This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Themeaw Themes And Fate In The Awakening And Madame Bovary

1354 words - 5 pages

Themes and Fate in The Awakening and Madame Bovary

      Kate Chopin's The Awakening and Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary are both tales of women indignant with their domestic situations; the distinct differences between the two books can be found in the authors' unique tones.  Both authors weave similar themes into their writings such as, the escape from the monotony of domestic life, dissatisfaction with marital expectations and suicide.  References to "fate" abound throughout both works.  In The Awakening, Chopin uses fate to represent the expectations of Edna Pontellier's aristocratic society.  Flaubert uses "fate" to portray his characters' compulsive methods of dealing with their guilt and rejecting of personal accountability.   Both authors, however seem to believe that it is fate that oppresses these women; their creators view them subjectively, as if they were products of their respective environments.


            Chopin portrays Edna as an object, and she receives only the same respect as a possession. Edna's husband sees her as and looks, " his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage."  (P 2 : The Awakening) Chopin foils their marriage in that of the Ratignolles who, "...understood each other perfectly." She makes the classic mistake of comparing one's insides with others' outsides when she thinks, "If ever the fusion of two human begins into one has been accomplished on this sphere it was surely in their union."  (P 56 : The Awakening) This sets the stage for her unhappiness, providing a point of contrast for her despondent marriage to Mr. Pontellier.  She blames their marriage for their unhappiness declaring that, "...a wedding is one of the most lamentable spectacles on earth."  (P 66 : The Awakening) She sees their lifetime pledge to fidelity and love as merely a social trap; the same forces that bind them oppress her.


            Simultaneously, Mademoiselle Reisz, who "...sent a keen tremor down Mrs. Pontellier's spinal column..." which perhaps is the tremor that marks the beginning of Edna's self discovery.  "A certain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her, - the light which, showing the way, forbids it."  (P 13 : The Awakening) As she explores her world, other men, swimming, and her other romantic pursuits, she experiences her epiphany; she finds that the world has much to offer and kills herself in the lamentation of that which she cannot truly have.


            Edna finds herself filled with "An indescribable oppression, which seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part of her consciousness...She did not sit there inwardly upbraiding her husband, lamenting at Fate, which had directed her footsteps to the path which they had taken."  (P 6 : The Awakening) Edna takes an active part in finding happiness within her world.  She pursues her swimming and other men in the interest of ending the monotony she lives with as a...

Find Another Essay On themeaw Themes and Fate in The Awakening and Madame Bovary

Society's Oppression in Madame Bovary and Middlemarch

2867 words - 11 pages Oppression of characters is usually fuelled by external causes. In the case of Madame Bovary and Middlemarch, external causes like gender norms result in the oppression of women. In Madame Bovary, society's expectations of a wifely figure restricts Emma's desire to climb the social ladder. In Middlemarch, the dogmas about female intellectual abilities propagated by characters like Lydgate and Casaubon hinder Dorothea's ability to become an

Lust in Madame Bovary and No Exit

1472 words - 6 pages In Flaubert’s ‘Madame Bovary’, and Sartre’s ‘No Exit’ lust is a major theme. It is expressed by theprotagonist Emma Bovary, in ‘Madame Bovary’, and is conveyed through all three characters, Inez, Estelle and Garcin, in ‘No Exit’. Emma’s life is observed intricately through an omniscient narrator who engages in realistic descriptions of her life. She is a tragic and unfulfilled dreamer. She aspires to have an aristocratic life, although she is

Madame Bovary and Written on the body

1437 words - 6 pages Baudelaire who pointed out that Emma's desires masculinized her, and he labeled her a "bizarre androgyne." In reality, in the background of the 19th-century French anticipations about women's conduct, Emma's blatant sexuality and far-reaching aspiration did stand out as alien and unacceptable, as the trial of Madame Bovary on allegations of violating public morals showed. (Porter 124). She is definitely feminine in many ways, but

Themes and Images in The Awakening

1599 words - 6 pages swoops through the air for a while, but she flies too high, into turbulent currents, breaking her bones and her spirit. Details from this novel by Kate Chopin demonstrate how this quote aptly captures the theme and spirit of The Awakening, as well as the situation of women in the nineteenth century and even today. First, one most look to the "white beach," Edna has trod on her entire life. This beach is the safe and sturdy ground that Adele

Madame Bovary and The House of the Spirits

1467 words - 6 pages Gustave Flaubert of Madame Bovary and Isabel Allende of The House of the Spirits both manipulate elements of genre, dialogue, and style in relation to suspense in order to comment on the romantic ideas of destiny and fate. While they both use these techniques in relation to suspense and anticipation, Flaubert minimizes the importance of fate while Allende seeks to promote it. Flaubert builds suspense for a large amount of time and suddenly

Emotional State and Class Systems in Madame Bovary

1093 words - 5 pages these impoverished traits, the places in which she has her affair become less lavish. Near the ending of her affair, Leon and she “sat in a low ceilinged room of a tavern, at whose door hung a black net” (Flaubert 151). Not only does the dark tavern express the decline in her status, but the fact that a “black net” hangs from the door expresses a darkness entering her life. Works Cited Flaubert, Gustave, and Francis Steegmuller. Madame Bovary. New York: Random House, 1957. Print.

Silence as Power in The House of the Spirits and Madame Bovary

1425 words - 6 pages Silence symbolizes power. Silence showcases the ability of restraint and often times angers those who participate in the other end of an argument and do not have the ability to restrain themselves from bursting. Similarly, In The House of the Spirits and Madame Bovary, Isabel Allende and Gustave Flaubert emphasize the symbol of silence in order to emphasize the lack of power from which Esteban and Charles suffer within their families, within

Comparison Of Speeches Between Rodolphe And The Councilman In Madame Bovary By Gustave Flaubert

1990 words - 8 pages To further illustrate the seduction of Emma into an affair with Rodolphe, Flaubert juxtaposes the speech Rodolphe makes to Emma along with that of the councilman's speech to the people of Yonville at the Agricultural Show. Both Rodolphe and the councilman use the technique of seduction in order to gain their own selfish desires. By praising the people of Yonville for their honorable hard work and contributions to society, the councilman

Gustave Flaubert and his "Madame Bovary"

1400 words - 6 pages We would like to think that everything in life is capable, or beyond the brink of reaching perfection. It would be an absolute dream to look upon each day with a positive outlook. We try to establish our lives to the point where this perfection may come true at times, although, it most likely never lasts. There's no real perfect life by definition, but instead, the desire and uncontrollable longing to reach this dream.In the novel Madame Bovary

Review of Madame Bovary and its symbolism

2838 words - 11 pages some critics' view the attack on Madame Bovary as politically motivated. The administration suspended publication of the Revue and charged its editors, printers, and Flaubert with offenses the state via public and religious morals (Richard 143). During the trial, the lawyer for the prosecution portrayed the novel as blasphemous and obscene; citing the lewd details, Emma's frolicking in her adulterous affairs, and the mixture of the sacred with the

Similarities between Madame Bovary and Mrs. Dalloway

1798 words - 8 pages Two of the most notorious women in literature, the lives of Madame Bovary and Mrs. Dalloway, though very different from each other, do have a bit of similarity. Both women are seen to not be satisfied with their lives though for very different reasons. Mrs. Dalloway, who is the heroine of Virginia Woolf’s novel, lives in the world of the rich. Some of her daily worries in life consists of how to make sure that party guests will enjoy how the

Similar Essays

Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert: Four Page Paper On Themes, Symbols, And Motifs Found In Madame Bovary

1373 words - 5 pages hears the sound of the lathe "calling" her to suicide. Finally, the lathe represents the craftsman continuously making a simple, uniform work of art.EatingThe quantity of food consumed in Madame Bovary could feed an army for a week! From Emma's wedding feast to the Bovarys' daily dinner, Flaubert's characters are frequently eating, and the way they eat reveals their important characteristics. Charles' horrible table manners, amplified through

Madame Bovary As A Template For Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

2162 words - 9 pages a tract than a novel, The Awakening is starkly written, with much less subtlety than Madame Bovary. For instance, Flaubert communicates the shallow, materialistic nature of Charles’s attitude towards Emma by contrasting his fascination with her looks, “he gazed at the sunlight playing in the golden down on her cheeks…” (MB, 25), with his obliviousness to her thoughts and personality. On the other hand, Chopin writes of Mr. Pontellier, “looking

'in The Early Stages Of 'the Awakening', Show How Kate Chopin Reveals To Us Edna's Growing Consciousness.': An Explanation Of The First Few Chapters Of Chopin's Take On Madame Bovary!

1764 words - 7 pages Kate Chopin's story, 'The Awakening', throws echoes back on a time when women were imprisoned by societal expectations as in a glass cage. Often women would be unaware of the fact that they were not free in the true sense of the word, or if they were aware, they were not sufficiently conscious enough to wish to break free and risk disapproval. This was the time that Chopin lived in, and her work can only mean that she as a writer became aware

Romance And Reality In Flaubert’s Madame Bovary

1129 words - 5 pages Romance and Reality in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary In the story of Alice in Wonderland we follow Alice down a rabbit hole into a land of pure wonder, where the logic of a little girl holds no sway. In Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, we witness exactly the opposite as Emma Bovary, a most romantic creature, is purposely cast into a harshly realistic world. In either case, a creature is put into an environment unnatural to her disposition, yet