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The portrayal of desire in the novels Madame Bovary and the Kiss of the Spiderwoman

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Introduction

The Portrayal of Desire Clashing with Reality in the Novels 'Madame Bovary' and 'the Kiss of the Spiderwoman' In the novels 'Madame Bovary' and the 'Kiss of the Spiderwoman', the main characters Emma and Molina are both romantic idealists and share common desires of passion, love and materialism that are unrealistic in reality. Throughout both novels, they try to fulfill their desires but because their desires are in conflict with the real world around them, it ultimately leads to their misfortune and the consequences of their actions are a result of their longing to satisfy a dream that is not real. In 'Madame Bovary', Emma Bovary is a woman who longs to experience love, romance, sensual pleasures and extravagance. She longs for a better life, a life of riches and luxury, a life that she does not experience in reality. Emma "wanted equally to die and to live in Paris" so that she can enjoy the life of the upper class society, indulging in fashion, the theatres and soaking in the hustle and bustle of city life. Besides indulging in an extravagant life, Emma also yearns to be involved in a passionate and romance filled relationship, one that is often found in classic romantic novels. ...read more.

Middle

This discontent that Emma feels contributes to her desire in wanting to experience exaggerated love and as a result she ends up giving in to temptation and having affairs with other men. Emma indulges in materialistic possessions because that is what women from the upper class do, and therefore in order to fulfill her desire of living a life of extravagance, she has to indulge in art, and materialism. Emma "knew the latest fashions...the days for the Bois or the Opera. She studied descriptions of furniture...seeking to gratify in fantasy her secret cravings." All this to her, is a way of satisfying her desire because by doing so, it helps her to forget the empty feeling that she feels inside. It makes her happy and contented and this is the 'ecstasy' that Emma craves in order to feel satisfied with her life. In the beginning of chapter 9, Emma describes Paris as being a place where diplomats walk on polished floors, a world of trailing gowns where people extravagant as kings, full of idealistic ambitions and wild enthusiasms live. She then goes on to describe the "boring countryside that she lives in, the imbecile petits bourgeois and the general mediocrity of life." From this comparison, we can see the great difference between city and country life, and why Emma longs to live in the city. ...read more.

Conclusion

Everything that is valuable is taken away and even Rudolphe, the man she thought she could count on let her down. Because of Emma's longing to fulfill her desires, she succumbs to temptation, not thinking about the outcome of her decisions. "She had no memory of the cause of her terrible condition, that is to say the problem of money. She was suffering purely for love..." shows how caught up Emma has become in her romantic ideals. Her desires ultimately cause her to lose everything and even having to take her own life because she has reached a point where reality finally sinks in. Similarly in Molina's case, he ends up falling in love with Valentin and will 'do whatever you (Valentin) tell me". As a result of Molina's sacrificial love for Valentin, he loses his life by being a messenger for Valentin. Molina did not mind losing his life because to him, that was a heroic act and it was worth dying for his loved one. The portrayal of the desires of Emma and Molina have both resulted in mishaps because their desires clash with the reality of the world and circumstances that they live in. Although both characters end up loosing their lives, they still pursued their desires and to a certain extent, lived up to their expectations. Samantha Aloysius 12 CHu Word count: 1663 ...read more.

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