Friday, March 09, 2007

Madame Bovary - post V

For those still reading the book please be warned this covers the final stages of the story and the ending.

In the end the question is whether or not you feel sympathy for Emma Bovary or hatred because of what she does to her family and herself. But that is a question that each reader will answer differently. My take on it is that all she really wants is a better life, something she has seen at the very start when she goes to the ball. Emma is constantly chasing a dream that she is unable to get and in the end it eludes her so utterly and completely there is no option other than to end it.

Bullet points between pages 154 – 340

* The affair with Leon continues to develop as Emma convinces Charles that she is taking piano lessons in Rouen and then after a while she pushes the boat out and starts to stay over night

* Charles has no idea of either the affair or the debts that she is running up on top of those he has already committed to with the trader that is conning them by catching them both in a web of ever increasing debts

* But after a while even the relationship with Leon starts to get dull and boring and although her affection is not increased for her husband Emma realises that what she is looking for might not ever exist and just as she gets close to capturing the elusive success and happiness it crumbles to dust

* But then things start to spiral out of control and the debts are placed in the hands of a banker who starts to threaten court action, which for a while Emma completely ignores but the problems keep mounting until they spill out into the open

* She is woken by her servant girl to the news that there is a poster in the town square putting everything in her house up for sale – this is something that follows after a visit from the bailiffs

* Emma runs from credit source to potential lender and is rejected by everyone with the lawyer suggesting he will pay for sexual favours, Rudolphe refuses her request, Leon argues that he cannot help and even the tax collector will not help out

* In desperation Emma heads for the chemist’s store room and takes arsenic and then heads home and starts the slow and painful process of dying as a grief stricken Charles watches from the bedside

* Other doctors come and all agree there is nothing that can be done and then the priest comes to help with the last rites and eventually Emma dies leaving Charles beside himself and complete silence from her lovers

* The story then moves to a conclusion with the burial, Leon’s announcement of marriage and then the tragic moment when Charles discovers the love letters of Rudolphe and Leon and realises what his wife was doing

* He meets Rudolphe in a café and tells him that it was destiny that Emma fell in love with him and then heads home and is discovered in the garden dead leaning against the wall

* Things are wrapped up with the daughter being sent to the grandmother, who dies shortly afterwards, and then being put out to work because the aunt she is fobbed off with is too poor to look after her

A review will follow over the weekend…

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