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Attempting to define how Flaubert wanted the reader to view religion in his short story “A Simple Heart” is frustratingly beautiful. The title figure, Felicite has been variously interpreted by many regarding her representation of religion. Her unsophistication is not to be viewed as a hindrance as it allows her to share a saintly relationship with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Sprit had been reduced to taxidermy as it is portrayed as Felicite’s pet parrot Loulou. Felicite’s quasi-satirical world of spirituality had been diminished to something so non-permanent it made the story difficult to evaluate seriously with regards to religion. However, upon reevaluating the role Loulou played in Felicite’s life and her hardships “A Simple Heart”…show more content…
Flaubert also showcases Felicite’s religion through her relationships her loved-ones. Felicite had a special attachment to Virginie, the daughter of Mme. Aubain the lady she served. Virginie’s death had a significant impact on Felicite. Unlike Mme. Aubain who rebelled against God after the death, Felicite was attentive in tending and visiting the girl’s grave (A Simple Heart 215-16). Felicite was strengthened by this loss through the Holy Spirit and was thus able to help strengthen Mme. Aubain. Felicite also attended church constantly with Mme. Aubain, the stories she heard in church were very relevant to her life although, she is too ignorant to make the connections because “of dogma she neither understood nor even tried to understand anything,” “her religious education having been neglected in her youth” (A Simple Heart 209). This may make it seem that it would then be impossible for Felicite to have a true encounter with the Holy Spirit, however, “the Holy Ghost is commonly invisible and speechless…We recall that the Holy Ghost was bequeathed to all followers of Christ and that the gift is not restricted by any need for theological knowledge…it follows that Felicite’s potential for a rare bond with the Holy Ghost is entirely valid” (Overtaker). From the beginning of the story, Felicite is portrayed as pious by sleeping in front of the hearth with her rosary beads in
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