Madame Bovary By Gustave Flaubert Summary and Analysis Part I: Chapter 7

Summary

Emma wondered if the honeymoon was actually to be the finest part of her life. She wondered why she couldn't be standing in a Swiss chalet with a husband in a dashing outfit of velvet, soft boots, peaked hat, and so forth. As Charles' outward attraction for her increased, she began inwardly to detach herself from him. As she observed Charles, she noted that he simply trudged through every day. His talk was dull, he provoked no emotions in her, he had no desire to do or see anything, and he couldn't even explain a riding term in one of her novels. Ideally, she dreamed of a man who would introduce her to a multitude of activities and passions, who would inspire her to live to the fullest. And when she perceived that Charles was perfectly content simply to be with her, she hated him for his placid immobility and contentment.

Charles, on the other hand, found no fault with his wife. She was an excellent manager and played the piano with skill. All her acts gave him pleasure, and in every way he was content with his life and good fortune. Whenever Mrs. Bovary visited, however, he was confounded by the coldness between his wife and mother. Emma resented the older woman's advice or interference, and the mother was jealous of her son's affection for his wife.

Meanwhile, Emma continued to crave the exalted and passionate love which she sadly felt had been denied her. She criticized herself for ever having married and suffered from envy of the imagined happiness of the girls with whom she had gone to school.

One September the Bovarys were invited to a ball at the chateau of the Marquis d'Andervilliers, whom Charles had treated. The Marquis was far above them in social rank but wanted to demonstrate his gratitude for the service Bovary had done him. Emma looked forward to this unique event with great eagerness.

Analysis

Emma continues her dreaming of another life and another husband. She pictures to herself a fabulous life with another person and begins to detach herself from Charles. The contrast between her dreams and her life is brought out rather concisely in two paragraphs, the first describing Charles' commonplace banalities, his slow plodding ways, his lack of emotional stimulation and his contentment, whereas in her dreams, she sees a man sweeping her off her feet and introducing her to all the intense passions of life. Finally, to observe her dull husband being content with a snack, falling into bed, and snoring fills her with indescribable longings for another life.

This chapter begins to depict the complete contrast between Emma and Charles. His plodding nature and his routine ardors and embraces destroyed all the excitement in life for Emma. She becomes increasingly irritated with his coarse ways and his dullness. This chapter marks the beginning of her life of waiting for something exciting to happen. Her entire life will be characterized by her unfilled longing and incessant waiting for some excitement to enter into it. Her disappointment prompted her first words to be spoken in the novel: "O God, O God, why did I get married?" Previous to this statement, we have heard about Emma and about her thoughts, but significantly, these are her first spoken words.

The excitement that Emma has been waiting for comes in the form of an invitation to La Vaubyessard. This will soon become one of the high points of her life.

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