Study Guide

Sentimental Education Chapter 11

By Gustave Flaubert

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Chapter 11

Dinner and a Duel

  • And off we go with Part 2 of Sentimental Education.
  • Pellerin shows up, demanding to be paid for the hideous portrait he did of Rosanette, but neither she nor Arnoux will pay. Frederick refuses, too, saying he is not her lover.
  • Pellerin storms off just as Sénécal arrives. Sénécal has lost his job (again) and, blaming Frederick, demands help finding another job.
  • Frederick decides to sell a farm to get some cash.
  • He finds out from Hussonet that the whole Rosanette-Cisy affair was brief. Cisy invites him to dinner at his house, where he presents a "display of shameless luxury" (2.11.74).
  • As for our protagonist: Frederick feels a deep hostility to Cisy. He finds out from some loud-mouthed baron that Cisy had made a bet that he could seduce Rosanette away from Frederick on the day of the races.
  • Frederick is appalled and insulted. Never mind that Arnoux had arrived the next day and booted Cisy out. He had still won the bet.
  • Then things get really ugly when the baron remarks about Rosanette: "Oh dear, yes! In the first place, I found her nothing extraordinary, and then, you pick up the like of her as often as you please, for, in fact, she is for sale!" (2.11.114).
  • Not only has Rosanette been basically called a prostitute, but she also sounds like she's made herself available to everyone—except Frederick!
  • They begin talking about Arnoux's business. Cisy comments that the only thing that man has going for him is Madame Arnoux. Cisy claims that he "knows her"—that everyone "knows" her. Frederick is outraged: "Hold your tongue. It is not with women of her sort you keep company!" (2.11.131). Then he throws a plate in the man's face and refuses to apologize.
  • How are they going to resolve this mess? Well, a duel, of course!
  • The next day, Cisy's people come to tell Frederick that all they need is an apology. No go. But because Cisy was the injured party, he gets to choose the weapons. He goes for the sword.
  • The next day, they meet at the Bois de Bologne. They are both too stubborn to back down. Cisy faints and cuts himself, but revives again and must face the duel.
  • At the last minute, Arnoux shows up, thinking that Frederick has been defending his honor. They shake hands and get over it.
  • Yep, that's it.
  • One night, Dussardier comes to tell Frederick that Sénécal is in jail for an attempted crime of a political nature. It's not looking good for him.
  • Looking in the newspaper Flambard for reports of the duel, Frederick discovers that his "friend" Hussonet has made a mocking report of the event.
  • On top of that humiliation, Frederick sees the horrific painting of Rosanette hanging in a shop window, where a sign indicates that it belongs to him. Poor guy is being humiliated left and right.
  • Frederick tries to pull himself together and pays a visit to the Dambreuses. A lot of talk of politics bores him, so he chats with the ladies.
  • Madame Dambreuse drops all sorts of hints about Frederick's lovers—Rosanette, Madame Arnoux. He's majorly insulted.
  • People start talking trash about Sénécal, which also gets his goat. Finally, he goes off: "He was exasperated by the rottenness of these old men; and, carried away by the recklessness which sometimes takes possession of even the most timid, he attacked the financiers, the deputies, the government, the king, took up the defence of the Arabs, and gave vent to a great deal of abusive language" (2.11.351).
  • Frederick decides to reunite with Deslauriers—a real friend.
  • Frederick's mom writes to him, encouraging him to marry Louise Roque, so he decides to go home for a visit. Monsieur Roque is into the marriage idea, too, so that his daughter can become a countess.
  • After a few days, everyone's pretty much convinced they're engaged.

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