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Individual Female Rebellion in Madame Bovary and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

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Carlos Perez Lerma Individual Female Rebellion in Madame Bovary and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The way that characters rebel in both books is in some ways similar, but at the same time very distinct. The main female characters exist in very different surroundings and life styles, making their moral standing and their beliefs very different. Nonetheless, one can judge their rebellion through the common theme of infidelity in both books. In Madame Bovary, Emma Bovary rebels against the life that she leads, a dull life of marriage in the countryside that has been socially imposed on her. She rebels against her marriage considering it to be the one thing that holds her dreams back the most. Emma is in a position were she feels repressed and limited in what she really wants for herself. Flaubert shows us her life as very monotonous and in some way, just a waste of time. She craves a life like the one described to her in books, an exciting life of luxury and glamour: "it was always love, lovers, mistresses...romantic woes, oaths, sobs, tears and kisses... ...read more.


This similarity blinds her and leads her into placing all her hopes on these men, who eventually turn these relationships into sordid affairs. Emma embarks directly upon a path of moral and financial ruin during the novel. Since she's very beautiful, illustrated by several men falling in love with her. She has moral corruption that means she cannot accept and appreciate the realities of her life, never recognizing that her desires are unreasonable. These moral errors can be reflected on Emma's inabilities to accept her situation and her attempt to escape it through her infidelities. These mistakes bring her to total ruin and, in the process, affecting innocent figures, such as her daughter. Berthe is an innocent child in need of her mother's care and love, but Emma is cold to her, and Berthe ends up working in a cotton mill due to Emma's selfish decisions. Near the end as she searches desperately for money, she has to ask men for it, and the only thing she can use to persuade them is sex. ...read more.


Throughout the process of cheating, she feels that her body is the one involved and not her soul, which is essential for Tereza's well being, believing that uniqueness of true love comes from the soul: "her soul was not at all involved, only her body, her body alone, the body that had betrayed her and that she had sent out into the world among other bodies"6. Like Emma Bovary, Tereza's rebellion led her into what she feared the most: making of her body only a sexual and physical tool. Overall, it can be seen that these two female characters rebel against their limiting surroundings by exploiting their sexuality and using their bodies as sexual tools. Their worlds fail to make them unique and special, creating an image of themselves, which, according to them, is plain, boring and at times prejudicial. Their desperate search for an idealized life where they stand out above the rest, leads them to blind rebellion against their surroundings. The consequences for these actions force them to take the need of recognition to a self-destructing extreme. ...read more.

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