Study Guide

Sentimental Education Chapter 19

By Gustave Flaubert

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Chapter 19

A Bitter-Sweet Reunion

  • In thorough despair, Frederick travels for a while, hangs out in high society, and has a few love affairs—"But the constant recollection of his first love made these appear insipid; and besides the vehemence of desire, the bloom of the sensation had vanished" (2.19.3). Basically, though, he finds himself "devoid of energy."
  • One day, Madame Arnoux shows up at his house. (!)
  • Out on a walk, they talk about the past and once again declare their love for each other. She says: "No matter; we shall have loved each other truly!" To which he replies: "And still without having ever belonged to each other!" (2.19.42-43)
  • Is anyone else getting really frustrated by all this?
  • Back at his house, she removes her bonnet. Frederick is shocked to see that her hair is completely white. To cover up his surprise, he begins to compliment her profusely, saying such things as: "The sight of your foot makes me lose my self-possession" (2.19.52)
  • He assumes that she has come to give herself to him. At first, he's psyched, but then he becomes repulsed at the idea.
  • And before you can say "whatttt issss goingggg onnnnn?" she leaves.

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