• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Religion in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Religion, considered as the essence of human spirituality and morality, has been an integral part of life throughout the course of history. It has been an efficacious presence in innumerable works of literature, poetry, and art. For this reason, it is of little wonder that we find the religious theme (or issue?) intricately explored in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Flaubert's Madame Bovary. In essence, these 19th century masterpieces are considered as outstanding examples of Realist literature, and their authors, along with their precise and realistic depictions, intertwine a subtle, but significant sense of religious influence to heighten theme and characterisation. And lastly, it is elemental in the final destruction of both tragic heroines. Flaubert and Tolstoy masterfully entwine the element of religion, and subsequently its role in society by using several characters to embody particular societal religious viewpoints. Flaubert portrays - rather scornfully- the decay of religious values in middle-class French society through the introduction of two characters: Homais and Father Bournisien. Homais considers himself the intellectual of Yonville, and with his irreligious views, he typifies the middle-class mentality of his time and its sciolistic attitudes: "My God is the God of Socrates, of Franklin, Voltaire and B�ranger!" (Flaubert 61) In this respect, Flaubert portrays him as a fool whose true faith lies only in materialistic pursuits which he integuments with the progressive-sounding jargon of scientific ideas, yet remains blind to the entire concept of religion and its values. ...read more.

Middle

(Flaubert 173) Religious conduct quickly becomes irritating to Emma, and it soon loses her interest. As her health improves, her religious values seem to decay accordingly, and it is obvious that her amoral attitude will remain adamant for as long as she lives; this is a powerful indication that Emma is fatally flawed, for in her next period of illness, there would be no recovery. In the gripping moments that precede Emma's death, she desperately turns to religion yet again. Although this seems to provide her provisional comfort and peace of mind, it is ultimately futile, as it is outwardly obvious that Emma's views on religion have remained unchanged. This scene is strongly reminiscent of Emma's near-death experience and Flaubert's masterful technique of parallelism becomes evident here. Much like Emma's prior religious 'illumination', this passage is adorned with rich word imagery and powerful sensual symbolism. For instance, as the priest displays the crucifix to Emma, she "stretched forth her neck like one in thirst, and, pressing her lips to the body of the Man-God, she laid upon him with all her ebbing strength the greatest loving kiss she had ever given." (Flaubert 265) As before, the intent of Emma's final religious episode was not one of spiritual and moral recovery, but to rekindle her licentious pleasures for one last time. Finally, as the priest attempts to offer Emma a consecrated candle, the "symbol of the celestial glories that were soon to surround her," (Flaubert 265) ...read more.

Conclusion

The theme of religion is a powerful one, and its impact on classic Realist works such as Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina knows no confines. Alex I don't know what the fuck to do here. I'm a bit under-qualified, I think, to revise your conclusion. I did my best but I don't really know what the book is about. Any conclusions I make will be most likely off topic. Now, Is what I have underlined your thesis? If it isn't then place your restated thesis there. Then somewhere after the second sentence in your conclusion, make a conclusion about the two main characters, the Bovary bitch and Karenina Kaqisinher. Say something about how they fucked up in a spiritual sense (I put something in but I don't know if its any good). Then top it off with - ta da - "A truism emerges, fated are those who wear their spirituality on their sleeve and embellished it with meaninglessness to be blighted by their ignorance." I'm just fucking with you. This has to be as bad of a piece of bull shit as I could have ever hoped to rip out of my ass. You probably shouldn't use it because I most likely doesn't make much sense. See, I really don't know what the fuck I'm talking about. That's about all I can do!! Sorry I can't be of any more assistence. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Jane Austen essays

  1. How does Jane Austen present the themes of love and marriage in the novel ...

    She has given up the pretence that Emma instilled in her. This emphasizes the negative effect that Emma had on Harriet. If not for Emma's interference, Harriet Smith would have married Robert Martin sooner and been happy, yet by giving Harriet a sense of pride, Emma postponed her happiness and caused Harriet to suffer a succession of heartbreaks.

  2. The Lewd Character of Madame Bovary

    She thirsted for his lips" (Flaubert 131). However, Flaubert seemed to glorify adultery more in Emma's love affairs with Rodolphe. He tended to use more passion in his tone when writing of sexual encounters between Emma and him. For example, "she threw back her head, her white throat swelled in

  1. Is it accurate to describe the world of 'Waiting for Godot' as futile and ...

    It arises during a conversation between the pair, which due to over-exaggerated actions and their comic bickering reflects further use of pantomime. Such a prospect is usually associated with an extreme emotional change of some sort. Vladimir's attitude is instead cynical, not full of typical emotional heartbreak but rather merely opportunistic in his outlook.

  2. The Usage of the Motif of Eyes to Illustrate Defiance, Effects ofRepression and Confinement, ...

    In addition to that, when Poncia, the house servant says, "It really disgusted me to see her (Angustias) sneak along to the patio" (Lorca 166), it reinforces the fact that Angustias was aware that she was doing something that should not have been done, as illustrated by the word "sneak".

  1. Madame Bovary and Techniques in Fiction

    (TIF, 50) Having included Charles and his early school years makes us at ease and more familiar to the story line on what is going to happen when. 3. Style and Speech "Every writer, by the way he uses the language, revels something of his spirit, his habits, his capacities, his bias."

  2. Madame Bovary

    All of theses symbols: the knife, the silly cap, cigar case, all encompassed who Charles really was, a lowly doctor with no individuality. The way Flaubert included the "small, ignoble Venice" of the river in Rouen and the pimples on his first wife's face was like " the budding of

  1. Chapter 19 EMMA

    Smith plays no role in this chapter, other than to get the two into the Bates' house, it is imperative to the story that this happens, for this is where Emma picks up on stories, Miss. Smith sits in the corner of the house and does not say, or do anything, even while Emma is fussing around Mrs.

  2. The Train From Rhodesia - review

    People who are returning to their homes from Rhodesia are unhappy that they have to leave this false life they have been living. "She sat down again in the corner and, her face slumped in her hands, stared out of the window" This gives the reader a sense of depression

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work