Madame Bovary: Part Ii Essay

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In Madame Bovary, Flaubert explores the flaws of romanticism through the burdens Emma brings upon herself because of her romantic ideals. Her highly romanticized view of the world increases her dissatisfaction with her own provincial life, leading her to pursue more drastic means to quench her thirst for the passion and extravagance her beloved books described. The physical, spiritual and emotional changes she undergoes demonstrate just how far she will go in order to live the dream she desires. For each turning point of the novel, changes in her physical appearance reflect her state of mind. Though she does restrain herself with Léon, she does not hold back with Rodolphe’s tenacious seduction. She is very attentive to her appearance, for, “It was for [Rodolphe] she shaped her nails with all the care of an engraver” and for him that, “there was never enough lotion on her skin.” (151) Upon obtaining a satisfying lover, she has never, “been so beautiful as she was now,” (157) since she finally experiences the passion, rapture and happiness she had read in her books. By contrast, her vomiting, her periodic chest pains and her pale skin that was, “paler than an image made of wax,” (100) are all reflective of the turmoil she feels after the two men leaves her. Though her appearance is reflective of her emotions, changes in her physical reactions to Léon and Rodolphe also parallel to her growing desires and her lack of self-control. She, “trembles at the sight of Léon,” (85), her vanity melts at Rodolphe’s bold advances like, “a body unclenching in a steam-bath,” (125) and she eventually gives into temptation by ‘yielding’ to Rodolphe. This demonstrates how her control over her body and mind is deteriorating as her desire to obtain the ideal lover weakens her self control. Therefore, changes in her appearance and physical reactions demonstrate how far she would go to

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