Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Madame Bovary: Made It Through Part Two

Confession: Instead of writing my “one to two sentence summaries” immediately after reading a chapter, I have just continued reading and reading and reading, until suddenly seven chapters have gone by. Yikes!  That makes it more difficult to remember the most important event of each chapter.  However, I do use a highlighter to highlight all the important ideas, phrases, characters, and words that I do not know, and then I have a reference point to recall when I go back.  Although writing with a  fat highlighter does make it more difficult to make notes in the margin.

Here are my summaries for the second half of Part Two:

Chapter IX
Rodolphe is calculating as he withholds his visits to Emma in order to cause her to want him more, and it works; when they next see each other, she is rude towards him.  He suggests a ride into the forest, which officially begins their affair.  And that’s all I have to say about that. 

Chapter X
Madame Bovary has been making secret early morning treks out to visit Rodolphe, and later meeting in her garden in the evening.  Rodolphe is certain that he has conquered Emma, and he becomes bored with her, although at the same time she wants to turn away from him and wonders if she could try to love her husband, if possible.

Chapter XI
At the encouragement of Homais and Emma, Charles performs a medical procedure on Hippolyte; Emma is proud of her husband, until Hippolyte develops gangrene, and the patient loses his leg, causing more grief for Emma regarding her husband’s inability to meet her expectations.  She turns to Rodolphe for relief.

Chapter XII
The affair is obvious to everyone in town except Charles, which is odd, but it does not concern Emma, who plots to leave her husband and go away with Rodolphe; however, he has second thoughts.  He is done with Madame Bovary.

Chapter XIII
After reading Rodolphe’s farewell letter, Emma falls into another state of depression that lasts over forty days.  Charles stays by her side and even seeks out medical attention, though no one can help her.

Chapter XIV
The medical bills add up on top of all that Emma owes to Lheureux, and Charles decides to take a loan from the same.  Since recovering, Emma has taken up a new obsession, her Catholic faith, but that proves to be unsatisfying as well.  Finally, Homais has another great idea: take Emma to the opera in Rouen!

Chapter XV
Charles and Emma attend the opera, and Emma enjoys it immensely until she learns that Lèon is also there (by himself – how convenient!), and they all agree to leave at the second half.  And Charles suggests and agrees that Emma stay in Rouen an extra night to return to the opera with Lèon to see the end.   Either Charles is that naïve or he wants Emma to have an affair!


  1. I did a similar thing reading Mme B. We were camping when I finished the novel and it was just too much to juggle while reading on the beach: book, journal, highlighter, kindle, etc. I completely skipped journalling part III. But if I'm honest, I just skipped the journalling because I didn't care about the book or characters and just wanted to be finished!

  2. I am having a love-hate relationship with this book. I don't care for the characters either, but I just want to know what happens to them. Well, I am almost done, and I'll think about how to wrap up part III. Something quick and painless.