Comparing Madame Bovary And The Woman In White

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Both Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, and Wilkie Collins The Woman in White depict female characters who are under emotional and physical distress, albeit for entirely different reasons. Emma Bovary’s confinement is self-induced, she is slowly dying from unfulfilled aspirations due to her own fundamental and eventual fatal error, in that she mistakes literature for life. Subsequently, Emma is confined in a world she finds tedious and monotonous. Ultimately, her ennui (Identities, p.20) becomes so severe that nothing she does can console her craving for excitement, as Flaubert tells us “domestic mediocrity drove her to sumptuous fantasies, marital caresses to adulteress desires” (101) and nothing she does matches the ‘’felicity, passion…show more content…
Painstakingly editing and re-writing his work until he was satisfied that his precise selection of individual words gave both an accurate account of ordinary provincial life, and instilled doubt and dissatisfaction within the bourgeoisie reader (Identities, p.11). Flaubert was a leader in the trend towards realism in literature and effectively demonstrated the potentialities of everyday life as a source of art. Prior to Madame Bovary the language of novels tended to be flowery, and discursive, but Flaubert believed that ‘one must not put your own personality on stage; I believe that great art is scientific and impersonal’ (Identities, p.13). To achieve this Flaubert’s art was to avoid the use of an authorial or moral commentator, instead his writing is careful, precise, objective, and emotionally restrained. Flaubert used vivid descriptions of setting, and surroundings to construct the personality and morals of his characters. Furthermore, Madame Bovary has a formal structure that adds to the aesthetic quality of the story, set in three parts which are comparable in development, exposition and dénouement to that of a stage play, which gives the overall narrative a sense of the…show more content…
After her marriage all sense of her own individuality disappeared and society expected her to act in a certain way. Emma does not appreciate the love she has around her and is constantly dissatisfied, “Oh, why, dear God, did I marry him” she asks herself not content that her husband adores her.
Hence, situational irony is apparent throughout the novel, when Emma begins to question her love for Charles they attend the ball at Emma is naive and believes that she is part of the upper-class and attempts her detachment from Charles ‘Emma felt herself enveloped in a warm atmosphere’ (p66) and she ‘dressed with the meticulous care of an actress making her debut’ (p,46). Throughout the novel contrast Windows are symbolic throughout the novel and represent barriers between romantic fantasy and reality again at the ball Emma is delusional as she looks out of the window and sees’ peasant faces gazing in’ (p,48). . One of the methods Flaubert uses to depict confinement of his protagonist is by ironically undercutting the romance in the novel with realism which satirically pokes

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