Madame Bovary Read-Along – Part Three and Wrap-Up


 * * *

Can you believe we have come to the end of our Madame Bovary read-along?


Leon was so sweet in Part One, so I thought it was interesting that it took some living the high life of a Paris bachelor to give him the confidence to pursue Emma as aggressively as he did in Part Three. However, I think we all knew Emma would eventually become overbearing and the relationship would get too intense for Leon.

I kept shaking my head at how Emma just lets her life get so out of control both morally and financially. I couldn’t count the number of times she and Charles took on more debt and signed away their lives just to avoid acknowledging the problem. I was shocked and horrified for Emma when the lawyer, Guillaumin, suggests a sexual trade for his services. But I wasn’t prepared for Emma turning around and flirting with the tax collector, Binet, and then throwing herself at Rodolphe for one final kick in the teeth hours later. But what else does a woman of Emma’s time period have to offer?

I expected the deaths in the book, but I wasn’t expecting the egotistical rampage Homais goes on after Emma’s death. I never could really understand the part he plays in Madame Bovary. I read he is supposed to represent bourgeois arrogance, but I haven’t entirely been able to make the connection to Emma’s situation. Maybe: Emma’s problems are middle class problems? Or maybe: the bourgeois middle class make stupid mistakes due to their misconceived ideas of their own importance and Emma is an example of this? … I’m not sure. I’m not very good at deep analysis of this kind.

My favourite writing in Part Three is Chapter Eight after Emma leaves Rodolphe and Flaubert writes so exquisitely about Emma’s crushing pain and absolute hopelessness. Not that I enjoyed Emma’s suffering, but because I have felt similar pain in my past, and every single word Flaubert wrote resonated deeply with me.

Lastly, my biggest criticism of Emma throughout this book was her neglectful treatment of her daughter, Berthe. I was so sad to read how Emma’s delusions and selfishness doomed that innocent little girl’s life. Charles also lets her down by proving to be weak and equally neglectful. It just sucks.

As much as I criticized Emma in Madame Bovary, I fully realize she was a woman with wants and needs during a time when men had all the power, choices and money. In the movie Little Children, Kate Winslet’s character says she admires Emma for choosing to bravely fight for love and seize what she wants from life. However, what Kate failed to mention is how many people Emma would destroy by making those choices, including herself.


Thank to you all of our fantastic participants. I hope you enjoyed the book and this read-along. Your comments made for some really fun and interesting chats about the book.

Take a bow:

Exploring Classics
Only You
Heaven Ali
Consumed By Ink
The World According to Laura
She Reads Novels
Fleur In Her World
Laura Gómez Mera
Classical Carousel
Ravens and Writing Desks
The Dead Writers Society
My Book Strings
The True Book Addict
Plethora of Books
Must Read Faster
Reading In Bed
Lavish Bookshelf
This Is Me Trying To Be A Writer
Yasmine Rose’s Book Blog

Please add your link-up below.

Most of all, I want to thank my co-host, Juliana for coordinating this read-along with me. She’s a wonderful blogger and you should check out Cedar Station, if you haven’t had the opportunity. Also, if you loved the read-along button and banner, all the credit should go to her.

And here is my book review. Adieu!


12 comments on “Madame Bovary Read-Along – Part Three and Wrap-Up

  1. Cedar Station
    April 30, 2014

    Holy smokes, did we just put our final posts up within 10 minutes of each without even coordinating AT ALL? We are totally in sync, you and I.

    I really like your last note, about how we can glorify Emma for taking chances and going after what she wants, but if we start taking count of how many lives she destroys in the process it doesn’t look so great after all. Awesome point.

    Thank you so much for hosting with me, CJ! You are absolutely fantastic and I would love to do this again (if you’ll have me!) 🙂


    • ebookclassics
      April 30, 2014

      LOL, great minds think alike! Juliana, this was so much fun. I would love host another read-along with you. Let’s try this again for the same time next year. Talk soon!


  2. My Book Strings
    April 30, 2014

    Thanks for organizing this event! I definitely enjoyed this book more because I read it as part of a read-along.


    • ebookclassics
      May 1, 2014

      Thank you for joining us! I enjoyed chatting with you about the book.


  3. Naomi
    April 30, 2014

    I don’t totally get the significance of Homais’ character, either. I’m not very good at analyzing, just reading and enjoying, and sometimes I have something insightful to say, if I’m lucky.

    I agree, Berthe gets the crappy end of the deal. But I like to think she’s better off without them.

    Thanks for hosting this read-along- I had a lot of fun!


    • ebookclassics
      May 1, 2014

      It was wonderful to read a book with you! Next up … A Tale of Two Cities! 🙂


  4. yasmine rose
    May 1, 2014

    Thank you for hosting the read-along, it has been a great experience re-reading the book with other people (my review will be up shortly!). I have never watched Little Children but I loved what you said about Kate Winslet’s character – Emma certainly destroys everything around her, including herself, by pursuing love. Though I think it may have been an equally sad tale if she didn’t pursue what she wanted. I can’t imagine she would have made a better mother or wife if she had stayed within the boundaries of dutiful housewife, and I think the ending may have been the same. It’s such a sad tale!


  5. Pingback: ‘Madame Bovary’ by Gustave Flaubert Read Along Part III | Yasmine Rose's Book Blog

  6. jerikavonalexandra
    May 2, 2014

    Thanks for hosting the read-along. Madame Bovary is finally off my To Read list. 🙂

    Part III was really a struggle, but I still liked the flow of words. From the moment Leon decided that “he must firmly resolve to possess her,” I just got Rodolphe flashbacks. You kind of get the idea that it isn’t going to end well given the progression of the novel, but it was hard to read that even in death, she still managed to cause the destruction of her family – all because of the actions she took while she was still living.


    • ebookclassics
      May 6, 2014

      Thank you so much for joining us! I agree that Leon’s aggressiveness was very reminiscent of Rodolphe … and we know how that worked out.


  7. Pingback: ‘Madame Bovary’ by Gustave Flaubert Read Along Part III | Yasmine Rose Reads Books

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