Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Review: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
[Goodreads - Amazon]

So, the summer before last I read Madame Bovary's Daughter by Linda Urbach. It was extremely well written and continues the classic story of Madame Bovary written by Gustave Flaubert in the 1850's. Well after reading such an intriguing continuation. I naturally wanted to go back to the beginning and read what started it all. So I picked up a classically bound copy of Madame Bovary and read it.

It was amazing! It tells the gripping story of a woman who marries a young doctor for what she tells herself is "love". Later in the relationship she finds herself feeling confined and bored. The book explores the feeling of many middle class women during that period of time of confinement. Because, unlike women of a lower class, they were not expected to work to earn a living. Therefore they were left to lord themselves over the house and become annoyed with their own limited existences. She then falls in love with another man and cheats on her husband with him. The affair doesn't last long. Prior to the affair she has a baby girl and eventually neglects her child because of her own self importance.

Later she ends up bankrupting her husband and running out of money. When she tries to obtain loans from her friends they turn her down and in her shame she kills herself with arsenic. A sad and painful way to die. Her story, though it seems like the tale of a selfish wealthy women with nothing better to do than neglect her responsibilities as a wife and mother in favor of a more adventurous life, is much more than that. It is is a tale of the female struggle for independence from the manor-like cage upper class men created for their wives. In the end she was the ultimate master of her fate and would not be kept prisoner in a life she despised.

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