Thursday, 14 October 2010
Madame Bovary Part 1
Part 1 (58 pages) of Madame Bovary got read this week as part of Nonsuch Books read-along. I did manage to get hold of the new translation from Lydia Davis and so far I am finding it enjoyable and surprising.
I knew the basic plot of the novel 'bored housewife dives into fantasy and overspends leading to tragedy' so I was surprised that the first part of the book is really nothing like this.
Madame Bovary in the first part is far from my expectations of a scarlet hussy and is instead quite a normal young women. After marrying a rather boring doctor with no ambition she finds that married life does not quite live up to the romantic ideal that she thought it would be. After attending an extravagant ball at the home of a wealthy nobleman, Emma Bovary realises that her life is boring and dull in comparison which proves detrimental to her health and she becomes depressed.
The world that Flaubert describes is not necessary a boring and dull one but rather a realistic one. Unfortunately Emma has grown to believe that life is very much like the romantic novels that she constantly reads. I read an article on the BBC a few years ago which stated that women who read a lot of 'chick lit' today may have unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships, OK this may have been abit of lazy journalism which used sweeping generalisations but Madame Bovary reminded me of this. It is not therefore surprising when she finds 'real' life and marriage are not as easy or wondrous as she was expecting; to this I am inclined to say 'join the club' ;)
Posted by Jess