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

In Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, Berthe Bovary acts as an important character despite her lack of dialogue and actions

Extracts from this document...


In Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, Berthe Bovary acts as an important character despite her lack of dialogue and actions throughout the novel. Due to Berthe's adolescence and innocence, she is able to contradict Emma's lavish lifestyle of corruption and indulgence. Through this progression, Berthe is able to develop Emma's character flaws along with narrating the residual effects Emma must face because of her selfish actions. Before becoming pregnant, Emma shows little interest in having a child and simply regards motherhood as a way to rekindle her marriage with Charles. Emma selfishly describes her longing for a baby boy who would grow up to be "strong and dark" and free to "explore passions and countries" (Flaubert 101). ...read more.


She is not interested in nurturing a child or experiencing motherhood, but rather having a child whom she can live vicariously through and experience the thrills she seeks in her own life. Emma's maternal incompetence is further exemplified when she pushes Berthe away and causes her to fall and cut her face. Emma is able to calmly lie to Charles that Berthe "fell down and hurt herself playing" (220). Again, Emma selfishly demonstrates the little concern she has for her child's wellbeing. She persistently proves her tremendous lack of maternal love when she notices "what an ugly child" Berthe is, an observation far from a typical motherly thought (Flaubert 225). ...read more.


Emma's struggle to accomplish her romantic ideals is emphasized by the fact that the only way for her to pursue her passion for Rodolphe is to take a reminder of her connection to Charles. Rather than working to make Berthe's life better, Emma greedily decides to drag Berthe along with her in order to achieve her own immoral desires. Berthe's presence is vital to the novel because she is used to develop the main character, Emma. Emma's atrocious attributes are only portrayed when she is contrasted with Berthe's innocence and placed in a position where her maternal inability identifies her selfishness and immorality. Without Berthe, Emma's character would not be accurately portrayed and the effects of her lifestyle upon those who truly love her would go unrecognized. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Comparison of emma and charls in madame bovary

    4 star(s)

    educated, good looking and active person; She knew how to dance, draw, do embroidery and play the piano and knew geography and had no economic difficulties and "Emma knew how to run the house as well" (pg.54). Charles instead, was a simple country lad which received no education and received only love from his mother.

  2. Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary

    Anna's second illusion is that happiness is not found in the family that she has formed, but in mundane and unacceptable relationships. Karenina's reality is simple; she is the ideal aristocratic Russian wife of the 1870s. Anna is part of a family that truly loves her; she is cultivated, beautiful, society wife and host with great poise and grace.

  1. Madame Bovary Personal Response. It is very interesting from a literary perspective, as it ...

    It is in this section (beginning with chapter 5) where we begin to see her delusional, romantic expectations, and her unattractive personality.

  2. To what extent does Guy de Maupassant show sympathy for Madame Loisel in 'The ...

    In the final lines of ?The Necklace?, Maupassant reveals the key difference between Mathilde Loisel and Jeanne Forestier. ?Madame Forestier looked?more than five hundred francs!...?? Evidently, Madame Forestier is concerned about her friend and the hardships that she had to go through to repay a debt for a necklace that she lost.

  1. Conversation of Actions and Mutual Exchanges in The Odyssey

    Therefore, Poseidon tries to avenge Polyphemos by nearly killing Odysseus at sea, showing that there is the exchange of Odysseus provoking Poseidon to commit these cruel deeds. Clearly, the gods play the superior role in affecting Odysseus? journey home. The mutual exchange between the gods and the hero is completed by Odysseus.

  2. How does Madame Bovary use the motif of food as a class signifier?

    Latter on the feast is described in taste as ?succulent? and in appearance as if it had an ?elaborate confection?. Flaubert could be making a direct attack at the Bourgeoisie, as they seem to base their reasoning on appearances failing to pay attention to pivotal details.

  1. In what ways do the theme of Illusion and reality affect the life of ...

    He even tries to escape the reality of Emma?s death as he was not ready to accept the fact that they won?t meet again ?nevertheless, he made an effort to work up some feeling of devotion, to soar on the hope of an after-life in which he would meet her

  2. Madame Bovary Notes

    Precautions were taken to prohibit access to the book. * Petit bourgeois village life * Used his book to "demoralize the bourgeois class from within". * Flaubert created his own style... continuous rhythm, everyone talks in clich�s, impersonal; wanted to avoid the flow of Romantic literature. * Dialogue = minimum.

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