Women In Madame Bovary And Flaubert's The Awakening

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The prevalence and description of death and deathbed scenes and its importance as a plot device is omnipresent to nineteenth-century literature. Death was everywhere and mortality rates high, especially in children, not all parents expected their children to survive their early years (Realisms, 2001, p..10). Nineteenth century England was in the midst of social and economic development and people were migrating from farms to cities. This new urbanisation brought with it poor living conditions, overcrowding, poor sanitation, untreated sewage infiltrating the water supply resulting in the spread of disease and death. Life for the poor deteriorated as the infrastructure simply could not cope with the infiltration of this new demographic migration…show more content…
Limitations were imposed and females were not expected to form deep and authentic relationships with others, and were discouraged from expressing their creativity and sexual desires. Therefore, the women portrayed in Chopin’s The Awakening (Chopin, [1899] 2000: all subsequent page references are to this edition) and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (Flaubert [1856-57], 2003, all subsequent page references are to this edition) were considered ‘fallen women’ who were morally corrupt. Furthermore, both novels depicted scenes of suicide which in the nineteenth century was not only illegal, but considered ‘a terrible and shameful act.’ (Identities, p.39) Moreover, in Flaubert’s own ‘Catholic France suicide was held to lead inevitably to a state of damnation and was the most appalling fate for committed Christians as it negated the possibility of the good Christian death.’ (Identities, p.39) Hence, although written at different times, both novels caused controversy and met with critical condemnation due to their unacceptable subject matter, and their overt sexual
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