Throughout the entirety of the novel, I believe that the author is attempting to convey the shortcomings of the bourgeois class in France. Gustave Flaubert uses Madame Bovary to criticize the excessive spending habits of the wealthy and the increasing debt of individuals. An example from the text that demonstrates the criticisms of the wealthy are found towards the end of the novel when Emma is served with a lawsuit.
“And farther down there was even: “To this she shall be constrained by every legal recourse, and notably by the seizure of her furniture and effects.””(Flaubert, 260). This quotation demonstrates the legal consequences of Emma Bovary’s spending. I also believe the author is criticizing the role of women in France. During the 1800s, women were unable to make their own decisions; they were powerless in society. Through Emma, Gustave Flaubert demonstrates how Emma is unable to change her life despite how desperately she wants to; the men in her life hold all the power. “Would this misery last forever? Would she never find a way out of it? And yet she was certainly just as good as all those women who lived happy lives!” (Flaubert, 57) This quotation shows how powerless Emma feels and her inability to change her situation.
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Through the novel Madame Bovary, I believe that Gustave Flaubert is attempting to discuss the mental health issues the bourgeois class faced, especially women. Throughout the novel, it is evident that Madame Bovary is struggling with depression, which eventually leads to her suicide at the end of the novel. She had leaned against the frame of the window, and she was re-reading the letter, now and then giving an angry derisive laugh. But the more steadily she fixed her attention on it, the more confused her thoughts become. She saw him again, she heard him, she put her arms around him and her heartbeats, striking her chest like the great blows of battering ram, came faster and faster one after another, at unequal intervals.
She cast her eyes about her, wishing the earth would cave in. Why not put an end to it all? (Flaubert, 180) This quotation demonstrates how desperately Emma loved Rodolphe and how tortured she was. After Rodolphe leaves her, she even contemplates suicide because of how miserable she is.