Madame Bovary Reflective Statement
Work in Translation: Reflective Statement
By Gustave Flaubert
The interactive oral effectively broadened my overall understanding of the cultural and contextual considerations of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Through various examples discussed during the oral interaction, I was able to achieve a better understanding on how some cultural aspects portrayed by Flaubert are easy to understand, despite the major differences in today’s social interactions in society from that of the mid 1800s. For one, it was easy to understand Emma’s outright desire for the greater good. Flaubert’s explicit portrayal of her extremely materialistic nature can be interpreted as her want towards a better life, with fancier items to show her higher social class. This is still accurate in most people’s lives, wanting to accumulate on ‘better’ tangible items to show their social status, widely shown through people’s unnecessary greed for items and money. In a way, the similarity between today’s idealistic views and Emma’s desires are clear; however her view of the ideal life was shown with a high degree of romanticism expressed by Flaubert.
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This idea continues onto another area where my understanding developed significantly after the interactive oral: the portrayal of romanticism and realism. It was discussed that Flaubert was the first to introduce the idea of the realistic view of life by criticizing the romantic views people had. He portrays Emma’s romantic thoughts from the beginning when she reads the various novels of love in the convent. Also, through the satirical description of Emma’s thoughts and her fantastical desires, he begins to show how destructive the idea of romanticism can become. In contrast of Emma’s highly absurd desires, he gives the idea of the realistic life people actually live. He shows this through the satisfied life of Charles, a content, middle class man who does not have any further want for a more successful life. The realism is shown here; Emma’s unrealistic dreams clash with the real world she lives in, which is a world where one’s actual hard work is required.
I came to understand that this novel is comprised largely of romantic ideals in Emma, critically contrasting it to the realistic, true nature of the world around her. Drawn by the materialistic aspect of the life around her, she fails to see how decent of a life she was actually living. From the interactive oral, these two areas of the work in translation developed my understanding of some of the considerations involved in the work.