Study Guide

Sentimental Education Chapter 14

By Gustave Flaubert

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Chapter 14

The Barricade

  • The uprising is getting heated, so Frederick decides to go check out what's happening. Barricades, bottles, and bundles of iron-wire are all he can see: "On the evening of the day before, the spectacle of the wagon containing five corpses picked up from amongst those that were lying on the Boulevard des Capucines had charged the disposition of the people…" (2.14.4).
  • King Philippe's monarchy is not long for this world. Bullets are flying and the water in fountains is full of blood. Frederick steps on the hand of a dead sergeant.
  • The castle at the Place du Carrousel has become a free-for-all: "The doors leading into the château were open, and the servants at the thresholds allowed the people to enter." Looting and pillaging is going on at a massive scale.
  • He sees Hussonet and a few others, and they go into the castle to watch the chaos. They see the throne being tossed out the window.
  • People are causing massive destruction, burning and stealing as they go through the castle.
  • Having seen enough, Frederick and Hussonet ("I am disgusted with the people," he tells Frederick) go and sit in the Tuileries gardens.
  • They see Dussardier, who is celebrating the triumph of the Republic.
  • Frederick goes to see Deslauriers the next day. He has just left Paris to fulfill his appointment as the provincial commissioner.
  • He then visits Rosanette, who is mad at him for leaving her during the riot.
  • The middle class is shocked by the swiftness of the monarchy's fall. Executions have been occurring at such a rapid pace that people are just glad to be alive.
  • Frederick and the Maréchale do a lot of strolling around Paris.
  • One day, Frederick sees Pellerin leading a brigade of people in favor of a stock exchange for artists—he is fighting for "the creation of a Forum of Art, a kind of Exchange where the interests of Æsthetics would be discussed."
  • Regimbart is also there, and dismisses the whole idea as "humbug."
  • Wealthy citizens fear for their property and their lives. Dambreuse hopes that Frederick can help him, but pretends to be happy about the rise of the Republic. He suggests that Frederick run for the National Assembly—read: be in a position to help him.
  • Frederick gets excited about the idea of being in power and shares the plan with Deslauriers, Mademoiselle Vatnaz, and Rosanette. They're all totally on board.
  • Frederick writes up a speech and presents it to Dambreuse, who's terrified.
  • Frederick delivers his speech at a forum moderated by Sénécal. The whole situation doesn't go well. For starters, he wishes he had memorized his speech. Plus, the audience is out of control, interrupting and only caring about their own interests—abolishing prostitution, spitting on the rich, shouting such things as "No more academies! No more institutes!"
  • Sénécal grills him, accusing him of not supporting a democratic newspaper and promptly dismissing him.
  • Frederick angrily leaves and goes to Rosanette's, only to find her mad at him and blaming him for the Revolution and the Republic.
  • Man, this guy can't catch a break.
  • Mademoiselle Vatnaz has to add her two cents about the rights of women, which only further aggravates Rosanette. Rosanette thinks women were born exclusively for love, or in order to bring up children and be housekeepers; but Mademoiselle Vatnaz believes women ought to have a position in the Government.
  • In the middle of their argument, Rosanette sees that Mademoiselle Vatnaz has a gold sheep charm—an indication that she is in love with Delmar, who had clearly given the necklace to her as a gift.
  • Once again, Rosanette bemoans her money problems, now that the Prince has left her.
  • Frederick helps her move into a new apartment and spends a lot of time with her. One day he runs into Arnoux on her stairs—um, yeah. Arnoux consoles himself about sharing a lover, believing that Frederick is now providing financial support. Arnoux believes that not having to provide financial support proves that Rosanette is really in love with him. How's that for logic?
  • He asks Frederick why he never visits Madame Arnoux anymore. Frederick thinks quick and says that she's never home when he comes by.
  • One night, Frederick fills in for Arnoux at the guard post—a flea-ridden, dark, and confused place. He watches Arnoux snoring with his musket, imagining what would happen if his gun "accidentally" went off: "he was yearning for it; and then a feeling of absolute terror took possession of him."
  • Arnoux relieves Frederick of his sentry duty and takes him to breakfast.
  • The next day, Frederick runs in to Dambreuse and Martinon on the street. The "capitalist" apologizes to Frederick for running for election in the Assembly—a position that Frederick had wanted. Dambreuse claims he was forced. Hmmm.
  • The people have all sorts of demands and complaints about the government; for example, the government was forcing them to take a position as a soldier or leave the city and work in agriculture.
  • Frederick is fed up with everything and goes back to the Maréchale to demand that she choose between him and Arnoux. She chooses him (finally, a win!) and they set off for a trip to Fontainebleau.
  • On their trip, they enjoy the forests of Fontainebleau and the solitude of spending time away from Paris. They get pretty close, and she even reveals some of her personal history. She tells him of the violation by an older man and how she tried to commit suicide as a young girl.
  • It's a nice time, but our guy is still disappointed at how, well, unsmart she is. Frederick has a bunch of questions, but decides not to pry.
  • She asks him about Madame Arnoux, and he denies that anything has ever happened between them. This girl is clearly into him.
  • Frederick finds out that Dussardier is injured and says that he has to return to Paris to nurse him. She's desperate for him to stay, but he just finds that selfish.
  • When he gets back to Paris, everyone's suspicious of him. The place is a mess, too, with pools of blood everywhere.
  • He finds Mademoiselle Vatnaz taking care of his friend.
  • Dussardier confesses that he may not have been fighting for a just cause, which torments him.
  • The fighting in Paris is becoming fiercer; men are being crowded into filthy prisons.
  • Monsieur Roque arrives to give his assistance to the National Guard. Louise comes, too, hoping to see Frederick.

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