Critical Analysis Of Part 3 Of The Book Of How Emma Bovary Is Portrayed – Essay Example

Comment One: Flaubert idealizes Emma. The scene in the cathedral where Léon waits for Emma to arrive, and they look around the cathedral before leaving together, is an example of how Flaubert presents a flattering picture of Emma to the reader. She is shown through the eyes of Léon, who admires her expensive clothes and her coquettish behaviour. He sees her surrounded by religious images and this makes him think of her as an angel, and he seems to get a kick out of the thought of seducing her in such a religious setting. She appears virginal, and innocent and there is a comparison between Christian confession of faith and a romantic confession of love. The reader knows this is all fantasy because it is obviously presented as his own thoughts. Just before they leave the building, the two lovers are told to look at some pictures which show souls being damned in hell, and this is Flaubert giving a reminder that the innocent portrayal of Emma is not entirely correct, and her behaviour is in fact morally wrong by Christian standards of the time.
Comment two: Flaubert switches from romantic to horrific portrayals of Emma
In the scene where Emma thinks about and then plans and carries out her suicide it is clear that these things seem quite normal to her. She writes a solemn letter and goes to bed hoping to just fall asleep and die in a tragic and beautiful way. At first this is what happens but then she starts to have a bad taste in her mouth and she is sick, thirsty, and cold. Flaubert describes in horrifying detail how she vomits blood this lets the reader see that her death is in fact anything but romantic like the books she reads. The priest then says she is serene, and everything goes back to the romantic plan, but then her whole tongue sticks out and we are brought back to horror and ugliness. Just before she dies the blind beggar outside starts to sing, and he sings about a young girl and a summer day which is beautiful again. All of this switching from pretty and romantic images to truly grim and ugly scenes of sickness and death are Flaubert’s way of portraying two extreme sides of Emma’s character. I don’t think we are expected to choose which one of them to believe, but just to accept that they both exist, even though they contradict each other.