FLAUBERT’S SECTION IN MADAME BOVARY (3rd person POV) IN EMMA’S POV

It was about this time, that is to say, the beginning of winter, that I was seized with great musical fervour.

One evening when Charles was listening to me, I began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation, while he, not noticing any difference, cried–

“Bravo! Very goodl You are wrong to stop. Go on!”

“Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty.”

The next day he begged me to play him something again.

“Very well; to please you!”

And Charles confessed I had gone off a little. I played wrong notes and blundered; then, stopping short–

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” I bit my lips and added, “Twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” said Charles, giggling stupidly. “But it seems to me that one might be able to do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation, and who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them!” I said.

The next day when he came home he looked at me shyly, and at last could no longer keep back the words.

“How obstinate you are sometimes! I went to Barfucheres today. Well, Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies who are at La Misericorde have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

I shrugged my shoulders and did not open my piano again. But when I passed by it (if Bovary were there), I sighed–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

And when anyone came to see me, I did not fail to inform them that I had given up music, and could not begin again now for important reasons. Then people commiserated me–

“What a pity! she had so much talent!”

They even spoke to Bovary about it. They put him to shame, and especially the chemist.

“You are wrong. One should never let any of the faculties of nature lie fallow. Besides, just think, my good friend, that by inducing madame to study; you are economising on the subsequent musical education of your child. For my own part, I think that mothers ought themselves to instruct their children. That is an idea of Rousseau’s, still rather new perhaps, but that will end by triumphing, I am certain of it, like mothers nursing their own children and vaccination.”

So Charles returned once more to this question of the piano. I replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano that had given my vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go was to Bovary like the indefinable suicide of a part of myself.

“If you liked,” he said, “a lesson from time to time, that wouldn’t after all be very ruinous.”

“But lessons,” I replied, “are only of use when followed up.”

And thus it was I set about obtaining my husband’s permission to go to town once a week to see my lover. At the end of a month I was even considered to have made considerable progress.

 

 

FLAUBERT’S SECTION IN MADAME BOVARY (3rd person POV) IN CHARLES’S POV

It was about this time, that is to say, the beginning of winter, that she seemed seized with great musical fervour.

One evening when I was listening to her, she began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation, while I, not noticing any difference, cried–

“Bravo! Very goodl You are wrong to stop. Go on!”

“Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty.”

The next day I begged her to play me something again.

“Very well; to please you!”

And I confessed she had gone off a little. She played wrong notes and blundered; then, stopping short–

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” She bit her lips and added, “Twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” I said, giggling stupidly. “But it seems to me that one might be able to do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation, and who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them!” said Emma.

The next day when I came home I looked at her shyly, and at last could no longer keep back the words.

“How obstinate you are sometimes! I went to Barfucheres today. Well, Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies who are at La Misericorde have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”>

She shrugged her shoulders and did not open her piano again. But when she passed by it (when I was there), she sighed–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

And when anyone came to see her, she did not fail to inform them she had given up music, and could not begin again now for important reasons. Then people commiserated her–

“What a pity! she had so much talent!”

They even spoke to Bovary about it. They put him to shame, and especially the chemist.

“You are wrong. One should never let any of the faculties of nature lie fallow. Besides, just think, my good friend, that by inducing madame to study; you are economising on the subsequent musical education of your child. For my own part, I think that mothers ought themselves to instruct their children. That is an idea of Rousseau’s, still rather new perhaps, but that will end by triumphing, I am certain of it, like mothers nursing their own children and vaccination.”

So I again to this question of the piano. Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it.

“If you liked,” I said, “a lesson from time to time, that wouldn’t after all be very ruinous.”

“But lessons,” she replied, “are only of use when followed up.”

And thus it was she set about obtaining my permission to go to town once a week to see her lover. At the end of a month she was even considered to have made considerable progress.

 

Instructor Response

Well done. The purpose of this exercise is to explore the effects of point of view. Readers will have different interpretations of the effectiveness of what’s expressed in the different points of view, but the essence you have so skillfully demonstrated here is that information, tone, and meaning are significantly, if not subtly, affected by point-of-view change.

In Emma’s POV:
In the line

One evening when Charles was listening to me, I began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation, while he, not noticing any difference, cried–

the word “vexation” can be interpreted and questioned. When, in third person, Charles notes the vexation, there seems a real dramatic, ironic sense of her manipulation. However, when she uses the word, it doesn’t seem appropriate. Why is she noting the vexation? For effectiveness, she might have said “feigning vexation” or something like that, but probably would never have used it since it’s not something that might be thought of about one’s actions.

The line

“I did not fail to inform them

seems to take on a significance in Emma’s POV; it seems motivated and in line with Emma’s goal. From the narrator’s view, the veracity of tone is slightly different, and in Charles’s point of view there seems even a credibility issue as to how he might know this (although possible, it is not as likely). All again to note the impact of POV change at the foundation of fictional prose sentence and word usage.

The line

like the indefinable suicide of a part of myself.

changes in effect. From the narrator it imparts a certain impact. From Emma’s POV, it seems too intellectual to be a part of Emma’s ideation and therefore imparts credibility and author competency issues. From Charles’ POV, it takes on a certain tenderness and awareness that might change his character a little. No matter whether you agree with these interpretations, the important point is the changes POV makes in the effect of prose and in the interpretation of a word or phrase.

In the line

And thus it was she set about obtaining my permission to go to town once a week to see her lover. At the end of a month she was even considered to have made considerable progress.

has a pleasing irony for most readers, but the nature and the impact change when POV changes. In the narrator’s POV, is may raise a smile in the reader. In Emma’s point of view, the quality of the dramatic irony seems changed, and whether Emma would say this with ironic intent is doubtful, which evokes questioning the presence of the author (which would bring up another analysis of author intrusion and whether it is appropriate). Depending on Charles’s awareness, the irony can take on significant dramatic impact for the reader.

In the line

But when she passed by it (when I was there)

demonstrates how the first-person POV prevents a broad view of the world and limits the worldview to only the I-character and generates considerable problems with distance from the action (must be within the purview of the senses) and credibility (how accurately is this character transmitting information? is it reliable?) and if not accurate, is the author inappropriately manipulating information through the character to force reader responses? Such irritations will accumulate over time and often cause the reader to abandon the story.

Excellent work, and I hope time well spent.

WHC

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