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Madam Bovary And M. Scott Peck's Love

2426 words - 10 pages

The Myth of Romantic Love and Gustav Flaubert's "Madame Bovary"Gustav Flaubert's novel "Madame Bovary" is a study of human weakness and the "myth of romantic love"; the despair and unhappiness faced by those who are unwilling or unable to resolve the conflicts between their dreams and idealized aspirations and the real world; in modern terms or as M Scott Peck might say it is a study of a neurosis. Furthermore, the author examines middle-class or bourgeois conventions and the myth of romantic love, exposing weaknesses and dealing with the inability of the different characters to communicate with each other, face and accept the truth. Flaubert manages to relate everything in the novel to love: lust, beauty, power, money, fantasy. The love is the moving power; however, nobody knows exactly what love is. Our protagonist Emma Bovary spends the whole novel going back and forth about whether she's in love, out of love, thinking about love, dreaming about love, worrying about love. M Scott Peck gives an example definition of love saying: "The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth." (81)Most young girls are blinded by fantasies of love and adventure, but Emma is more concerned with them than most. Being raised in a convent and having many opportunities to read, her head is full of dreams of undying love and adventure. Her tendency toward her dream world was also started in the convent where she constantly searched for the mystic and the unusual rather than the real world. She spent all of her time dreaming of the extreme romantic view of knights in shining armor and being queen of an old castle. She shut out the dull routine of everyday life because it hurt her to see her life as it really is.Flaubert placed Emma Bovary, a highly romantic character who constantly dreams of meeting her "true" love and hopefully being swept off her feet and into a life of upper class luxury and indulgence, in an industrializing France built on the bourgeois preoccupation of labor, a town full of dreary and simple minded citizens (not excluding her husband Charles, who seems to embody this disposition), and worst of all for Emma, the societal expectation of limiting women to roles of domesticity '" forcing her to be the obedient, faithful housewife and devoted mother, roles she fails to uphold. The novel argues through Emma that a romantic character and really romantic love as a whole is purely fiction and that a person with such a mentality about life cannot find fulfillment in the real world. We also see this expressed by M. Scott Peck in his book "The Road Less Traveled" where he says that "…the myth of romantic love is a dreadful lie." (92) Gustav Flaubert shows us this through Emma's flaws and downfall '" as seen in her massive debts accrued while trying to live lavishly, her inability to be a faithful wife and a caring mother to her child, the eventual loss of passion between her and what she thought were...

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