T: Madame Bovary – a lesson in how to loathe the one you’re with…

So, today is a perfect example of how people who say they’re too busy to read are liars. That may sound harsh but, if you don’t want to read just say it…you’re not hurting anyone but yourself. No one will judge you for being a philistine…well most people won’t judge you. (Those who choose to use the word philistine on a regular basis most likely will)

I woke up this morning and threw a favorite stand-by into my purse, diet coke. About halfway to the bus stop I felt like it was raining…exclusively on my left calf. Turns out my diet coke had absolutely no seal and I may as well have used my purse as an impromptu thermos. My bag was soaked. The victims of this caffeine laden flood were as follows: my digital camera, my cell phone, my paperback copy of Madame Bovary, and about nine hundred receipts. I emptied out the items onto the sidewalk and poured, LITERALLY POURED, the coke out of my purse into a garbage can. I then boarded the bus and attempted to move on with my day. It would not prove to be that easy. I arrived at work only to find my poor little ballet flats were actually crumbling beneath my weight. The entire sole of my shoes was cracking and leaving a trail behind me. ‘No Big Deal.’ said the optimist in me ‘I work at a clothing store; I’ll just grab a cheap pair of shoes to tide me over’. This solution seemed simple enough…buuuut turns out I didn’t have my wallet. Anyway, to make an already long story into a work of prose rather than an epic, I didn’t have a lunch, no money to buy one, and my shoes were slowly starting to look like they could inspire a sappy Christmas country song.

Anyway…as hard as my day was it eventually did what everyday does…it ended. I was able to walk away – albeit limp away due to the fore mentioned shoe dilemma, with a little bit of pride and a whole lot of frustration.

The only thing that made my day a bit better was this, my paperback copy of Madame Bovary – that I had assumed would be ruined – was perfectly fine after a little appointment with the high powered hand dryer in the public washroom. No matter how busy or frustrating your day is you can always fit in a quick read. Whether it’s a paragraph, or a chapter, there is always time for things you truly want to do.

So, enough about me…on to what I still have not proven to love – literature. I am currently reading Gustave Flaubert’s controversial classic ‘Madame Bovary’.

the b$#@% herself...

the b$#@% herself...

In case you aren’t familiar with the premise of the novel it’s about the young wife of a doctor who struggles with her unhappiness within a marriage and engages in an affair in order to escape the mundane realities that surround her in a rural French community. That’s about all I can tell you without completing summing up a masterpiece in something worse than a coles note…which I’m sure would have poor Gustave turning in his grave.

This book has mostly scandalized me – well, as much as someone in this day and age can be scandalized by insinuations of explicit behavior that run along the lines of “Rudolphe, laughing, drew her to him and pressed her to his breast.” But, it has also invoked a great deal of thought. I am generally disgusted with Madame (Emma) Bovary’s behavior as her husband is kind and gentle. Charles Bovary may be a little simple and not the most handsome man to ever walk the earth but the author makes it clear that he worships the ground upon which his young wife walks. Why then does her level of aggravation and hatred toward her husband – and all that he represents – continue to increase; while she continues to become increasingly consumed with a passion and love for a man who clearly would not blink an eye if she were to vanish from his life?

My thoughts are… Does every relationship come to a point where one (or both) parties feel nothing but the constraints that their partner places on their life? Is the fantasy of any given individual better than the reality that anyone could ever hope to create? I hope that this is not true…and as such will continue to not only read about the Bovary shenanigans but have decided on my next literary endeavor – Jane Austen’s Persuasion. What better way to follow the disintegration of a relationship than with the rebuilding of one?


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