1. Education

'Madame Bovary' Quotes

By

Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary

Oxford University Press
Study Guide Madame Bovary is a famous (and controversial) French novel by Gustave Flaubert. But, why has it been banned? Can we get some insight into the female imagination--through this novel? These quotes are just a tidbit of the work that has drawn us in and made us rethink and re-imagine.
  • "It was something like an initiation into the social world, a taste of forbidden fruit. And as he put his hand on the door-knob to go in, he experienced an almost voluptuous pleasure. And thus many things which had been repressed within him began to expand and blossom forth. He learnt by heart some popular songs, with which he would greet his boon companions, went mad over Beranger, acquired the secret of making punch, and at length became acquainted with the mysteries of Love."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 1

  • "Her hands, however, were not beautiful--perhaps a shade too red and a little hard in the fingers. She herself was too tall, and her figure lacked the soft, caressing outline. Her good point was her eyes. They were dark, but her long lashes made them seem black, and she looked at you frankly, with a sort of fearless candour."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 2

  • "When all was over at the cemetery Charles returned to the house. There was no one downstairs. He went up into the bedroom and saw her dress hanging up at the foot of the bed. Then, leaning against the secretaire, he remained there till it was dark, lost in sorrowful meditation. After all, she had loved him."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 2

  • "Flies on the table crawled up the glasses that had not been cleared away and buzzed as they fell drowning in the dregs of the cider. The daylight which shone down the chimney imparted a velvety look to the soot in the fireplace and gave a bluish tinge to the cold ashes. Between the window and the hearth sat Emma at her needlework. She had no scarf about her neck, and tiny drops of perspiration were visible on her shoulders."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 3

  • "Above it, on the second storey, stood a castle-keep or donjon wrought in Savoy cake, surrounded with diminutive fortifications in angelica, almonds, raisins, and bits of orange; and finally, on the topmost level of all, which was nothing less than a verdant meadow where there were rocks with pools of jam and boats made out of nut-shells, was seen a little Cupid balancing himself on a chocolate swing, the posts of which were tipped with two real rosebuds."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 4

  • "It was a bridal bouquet, his first wife's bouquet. Her eyes fell on it. Charles saw her looking at it, and took it up into the attic. Sitting back in an arm-chair, while her things were being unpacked, Emma's thoughts strayed to her own wedding bouquet, which was stowed away in a bandbox, and she wondered, in a vague sort of way, what would happen to it, if by chance she came to die."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 5

  • "Before she married, she thought she was in love; but the happiness that should have resulted from that love, somehow had not come. It seemed to her that she must have made a mistake, have misunderstood in some way or another. And Emma tried hard to discover what, precisely, it was in life that was denoted by the words 'joy, passion, intoxication', which had always looked so fine to her in books."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 5

  • "She only cared for the sea when it was lashed to fury by the storm, and for verdure when it served as a background to a ruin. Everything must needs minister to her personal longings, as it were, and she thrust aside as of no account whatever everything that did not immediately contribute to stir the emotions of her heart, for her temperament was sentimental rather than artistic, seeking, not pictures, but emotions."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 6

  • "At first, when her mother died, she wept bitterly... Emma was inwardly gratified at the thought that she had risen at a bound to those ethereal heights which the more commonplace beings of the earth are never permitted to attain."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 6

  • "She pulled up short and jerked the bit from her mouth. Her mind, so material amidst its enthusiasm--she who had loved the church for its flowers, music for the words of its songs, and literature for its passionate excitements--rebelled against the mysteries of faith, even as she chafed against the restraint of discipline, a thing wholly repugnant to her disposition."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 6

  • "But her longing for a change; possibly, too, the unrest caused by a masculine presence, had sufficed to make her believe that she was at last possessed of that wonderful passion which, till then, had hovered like a great bird with roseate wings, floating in the splendour of poetic skies; and now she could not believe that her present unemotional state was the bliss whereof she had dreamed."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 6

  • "NEVERTHELESS she sometimes thought that they were the finest days of her life, those 'honeymoon days' as people call them... When the sun sinks down to rest, you breathe, beside the margin of a bay, the fragrant odours of the lemon-trees; and then, by night, on the terrace, alone with each other, with fingers intertwined, you gaze at the stars and make plans for the future. It seemed to her that there were certain places on the earth which naturally brought forth happiness, as though it were a plant native to the soil, which could not thrive elsewhere."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 7

  • "in accordance with theories she considered sound, she tried to physic herself with love. By moonlight, in the garden, she recited all the love poetry she knew and sighed and sang of love's sweet melancholy. But afterwards she found herself not a whit less calm, and Charles not a whit more amorous or emotional."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 7

  • "for her, life was as cold as an attic with a window looking to the north, and ennui, like a spider, was silently spinning its shadowy web in every cranny of her heart."
    - Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Ch. 7

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