Friday, April 08, 2005

Madame Bovary
Have you read Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert? The InMediasRes reading group will be meeting to discuss the novel tomorrow, Saturday, 3 PM, at the Datelines Bookshop, Marikino Shoe Expo, Cubao. If your Saturday is free, please join us. Here are the discussion questions for tomorrow:

Is Madame Bovary a sentimental fool or simply a romantic idealist longing for a life less ordinary?

What is the cause of her great unhappiness?

How would a Marxist interpret Madame Bovary's predicament?

How do you react to the main characters in the book? Do you admire or detest any of them? Do you find any hateful, laughable or pitiable? Can you locate any heroes or villains, good or bad characters?

We are told at one point in the text that madame Bovary, virtually throughout her years of maturity, has been "waiting for something to happen". Yet much happens-she falls in love, she marries, she has a child, she falls in love again, then again, and this time has an adulterous affair, she nearly commits suicide, and so on. What does it mean to say that she is "waiting for something to happen."

Madame Bovary hoped that she would give birth to a son because she thought a son would at least be free and could fulfill vicariously all her dashed dreams. If Madame Bovary were a man, would it have really made a difference? What are the gender issues in the novel?

Near the end of the book, a character is briefly introduced- Larivière-who seems quite different from all the others and he is immediately withdrawn from the action. What was Flaubert's purpose in introducing him?

Does the novel have a moral?

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