Summary and Analysis Part I: Chapter 3



Sometime after, Roualt paid Charles a call to settle his bill and to offer his condolences. He invited Bovary to visit at the farm. Charles accepted the offer and became a frequent guest at the Roualt house. In these circumstances, Bovary's interest in Emma matured, and soon he found himself in love with her.

Emma's father had never been a very good farmer. He had debts and constantly drank the best cider rather than sending it to the market. Thus, when he realized that Charles was interested in Emma, he resolved to give his consent, especially since Emma had never been very good around the farm. Thus Charles' proposal was accepted.

Charles and Emma decided that the wedding would take place as soon as Charles was out of mourning. He visited often and they discussed the details of the wedding. Emma would have preferred a midnight wedding with torches, but her father would not stand for that. Instead, there was a traditional wedding with a party that lasted sixteen hours.


We should note with what delight Charles observes everything that Emma does. He is charmed with her looks, her way of talking, her actions, and everything about her. He can find no fault with her. This attitude or view toward his future wife will essentially continue during his entire married life, making it easy for Emma to commit her indiscretions.

Flaubert begins already to offer little hints as to Emma's character. We see that her father thinks of her as rather useless around the farm and is not sorry to lose her in marriage. Emma's romanticism, which will later be seen to be the cause of her tragic life, is here suggested by her desire to have a midnight wedding with torches. This is the first hint that Emma is a person who seeks something of the strange and marvelous, something that will break the monotony of living in a dull world.