Study Guide

Sentimental Education Chapter 3

By Gustave Flaubert

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Chapter 3

Sentiment and Passion

  • Two months later, Frederick shows up in Paris to pay a visit to the Dambreuses on behalf of Roque.
  • Dambreuse has all sorts of connections in industry and aristocracy; plus, he has won medals for courage and all sorts of other cool stuff. Oh, and he has a hot young wife. Not too shabby.
  • Frederick notes all of the lovely bourgeois details as he enters there home, where he soon encounters Madame Dambreuse. They chat for a while, and then Frederick leaves.
  • He's enjoying a stroll, when all of a sudden he notices a plaque for the business of Jacques Arnoux (remember the guy on the boat with the cute wife?). Needless to say, he's stoked.
  • He goes into the shop and pretends to be interested in the drawings for sale. Clearly, he's hoping to see Mrs. Arnoux.
  • Frederick gets on a downer—"melancholy" as they called it back then. He doesn't want to hang out with his friend Baptiste Martinon, who only seems interested in studying for law school and enjoying the love of a simple woman. "What kind of happiness is that!" Frederick asks (1.3.33).
  • Now the Dambreuses are blowing him off. Bummer, too; he was hoping to enter society through their friendship.
  • He does a lot of aimless wandering, imagining that he sees Madame Arnoux in every woman's face. Sigh.
  • He goes back to law school for a while, and writes a novel called Sylvio, The Fisherman's Son. NBD.
  • On the urging of Deslauriers, he becomes friends with Sénécal, a math teacher and hard-core Republican.
  • Frederick just wants some love. He is hopeful, then sad, and he basically just mopes around.
  • One night, he spots Mr. Arnoux at the opera—with another woman. Gasp!
  • They run into each other in the lobby, and Frederick carefully asks about Madame Arnoux.
  • He's starting to lose hope about social advancement through the Dambreuses or a passionate affair with Madame Arnoux.
  • Solution: a new apartment.

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