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CHAPTER 14

Charles' financial problems are enumerated here in great detail. Not only does he owe Homais for all the medicine supplied during Emma's illness, but Lheureux, the merchant, is after him to pay for all of Emma's purchases. Charles unwisely decides to borrow money at a high interest rate from Lheureux himself, hoping that after a year he'll be able to catch up with his bills.

Emma's illness lingers through the winter. She sits by her familiar window while the monotonous rhythms of town life hum around her. Occasionally, Father Bournisien visits her. At the height of her illness she had asked for Communion and had experienced a celestial vision where she imagined herself ascending to heaven. As she recovers, the memory of the vision gives her hope that there's a "bliss greater than worldly happiness, a different kind of love transcending all others."


NOTE:

Here is another occasion when Flaubert links Emma's religious and sexual feelings, just as he did when describing her life at the convent school. Do you think that her devotion to God is any different from her feelings for Rodolphe?

During her recovery, she becomes a more attentive parent and takes a renewed interest in the household. She receives daily visits from most of the women in the town and from Justin, who has a secret crush on her. Homais suggests that going to the opera in Rouen might amuse Emma. At first, Emma refuses, but Charles insists and eventually they decide to go.

NOTE:

As Emma and Charles changed location between Parts One and Two, so too the focus of Part Three will change to the large Normandy city of Rouen. This provides another chance for Emma's hopes to be realized. A city like Rouen represents to her a chance for exciting adventure. (The city of her ultimate fantasy, Paris, will never be achieved.) You already probably know enough about Emma to realize that a change is only a temporary cure. Do you and your friends ever equate change of place with change of heart?

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