Study Guide

Madame Bovary Part 2, Chapter 3

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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.

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