Study Guide

Sentimental Education Chapter 20

By Gustave Flaubert

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Chapter 20

"Wait Till You Come to Forty Year"

  • Flash forward: Frederick and Deslauriers are hanging out again. Looks like Louise left Deslauriers for a singer, so he threw himself into a government position as prefect, then a series of other jobs.
  • As for our protagonist: "having squandered two thirds of his means, he was now living like a citizen of comparatively humble rank…" (2.20.4).
  • Yeah, we saw that one coming.
  • They review what has become of all of their former group: Martinon is a senator, Hussonet now controls the press and theatres, Cisy has eight children, and Pellerin has left painting to become a photographer. No one knows about Sénécal's fate.
  • Madame Arnoux, now a widow, lives in Rome.
  • Rosanette is the widow of Monsieur Oudry and has adopted a son.
  • Deslauriers confesses that he had made a move on Rosanette long ago—but he'll never admit that he tried with Madame Arnoux as well.
  • They recall their youth together; namely, how they had once visited a brothel run by a woman named La Turque. The sight of all the available women horrified Frederick: "But the great heat, the fear of the unknown, and even the very pleasure of seeing at one glance so many women placed at his disposal, excited him so strangely that he turned exceedingly pale, and remained there without advancing a single step or uttering a single word" (2.20.43).
  • The friends agree that that was their best memory.
  • And yes, folks, that is the end of the novel.

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