    • As soon as Charles’s mother leaves, Emma goes into financier mode. She has a document drawn up by the notary, which gives her control over the family’s money and loans.
    • Charles is amazed by what seems like Emma’s common sense. She slyly suggests that they should have someone else look over the notarized document before they sign it – and Charles himself sends her to Rouen to meet with Léon. She’s gone for three days.
  • Part 3, Chapter 3

    • Those three days are like heaven. Emma and Léon stay in a waterfront hotel, doing nothing but enjoying each other’s company. Emma is happier than she’s been since Rodolphe.
    • One day, on a boat ride, Emma is actually reminded of Rodolphe – the boatman mentions giving a ride to a gentleman of his appearance. She shudders, but gets over it quickly.
    • The holiday has to end, though. Emma tells Léon to send letters to her to the home of Madame Rollet, the former wetnurse.
    • As Léon makes his way home, having deposited Emma at the stagecoach, he wonders idly why she is so determined to get the power of attorney.
  • Part 3, Chapter 4

    • Léon is just as into the affair as Emma is. He reads her letters voraciously, and gets sick of his job; instead, he thinks about his mistress.
    • One weekend, he misses Emma so much he actually visits Yonville. The townspeople are glad to see him. He stays in the Lion d’Or, Madame Lefrançois’s inn, waiting for an opportune moment to see his love.
    • On the second night of his visit, he’s finally able to see her – in the same place she used to meet Rodolphe. They lament the difficulty of life…it’s so hard to be apart!
    • Emma gets more and more cunning; she meets with Madame Rollet to get her letters, orders tons of new items from Monsieur Lheureux, and even hatches a sly plan to get Charles to send her to Rouen once a week.
    • Under the false pretenses of picking up her music again, she complains about her lack of skill with the piano. She wheedles Charles into agreeing to pay for lessons in Rouen.
  • Part 3, Chapter 5

    • Thursdays are Emma’s Rouen days. She leaves on the Hirondelle at an ungodly hour of the morning, excited and anxious to see her lover.
    • When she arrives, Léon comes to meet her. The two go to the same hotel room every week, and spend all day in bed, drinking champagne, eating, talking, and generally enjoying each other.
    • Léon is enchanted both by Emma herself and by the idea that he has a real, live mistress.
    • The end of their days together come fast, and each week they dramatically part. Before heading home in the Hirondelle, Emma gets her hair done in preparation for her return home.
    • The stagecoach encounters a particularly unfortunate beggar on its trip – a blind man, whose horrifically infected eye-sockets are described in excruciating detail. Emma is afraid of him, though Hivert makes fun of the poor man.
    • Charles is always waiting at home for Emma; she despairs on the inside upon arriving back in Yonville. She starts to care less about things at home, and never even yells at Félicité anymore.
    • Justin still hangs around, attempting be useful, and cultivating his crush on Emma.
    • The rest of the week passes in a haze of longing, until Emma and Léon are together again.
    • In the safety of their hotel room, the lovers talk about their hopes, dreams, and fears; Emma admits to Léon that she has loved another man who left.
    • Emma begins to think again about Paris, and wonders if they might be happier there.
    • At home, Emma is extra careful to make Charles happy. Once, he almost finds something out – he ran into the woman that Emma supposedly takes piano lessons from, and she didn’t know anything about Emma.
    • Emma, afraid of being found out, makes up an excuse, then shows up later with a receipt for the lessons. From then on, it’s just lies, lies, lies.
    • Emma decides to take an extra hotel room in Rouen, just in case she encounters someone from the village in the city.
    • One day, Monsieur Lheureux catches up to her, asking for all the money the Bovarys owe him.
    • As always, he’s thought of a temporary way out, through which he will certainly profit. He knows about a small piece of property Charles inherited, and encourages Emma to sell it. Since she has power of attorney, she has the right to do so. He’s even lined up a buyer, a man called Langlois.
    • The sale goes through quickly, and Lheureux assures Emma she did the right thing. She attempts to pay him back, but he instead gives her four more promissory notes.
    • Oh no! Emma and Charles just keep sinking deeper and deeper into debt. This is getting scary. Despite the thousands of francs they owe the merchant, Emma orders a whole passel of new things. When presented with the bill, Charles ends up signing yet another sketchy promissory note.
    • Charles’s mom, who’s visiting, bluntly states how foolish she finds this new round of purchases. She lets slip the fact that Charles has agreed to revoke the power of attorney he granted to Emma.
    • Emma freaks out.
    • For the first time, Charles rebels against his mother – at the worst possible time! She’s the only one who demonstrates any common sense here, but Charles keeps defending Emma. His mother ends up leaving angrily.
    • Charles, defeated by both the women in his life, has another power of attorney agreement drawn up to make Emma happy.
    • Emma and Léon celebrate this renewal of her legal rights the next time they meet. Emma gets wilder and wilder – he doesn’t understand what’s going on with her, but he still finds her charming.
    • One Thursday, Emma doesn’t return to Yonville. Charles, a bit frantic, drives to Rouen himself in the dead of night to try and find her. He runs around the city looking for her everywhere.
    • Eventually, as he’s about to go to the piano teacher’s house, Emma herself comes out of nowhere, explaining that she was ill. Miraculously, Charles believes her.
    • This incident actually gives Emma even more independence – she tells Charles that she can’t feel free when he’s always worrying about her. He gives her more space, which she promptly takes advantage of, heading into Rouen with the most ridiculous excuses every time she wants to see Léon.
    • This recklessness starts to take its toll on Léon, however; his employers are unhappy with his constant absence. But he’s easily led by his mistress, and he continues to escape work to meet her. He also does basically whatever she tells him to, from dressing all in black to attempting love poems in her honor (unfortunately, he can never come up with rhymes, and has to copy them).
  • Part 3, Chapter 6

    • On his many trips back to Yonville, Léon often has dinner with Homais, and thus feels obliged to invite him to come visit in Rouen. One Thursday, Homais unexpectedly takes him up on the offer.
    • Emma is shocked to see the pharmacist waiting for the Hirondelle – he’s excited about his trip to the city, and tells her all about his plans to revisit the places of his youth. Emma is not pleased.
    • Upon arrival in Rouen, Homais dashes off to find Léon, and drags him into a café. They proceed to linger there for hours as Homais reminisces about the good old days.
    • In the meantime, Emma is getting impatient. She waits for Léon all afternoon in their hotel room.
    • Back at the café, Homais starts teasing Léon about his mistress. Worried that the pharmacist knows something, Léon plays dumb – it turns out that Homais thinks that Léon is in love with Félicité.
    • This sets Homais off on a long diatribe about women. He goes on and on, as is his way, and Léon loses his patience. He rushes off, claiming to have an appointment.
    • The pharmacist follows him all the way to the hotel. Léon rushes upstairs, and finds Emma distraught. He attempts to console her, but is called away again by Homais. He promises to return.
    • Léon keeps trying to come up with new ways to get rid of the pharmacist. He says he has to work; Homais wants to come to the office. It’s impossible to escape this man.
    • Finally, Léon gives in to the pushy pharmacist, and they stop to visit a friend of Homais’s. However, in the end, Léon manages to escape and run to the hotel – but Emma is gone.
    • Emma decides first that she hates Léon, then that she’s being too harsh on him. The pair reconciles, but things are different.
    • In the following days, Emma and Léon’s relationship sours. She still attempts to throw herself at him, hoping to find happiness again, but it’s no use.
    • Léon starts to wonder if Emma’s going a little mad. She makes him nervous now, and he also starts to resent her domination. However, unfortunately for Léon, he still melts into a little puddle of love every time he sees her.
    • Emma actually is getting more than a little obsessive – she wants to know what Léon is doing all the time, and even thinks of having him followed.
    • Nothing makes her happy anymore and, once again, she looks back on her life and wonders where it all went wrong. Sound familiar? It should – this has all happened before. Life seems hopeless once again.
    • One day, the financial situation gets even worse – it turns out that Lheureux has turned Emma’s debt over to one of his associates, one Monsieur Vinçart. Emma sends the messenger away, claiming that she’ll pay up later. Unfortunately, the next day an official protest of non-payment shows up. Yikes.
    • Emma runs to complain to Lheureux. He plays dumb, then attempts to shift the blame over to the mysterious Monsieur Vinçart. Emma leaves, somewhat pacified, and even accepts some fabric from the merchant (which, of course, she’ll have to pay for later).
    • Emma steps it up a notch, and figures out ways to get some money. The money from both Emma’s and Charles’s families has run out, so she starts billing patients behind Charles’s back.
    • She manages to limp along in this fashion for a while, paying off her debt in small portions, then signing more of those awful promissory notes. Clearly, Emma doesn’t really get what’s going on – when she tries to figure it out, she gets confused and gives up, which is so not the right thing to do.
    • The house falls into disrepair; Emma snaps whenever anyone asks her about it.
    • Poor Charles is still madly in love with Emma, and can’t figure out what’s going on with her. They don’t even sleep in the same bed anymore – Emma stays in the bedroom, reading horror novels all night, while Charles is exiled to the attic.
    • Emma’s only happiness comes from her weekly escapes to Rouen. She still enjoys the luxury of the hotel room, and helps Léon pay for the room, despite her debts.
    • He suggests that they might try a cheaper place, but Emma isn’t down with that. They stick with the expensive hotel.
    • To pay for this, Emma sells some of her things – she even asks Léon to pawn the fancy spoons her father gave her for her wedding. He’s uncomfortable with this, and begins to wonder if his friends and family are right in telling him to ditch the mistress.
    • Léon vows never to see Emma again, and this resolve diminishes her power over him. Now he’s bored by her melodramatic outbursts.
    • Just as in her affair with Rodolphe, Emma also feels the excitement go out of the relationship. She blames Léon, and wishes something terrible might happen so she can have an excuse to get out of their entanglement, but she’s too cowardly to actually say anything to him.
    • All the while, Emma imagines another ideal man, one made up of her assorted memories and desires, who can carry her away from her dull, humdrum life. Again, her fantasy world begins to consume reality.
    • One Thursday, Emma stays the night in Rouen, partying it up with Léon and his friends at a masked ball. She is horrified by the company she finds herself in – the other women present are prostitutes. She faints, revives, then flees the party, disgusted with herself.
    • Back in Yonville the next afternoon, Emma arrives home to a dreadful surprise: her house is being seized by governmental order! An official document had been sent the day before, demanding that she pay the whopping sum of eight thousand francs within twenty four hours.
    • She doesn’t believe it can possibly be true – the ridiculous enormity of the sum makes her think that it’s just Lheureux trying to scare her.
    • She goes to visit the merchant, confident that they can work something out.
    • But Lheureux is not in a forgiving mood. It’s payback time – literally. Emma realizes that this is serious business. She even tries to use her feminine wiles on Lheureux, but it’s no use; he only wants his money.
    • Lheureux heartlessly kicks Emma out of the office, desperate and helpless.
  • Part 3, Chapter 7

    • The next day, the town bailiff, Maître Hareng, comes to the house to make an inventory of its goods.
    • After they leave, Emma and Félicité try not to give anything away to Charles, who is somehow still blissfully ignorant of all of this.
    • The government even sent a guard to make sure Emma doesn’t do a runner; he stays obediently in the attic so Charles doesn’t notice.
    • The next day, Emma goes to Rouen to ask everyone she knows there for money.
    • Finally, she comes to Léon’s house. They go to their room in the Hôtel du Boulogne, where she proceeds to throw herself upon his mercy. However, he doesn’t have eight thousand francs worth of mercy – who does?
    • Léon attempts to tell her that things aren’t as bad as she thinks – he claims that things will be fine if she pacifies Lheureux with a smaller amount, like three thousand francs. He obediently goes out for a while, supposedly looking for money somewhere, and comes back empty-handed.
    • Emma, who’s going off the deep-end right now, tries to force Léon to steal the money from his employer. Just when he’s about to give in to her will, he remembers that his rich friend Morel will be back in town that evening – he promises to bring Emma the money the next day.
    • But Emma is dubious, and Léon is uncomfortable. He was sure that Emma would believe this lie, but instead she doesn’t look any better. He makes a quick exit.
    • Wandering disconsolately through the town, Emma is almost run over by a passing carriage. She recognizes the man inside – it’s the Viscount.
    • She feels even worse than ever.
    • On the way home, she encounters Homais in the Hirondelle, bringing home his wife’s favorite rolls from a bakery in Rouen.
    • They encounter the blind beggar, as usual. Homais is offended by this spectacle, and babbles on about what the blind man should do to cure his condition. Homais gives the beggar a coin, then actually asks for change (who does that?).
    • Hivert, cruel man that he is, makes the beggar do a dog impression. Emma, full of pity and disgust, gives him a five-franc coin, all the money she has in the world. It seems like a noble gesture to her.
    • Emma’s feelings all desert her – she’s just apathetic now. She hopes that something dramatic might occur – like Lheureux’s death.
    • Unfortunately, no such thing happens. Emma awakens to a commotion; a crowd is gathering in the town square where a sign has been posted. All of Emma’s property is officially for sale.
    • Emma and Félicité decide that the best course of action is to go to see Monsieur Guillaumin, the notary. It’s a last ditch effort.
    • The notary’s house is elegant, and even in her despair, Emma notes that it’s the type of house she should have.
    • Apparently, Monsieur Guillaumin is secretly allied with Lheureux, but he lets Emma babble on about her financial troubles anyway. The notary calmly eats his breakfast while she tries to enlist his help.
    • The only thing Guillaumin will accept in exchange for his help, it seems, is Emma herself. He makes a move on her as soon as she’s done talking. Disgusted, she flees the scene.
    • Back home, Félicité tries to help Emma think of people who can help – someone, anyone. Emma gives up, and imagines what she’ll tell Charles when he gets home. She assumes that he will forgive her for ruining them financially – but she still doesn’t forgive him for the supposed crime of ever meeting her.
    • Charles returns, and Emma slips out before he sees her. She high-tails it over to Binet’s, and presumably asks the tax collector if he can help (he can’t).
    • Two of the town’s gossiping ladies, Madame Tuvache, the mayor’s wife, and her friend Madame Caron, observe her, disgusted by her behavior.
    • Emma, rejected by the whole town, flees to Madame Rollet’s, where she has a small-scale nervous breakdown (understandably) and sends the wetnurse to see if Léon is at her house.
    • In the nurse’s cottage, Emma waits in vain for Léon, who never shows.
    • Madame Rollet returns with bad news. Léon is nowhere to be found, Charles is crying, and everyone is looking for her.
    • Emma only has one more place to go: she heads off to La Huchette to find Rodolphe, ready to giver herself to him for the three thousand francs.
  • Part 3, Chapter 8

    • As she approaches La Huchette, Emma wonders what she can possibly say to her former lover.
    • She finds Rodolphe in his room, smoking a pipe and sitting by the fire.
    • Emma feebly attempts to win Rodolphe back, telling him that they can be together again. She looks beautiful in her despair, and he’s actually moved – he kisses her and tells her she’s the only woman for him.
    • However, Emma picks this moment to confess everything, thinking that she’s in the clear – she lies about how the money was lost, making it look like it’s not her fault. She begs him for three thousand francs.
    • Rodolphe is repelled by this outpouring of demands – he realizes that she only came to him for his money. He tells her honestly that he doesn’t even have it.
    • Rodolphe, despite his flaws, isn’t a totally evil man. He would have given her the cash if he actually had it – however, he really doesn’t.
    • Emma doesn’t believe this; she assumes that he never loved her, and that he’s just holding out on her now. She flips out on him, accusing him of lying to her about his money. She uses his extravagant belongings as proof, and screams at him for everything he’s ever done to her.
    • Rodolphe asserts once again that he doesn’t have the money. Emma, furious and desperate, leaves.
    • It’s nighttime; Emma’s twenty-four hours are far past up, and she has nothing to give to Lheureux. On her way home, she stops at the pharmacy.
    • The Homais family is having dinner, but she doesn’t want to see them. The one she wants is Justin – she convinces him to give her the key to the poison cabinet upstairs, supposedly so she can kill some rats.
    • Justin is awed by her beauty, and even though he feels something bad coming, he gives in. As soon as they get to the depository, she rushes to the bottle of arsenic that Homais pointed out on jam-making day so long ago, and begins to eat the white powder.
    • Justin is totally freaked out, as he should be. He tries to stop her, but she threatens him, saying that everyone will think it’s Homais’s fault if he says anything.
    • After ingesting the poison, Emma goes home, strangely satisfied.
    • Charles is a complete mess. He doesn’t understand what’s going on at all – where could all this mysterious debt possibly come from? He goes out in search of Emma, and when he gets back, she’s home already. He asks her brokenly what has happened.
    • In response, Emma writes a letter and asks him to open it the next day. She goes to bed without another word.
    • Emma observes her body’s reaction with a detached calmness for a while – she assumes that she’ll just go to sleep and not wake up.
    • Death by arsenic, however, is not that easy. She awakens with an awful inky taste in her mouth, and is suddenly convulsed with nausea. The poison kicks in, and believe us, it’s not pretty.
    • At eight o’clock, Emma starts to vomit. Charles is confused by some of the symptoms, and can’t tell what’s wrong with her.
    • Emma is wracked with violent convulsions. In Charles’s terrified eyes, she finally sees the true love that she’s never seen before – but it’s too late.
    • Charles desperately reads the letter and goes mad with desperation. Suddenly everyone knows that Emma has been poisoned; Homais sends Justin to fetch Doctors Canivet and Larivière.
    • Everyone is freaking out. Homais tries his best to reason through what they should do, and Charles is useless.
    • Emma finally realizes that Charles loved her all along, and she tries to soothe him – this only makes his grief worse.
    • Berthe is brought in, tired and confused; the child thinks it’s New Year’s, the only time she’s ever allowed to be up late, and expects presents. Soon, though, Berthe is terrified by her mother’s horrible appearance, and is taken away.
    • The symptoms seem to stop for a while, and Charles calms down, hoping that Emma will pull through.
    • Canivet arrives, and decisively declares that Emma’s stomach must be emptied. They give her a medication to induce vomiting.
    • This turns out to be the wrong decision. Emma starts vomiting blood, and she begins to scream horribly. Everyone, even Monsieur Canivet, is horrified.
    • Finally, Dr. Larivière arrives. With him comes a new infusion of hope – he’s famous for his knowledge and skill, and everyone looks up to him.
    • After seeing Emma, however, even Larivière is grim. Though he’s used to seeing people in misery, he can’t help but tear up at the sight of the distressed family. He tells Charles that there’s nothing to be done.
    • Homais, despite his grief, pulls it together enough to invite Dr. Larivière and Monsieur Canivet to lunch. Madame Homais quickly whips up the most extravagant meal she can find.
    • Over several courses, Homais describes what he thinks happened to Emma. Nobody can figure out how she poisoned herself; Justin, overhearing this and undoubtedly feeling incredibly guilty, drops a stack of plates.
    • Homais’s pride soon consumes any residual concern he might have for poor Charles and Emma. He boastfully goes on an on about his knowledge of poisons and illnesses.
    • Homais forces Dr. Larivière to check out all of his children to make sure they’re in good health. Larivière, irritated, makes a snide joke about Homais, and attempts to leave. However, everyone else in the town had a similar idea; they mob the doctor, seeking his opinion on their various physical conditions.
    • Larivière rolls off in his coach without seeing Emma again (he urges Canivet to stay with her), and the townspeople agree on the whole that the famous surgeon was pretty useless.
    • Next, Father Bournisien shows up to administer the Last Rites to Emma before she dies. Homais goes with him, despite his cynicism about religion.
    • Charles has one last moment of hope – it looks as though Emma is better after she receives the priest’s blessing. However, this is just the calm before the storm.
    • Suddenly, Emma is seized with a terrible convulsion, and her whole body is wracked with agony.
    • From outside, the grating sound of the blind beggar’s voice singing a crude song drifts in.
    • Emma cries out, "The blind man!" and laughs hideously (III.8.110).
    • She violently jerks back to the mattress, dead.
  • Part 3, Chapter 9

    • Charles throws himself on Emma’s corpse, overcome by grief. Homais goes home, invents a story about accidental poisoning to cover up the suicide, and writes it up for the newspaper.
    • When he returns to the Bovarys’ house, he finds Charles alone and frightened, Canivet having left him.
    • Homais, with the best of intentions, attempts to distract Charles by talking about the weather.
    • Father Bournisien succeeds in getting Charles to do something about the funeral. He makes extravagantly romantic plans – ones that Emma herself would have appreciated.
    • Charles rebels against God; he curses the heavens for allowing this to happen.
    • The priest and the pharmacist sit up with the corpse all night, holding a vigil for her. The whole time, they argue about religion.
    • Charles’s mother arrives in the morning. She attempts to reason with Charles about the expense of the funeral, and he actually stands up to her for the first time.
    • The townspeople come to visit and pay their respects; they’re bored, but each is unwilling to be the first to leave.
    • Félicité is hysterical with grief. She, Madame Lefrançois, and old Madame Bovary dress Emma in her wedding gown to prepare her for her coffin. Grotesquely, a stream of black liquid flows out of the dead woman’s mouth as they lift her.
    • Homais and Bournisien continue their intellectual discussion.
    • Charles comes in to say his final good bye in private. He reflects upon his memories of their past together, looks at her dead face, and is horrified.
    • The priest and pharmacist lead him away. Homais shakily cuts a few locks of Emma’s hair for Charles to keep.
    • Félicité thoughtfully leaves a bottle of brandy and a pastry out for the men – Homais and Father Bournisien need no prompting to drink the alcohol. They part ways after finishing the bottle.
    • Finally, after Emma’s body is sealed inside three coffins, her father arrives. He faints immediately.
  • Part 3, Chapter 10

    • Monsieur Rouault received a letter from the pharmacist after the fact – so Homais attempted to soften the blow by not exactly telling him that his daughter was dead. As a result, Rouault rode desperately to try and see Emma before she died – and arrived far too late.
    • He and Charles cry together, and attempt to be strong for each other.
    • The whole town turns out for the funeral, including Hippolyte and his fancy leg, as well as the dastardly Monsieur Lheureux.
    • After an elaborate procession, Emma is buried by Lestiboudois. On the way back, Homais amuses himself by noting the improper behavior of his fellow townsfolk.
    • After everything’s over, Monsieur Rouault heavily says good bye to his son-in-law and the elder Madame Bovary. He immediately goes home to Les Bertaux, and even refuses to see Berthe, since she would make him even sadder.
    • That night, Charles and his mother stay up talking. They make plans for her to move in, and she rejoices inwardly – she’s finally defeated Emma.
    • Rodolphe and Léon both sleep calmly in their respective homes, but those who loved Emma, Charles, her father, and Justin, stay awake, thinking of her.
  • Part 3, Chapter 11

    • After Emma’s death, Charles and Berthe sink into greater and greater poverty. Everyone seems to want to get money out of poor Charles; Lheureux comes back for more, as does Emma’s fake piano teacher, Mademoiselle Lempereur (who already got paid once for her collaboration, anyway).
    • Charles refuses to sell any of Emma’s belongings; as a result, he fights with his mother and she leaves.
    • Félicité inherits all of Emma’s wardrobe, and seeing her in those dresses makes Charles even sadder. Soon enough, she runs off with Théodore, Monsieur Guillaumin's servant.
    • Léon, in the meanwhile, gets married and secures a post as a notary.
    • Wandering through the house one day, Charles discovers Emma and Rodolphe’s love letters. He is jealous, but still grieves intensely for Emma, regardless of her infidelity.
    • In honor of her memory, he squanders his money on things she would have liked – fancy clothes and moustache wax. To pay for these things, he signs more promissory notes and goes into greater debt.
    • Eventually, Charles has to sell everything and, after a while, all they have left is Emma’s bedroom, full of her possessions.
    • Berthe has nothing, and has nobody to care for her. Charles can’t manage to actually take care of her.
    • The Homais family breaks off their association with the Bovarys.
    • Monsieur Homais turns his attention to civic matters. He manages to get the blind beggar shipped off to an asylum.
    • This encourages him to expand his sphere of influence; the pharmacist goes on to write many more articles about local goings-on, and shifts his attention to writing a master work on his observations of Yonville. He also maintains his pharmacy, and keeps up with all the latest ridiculous developments.
    • Homais and Charles choose an extravagant design for Emma’s tombstone.
    • Charles tries to keep the memory of Emma alive, but she fades from his memory. Eventually everyone, even Father Bournisien, gives up on him.
    • Charles and his mother attempt to reconcile, but when she offers to take Berthe off his hands, they have a final decisive break.
    • Charles is consumed with jealousy for Homais, who seems to have everything he wants. That is, everything but the cross of the Legion of Honor. The pharmacist makes it his top priority to acquire this prize. He starts to suck up to the local authorities.
    • Finally, one day Charles discovers Léon’s love letters in Emma’s desk. Mad with fury, he rummages around everywhere and discovers a portrait of Rodolphe, as well.
    • Charles totally breaks off communication with the rest of the town. Everyone assumes that he’s a drunkard.
    • He occasionally visits Madame Lefrançois to talk about Emma, but she doesn’t have time for him.
    • Finally, Charles is forced to sell his horse, the last thing he has. At the market, he runs into Rodolphe. They awkwardly have a beer together. Rodolphe talks about other things to avoid any discussion of Emma.
    • In the end, Charles tells Rodolphe that he doesn’t blame the other man, claiming that only fate is responsible for Emma’s death.
    • Rodolphe thinks of Charles as a pitiful, weak, meek man.
    • The next day, Charles sits down in the garden. It’s a beautiful spring day, and he’s struck with emotion.
    • Berthe comes to fetch him for dinner – but he’s dead, the lock of Emma’s hair in his hand.
    • Berthe is sent away to live with her grandmother, who dies the same year. She’s then passed on to a poor aunt, who sends the child to work in a cotton mill.
    • Since Charles’s death, three different doctors have all moved to Yonville to take over his practice. None of them succeed, due to the machinations of Monsieur Homais.
    • Finally, the book closes as Monsieur Homais receives the cross of the Legion of Honor.