Character Analysis of Emma in Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary'

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An Analysis of Emma and Society in Madame Bovary Introduction Emma in Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary represents a digression from the provincial archetype. She exemplifies Romanticism and meets her foil not only in the societal conventions of the time but also in the very ideas that seductively lure her on. Her husband Charles, likewise, exists as a kind of simpleton spectator and a symbol of the exact sort of common countryside provincialism that his wife Emma comes to resent. If Charles is banality personified, Emma seeks escape from that personification. Yet, ironically, it is exactly this provincialism that allows Charles to remain rooted in his work and life: his "common sense" as it might be called keeps him, essentially, from becoming a "jealous type." Whether Emma (and the reader) would have benefited more had Charles become such a type, the reader may speculate, but, alas, it is not the course of the narrative to show. Although Charles shows no human jealousy of Emma, even as she begins her adulterous way of living, it is reasonable to suggest that perhaps Emma would have benefited from a deeper awareness in her husband. As it is, Emma, unsatisfied by his conventional complacency, looks for fulfillment outside the home. In this sense, Emma reflects the shift in societal considerations, and anticipates the sexual revolution of the 20th century. This paper will show how Emma is a character both formed by and against the societal world around her. Emma the
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