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Not surprisingly, life in Tostes doesn't measure up to Emma's expectations of the ideal honeymoon. She imagines traveling in the mountains, visiting countries with exotic names, and spending nights in a villa where she and her husband can gaze at the stars, hold each other's hands, and talk about the future. In short, she sees a wide gap between her life with Charles and that of a romantic heroine.
Emma realizes that she can never discuss her yearnings with Charles. He is dull, insensitive, and stupid. His conversation is "as flat as a sidewalk" and he's unaware of life's refinements. So Emma spends her days playing the piano, drawing, and writing letters to Charles' patients who have not paid their bills. Charles idolizes his wife and has no idea that she isn't happy with their life.
NOTE: THE GAP WIDENS
From now on, the more Charles loves and grows dependent on Emma, the
more she will withdraw from him. She does not admire a man who is content
with his station in life. She is ambitious, restless, and anxious for
perpetual change. Once she achieves a desired goal, she wants to move
on to something new. Can you sympathize with her? Or is this a sign of
immaturity and a distorted sense of reality? Isn't she really happiest
when longing and suffering?
In an effort to spark romance into their marriage, Emma recites love poems to Charles in the garden-but to no avail. She begins to doubt Charles' love for her since he embraces her only at certain times of the day. Not all men, she concludes, are like Charles, and perhaps she should have waited for Mr. Right to come along. She longs for the passionate and fiery advances of a lover, and wonders what kinds of husbands her former classmates have.
Finally, something exciting happens. The Bovarys receive an invitation to a ball at La Vaubyessard, the chateau of the Marquis d'Andervilliers, one of Charles' former patients. The couple sets out for the Marquis' residence in their modest buggy and arrives at nightfall.
NOTE: FLAUBERT'S REALISM
Compare the description of La Vaubyessard with that of Emma and Charles' wedding. This will help you appreciate Flaubert's realistic, almost scientific, writing style. The people in these scenes represent two distinctly different social groups and can be thought of as specimens being examined under a microscope.