Study Guide

Madame Bovary Part 1, Chapter 7

By Gustave Flaubert

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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.

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