"She still was not happy, she never had been. What caused this inadequacy in her life? Why did everything she leaned on instantaneously decay?" - Gustave Flaubert
M. Bovary runs along the same lines as many books claimed by feminism as the "early stages of enlightenment." Kate Chopin's "The Awakening", Emily Brontè's "Wuthering Heights", and Thomas Hardy's "Return of the Native" all all into this category. They are all about artistic women discontent with with "simple" husbands. They all seek passionate love and feel they will find freedom in this, but they inevitablely find just the opposite.
Madame claimed to know and yearn so much for love yet she can't see it in its most basic form. How does M. Bovary presume so much superiority over her husband in the area? Can she not see that his quite but consistent admiration of her is love in its greatest form? He is content with her, and happy at each breath she takes. Why could this not be enough?
M. Bovary is truly blind to her own selfishness. She never realizes that she is the destructive force in her life. Bad luck is not following her around, she is dragging it kicking and screaming. She also seems to feel a great deal of pity for herself, and expects others to as well. Shouldn't people know what she wants from them without her constantly having to ask for it or explain it? (Attention Ladies!) I think this novel is horribly sad because it is so often repeated.
I found Charles' passionate and desolate reactions in the very end to be most ironic.
"For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content" Phil 4:11