Realism in Madame Bovary

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Due to its unromantic, unadorned representations of people and their everyday lives, Madame Bovary is considered as one of the best “realistic” writings. Literary realism can be described as a method for portraying a subject objectively, without the use of artistic conventions or supernatural or implausible elements. The aim of realistic literature is to have an object exemplification of social existence. In literary realism texts, the reader often sees the real world from the author's eyes. Clearly, most writers use painting and poetry to express their personal lives or the state of society. For example, a poet may decide to use writing to discuss evil in society. Similarly, an individual can choose to share his/her personal challenges via script. As such, literary realism is a mechanism of sharing the actual aspects of the society or self without any fabrications meant to entice the readers. A realistic book considers the modern-day as well as daily lives and ordinary scenes. It concentrates on individuals in a social context while also delving into their essence. Regarding the stylistic approach, the novels take a straightforward style, almost logical in its explanation of events and characters. Therefore, this paper will dwell on Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary and how it fits in literary realism.

The entire novel is modeled in a manner that brings out realism. The author ascribes every detail to serve certain purposes that can be related to the real life. There is intellectual creativity entailed in what is omitted or selected and the weight accorded to certain incidents.

A universal facet of any realistic writing is the truth. It appears to be real in all aspects. Madame Bovary attains this element to some extent as portrayed by the stylistic approach. For example, the author utilizes the realistic description of people and place. At the onset of the book, as Charles goes back to Rouault farm, under the pretext of checking on Emma’s father, the section is depicted in detail, i.e., from flies buzzing to the “small drops of perspiration on her bare shoulders.”

The author also often integrates lengthy explanations of things that do not contribute to the character, theme, or plot but bring about a sense of realism. The mechanism seeks to draw the reader to the actuality of the world entailed within the novel. A good instance can be illustrated from the start of Part Two, which describes Yonville-I’Abbaye. The writer provides a geographical description, buildings within the town as well as the graveyard and the local gravedigger. The descriptions give the book the effect of reality.

The author maintains realism via the utilization of symbolism and metaphors that are obtained from the daily, ordinary lives and not abstract. In other words, unlike the fictional novels that normally use obscure literary devices, Flaubert used realistic assertions drawn from the practical world. A good example can be illustrated by the description of Charles’s mother after she is disturbed by the marriage of Charles and Emma. The writer portrays it to be “like a ruined man gazing through the windows at people dining in his old home.” Evidently, this metaphor is grounded in actuality that gives the novel a real-world texture.

Overall, Flaubert manages to integrate different scenes using real aspects of life. He manages to capture the dullness within the middle-class individuals without affecting the novel. His minute concentration to detail, treatment of commonplace, and depiction of ordinary life gives the novel a sense of realism. Flaubert was determined that every piece of the book would portray real life.

July 29, 2022


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Madame Bovary Realism Novel

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