Monday, May 28, 2012

Madame Bovary

Sometimes you love a character so much that you wish they can someday be found taking a stroll in the real world. Other times, you loathe a character so much that if they were alive, you would gladly kick them into the darkest part of Tartarus.

Mme. Bovary is one of the characters I loathe. Yes, she's a portrait of 19th-century patriarchy victim. When she said 'I do' (or whatever it is in French), she agreed to devote her life to her husband, children, and domestic chores. Of course, she was oppressed. It's perfectly understandable in a world where women and men are not treated equally. Strange thing is, she expressed her rebellion by being a spendthrift and committing adultery... with two men!

When I learned that she thought her husband a loser, and didn't grow motherly feelings even after Berthe had been born, I thought, 'She couldn't get more obnoxious than this.' I was utterly wrong.

She bought things her husband couldn't afford (remember, she didn't make money -emancipation was not a concept familiar to people from this period) that resulted in a mountain of debts. Her love for lavish stuff is beyond my comprehension. Even when she had to borrow money to pay for her thousands-of-francs debt, she still wanted these things.

A large porcelain stove crackled beneath a cactus that filled up the niche in the wall, and in black wood frames against the oak–stained paper hung Steuben’s "Esmeralda" and Schopin’s "Potiphar." The ready–laid table, the two silver chafing–dishes, the crystal door–knobs, the parquet and the furniture, all shone with a scrupulous, English cleanliness; the windows were ornamented at each corner with stained glass.

"Now this," thought Emma, "is the dining–room I ought to have."

Then she went out and threw herself to other men. She worshipped these fellows, made love to them passionately, and as if those weren't enough, she complained about her husband to them. Her loving, willing-to-do-anything husband. Charles might not exactly be an exciting man, but he loved her dearly, and would never hurt her. He even quarreled with his mother who seemed to always disagree with her daughter-in-law. Now just how unappreciative she was as a wife, you judge it yourself.

When she died, Emma still caused misery for her family. Monsieur Bovary, who could still manage to get a grip of himself after he was left with an enormous amount of debt to pay, broke down after he accidentally found his late wife's correspondence with her lover. He died eventually, leaving their child Berthe to poverty and absence of parental affection.

There's only one emoticon fit to describe my feelings towards Mme. Bovary, and this emoticon is щ(゚Д゚щ)


A desperate housewife reading a desperate housewife

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