Saturday, March 29, 2008

Madame Bovary Post 2

This passage is when Emma went to talk to the priest about her suffering.
“How are you?” he went on.
“Not well at all,” relied Emma. “I’m suffering”.
“So am I,” said the priest. “These first hot days make you feel terribly faint, don’t they?...”(97).
The Priest and Emma continue you to talk while he never addresses Emma’s suffering. Finally the priest returns to preparing his boys for their First Communion. Emma hears the priest talking to them. Emma could “hear the booming voice of the priest and the lighter voices of the children:
“’Are you a Christian?”
“Yes I am a Christian.”
“What is a Christian?”
“A person who, having been baptized…baptized…baptized”(99).
This passage is interesting because it is the first time in the story when Emma chooses to tell someone about her suffering. The priest does not quite understand that a woman may be unhappy with her marriage and unhappy doing house chores. I feel that Flaubert puts the priest in this chapter to reveal that during this time period women were not expected to suffer and they were thought to always be perfect. Emma is the exception to this society and she wants more than this society has planned for her. I looked up the name Emma and found that it means “whole, or universal”. Flaubert possibly named her “Emma” to show that at this time there were many women feeling this way and that Emma’s story is “universal” and that many women can relate to it.
At the end of the passage as Emma’s leaving she hears the boys say that a Christian is someone who has been baptized. This must have meaning because baptized is repeated three times. I feel that this passage reveals that the French Church and society at this time were backwards. A Christian is much more than someone who is baptized and that reveals that the priest and the church are not correctly teaching these boys.

“The whitish light coming in through the windowpanes wavered as it slowly died away. The furniture, standing in its usual place, seemed somehow more motionless, and lost in the shadows as in an ocean of darkness. There was no fire in the fireplace, the clock was still ticking, and Emma felt vaguely amazed that all those things should be so calm when there was so much turmoil inside her. Then she saw little Berthe between the window and the sewing table, tottering in her knitted shoes as she tried to approach her mother and take hold of her apron strings”(100). Emma tells her to leave her alone and than she shoves “her away with her elbow. Berthe fell at the foot of the dresser, cutting her cheek on one of its brass ornaments. She began to bleed; Madame Bovary rushed over to pick her up”(100).

This passage reveals the pain and suffering that Emma is feeling. I like Flaubert’s word choice in this passage especially when he says that she is “lost in the shadows as in an ocean of darkness”. The fact that Emma is wondering why everything else in her house is normal while she is suffering reveals her selfishness. She feels that just because she is hurting that everything and every one else must feel pain as well. Than Emma becomes so worked up that she takes all of her stress and pain out on her poor daughter. She ends up hurting someone else due to her pain. Also I looked up the origin of the name Berthe and it means “famous or bright”. I found this interesting because it seems that this baby is the only “light” in Emma’s life, but instead of embracing and loving the baby, she hurts her.

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