Purpose: Using a famous scene by Flaubert, change the POV (twice) to practice writing in different POV’s and to learn advantages, disadvantages, and restrictions each point of view presents.  Be aware:

Change in POV may change impact of irony.

1st person POV is limited in psychic and physical distance from the action and requires special skill to maintain credibility of character and story.

3rd person and narrator POVs allow more story information, setting, and emotions (and desires) to be presented objectively.

The choice of POV for a story should have a purpose that relates to story effectiveness and reader understanding and enjoyment.

Read:  Scene from Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.  Part three, Chapter four.  (For complete online text, click here.)  510 words.  Predominantly narrator POV, with 3rd person POV sometimes used or suggested.

Study preparation:

1) Dialogue writing, 2) Improving dialogue, 3) 1st person POV, 4) Overuse of 1st person.


Passage for revision

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

One evening when Charles was listening to her, she 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 her to play him something again.

“Very well; to please you!”

And Charles 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,” 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!” said Emma.

The next day when he came home he 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 (if Bovary were 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 Charles returned once more to this question of the piano. Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go was to Bovary like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself.

“If you liked,” he 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 her husband’s 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.

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Comment

Timeline: a few days.  Conflict: Charles is not thrilled with Emma’s desire for piano lessons and is unaware she wants to be with her lover.  Style: mainly dialogue.

Instructions

1. Rewrite the passage in Emma’s first person POV.  Keep the same timeline and conflict.  As you change pronouns, be sure dialogue and text are reasonable for this point of view.  Also, some of the ideation, and credibility, in third person may not be reasonable in first person; note especially some of the expressions of commiseration, which Emma might not know about, especially in the detail presented, unless heard directly.  Adjustments may be needed; try to figure a way to deliver it effectively. Note how the adverb “bitterly” near the end pushes the point of view slightly toward Emma from the narrator . . . subtle but can be important for clarity and style in revision.

Note how the effect of a line such as “But lessons,” she replied, “are only of use when followed up.” changes in different points of view.  From the narrator’s view, there is irony.  From Charles’s view, there is no irony for him but dramatic irony for the reader.  From Emma’s view, it seems merely manipulation with little irony.

2. Rewrite the passage in Charles’s POV.  Consider the same issues.  Make it fluid; do not loose the pacing; keep story momentum as Flaubert has delivered it; maintain credibility, that is, that this character could be real (important for significant meaning, irony, and reader knowing scene’s purpose; and to challenge you as you work in new points of view). Try not to lose the humor of this passage. Keep the story line clear.

500 word limit for each POV revision, TOTAL WORD LIMIT 1000.


   Work submissions for Assignment 1: Working with POV

Emma:

It was the beginning of winter that I became annoyed with his regular efforts to engage me.  I tried playing the piano to tune out his presence, but he pinned himself to my side.

One evening I played the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation, yet he cried–

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

His flattery was nerve racking if not pathetic.  I mustered a response –  “Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty.”   That worked and he leaned away.

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

 “Very well; to please you!” I said through my gritted teeth.

I banged my fingers against the ivory then stopped short and hung my head.  “Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but– twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” he responded with a laugh. “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 replied.

The next day when he came home he hesitated.  I thought it was back to the drawing board.  My fingers were too numb to play any harder.

Finally he came out with it.

“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 off his suggestion, although it was the perfect plan. I made a point to pause by the piano when he was looking – “Ah! my poor piano!”

When anyone came to see me, I solicited pity which drew the attention I was anticipating–

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

They spoke to him about it. They put him to shame.

“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 he returned to this question of the piano.  I begged him to sell it.  He took a deep breath then said “If you’d like a lesson from time to time, that wouldn’t after all be very ruinous.”

“But lessons, are only of use when followed up.”   I said with my eyes down.

And thus it was set – he sent me to town once a week to see my lover. At the end of a month I demonstrated what a great investment he had made by playing him a masterful piece.

Charles:

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

One evening when I stood listening, she began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation.  One note, one chord, another chord, it all sounded like the same noise she always played.  I dared not sit for I would have slept.  I responded with good timing –

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

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

The next day, I asked her to play.  I preceded the session with gulps of liquor. 

“Very well; to please you!” she said.

One chord and I was already dozing where I stood.  Just when I thought she was playing a piece, she wasn’t.  My eyes popped open.   She sat staring with her hands clawed above the keys.  Just as I was to suggest another form of relaxation she came out with –

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but – twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” I said and giggled at her suggestion.  “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!” she said.

The next day I had hoped she had forgotten about it.  She hadn’t.  How obstinate she could be.  So I told her about the cheapest lessons I could find.

 “Ah! my poor piano!” was her reply.

She broadcasted her plight.  Then people commiserated her–

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

They broached the subject with me and spoiled the taste of my glass of brandy.  I tightened my lips and listened –

“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.”

I put down my glass, hugged her and stated the piano was a symbol of our love. 

Her reply was to sell it.  This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–   

“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.”

I gave her permission to go to town once a week to have the lessons.  I was amazed at the transformation.  I had never seen her fingers flow so smoothly and her body sway so gracefully,  and the sound – made me sink into my chair –  and she did it all with a glowing smile.

Instructor Response

Excellent work. I’ve made comments in red in ms. Thanks.

Emma:

It was the beginning of winter that I became annoyed with his regular efforts to engage me.  I tried playing the piano to tune out his presence, but he pinned himself to my side.Nice.

One evening I played the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation, yet he cried–

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

His flattery was nerve racking if not pathetic.  I mustered a response –  “Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty.”   That worked and he leaned away.

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

 “Very well; to please you!” I said through my gritted teeth.

I banged my fingers against the ivory then stopped short and hung my head.  “Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but– twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!” Good.

“Yes, so it is–rather,” he responded with a laugh. “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 replied.

The next day when he came home he hesitated.  I thought it was back to the drawing board.  My fingers were too numb to play any harder.

Finally he came out with it.

“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 off his suggestion, although it was the perfect plan. I made a point to pause by the piano when he was looking – “Ah! my poor piano!”

When anyone came to see me, I solicited pity which drew the attention I was anticipating–

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

They spoke to him about it. They put him to shame.

“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 he returned to this question of the piano.  I begged him to sell it.  He took a deep breath then said “If you’d like a lesson from time to time, that wouldn’t after all be very ruinous.”

“But lessons, are only of use when followed up.”   I said with my eyes down.

And thus it was set – he sent me to town once a week to see my lover. At the end of a month I demonstrated what a great investment he had made by playing him a masterful piece.

Nicely done. In this last sentence, I would have maybe kept the syntax a little different. You have Emma telling of her success. What if you let her relate Charles’s folly. Something like:
At the end of the month, Charles said to me with great pride, “You’ve made considerable progress, my dear. Considerable.”

Charles:

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

One evening when I stood listening, she began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation.  One note, one chord, another chord, it all sounded like the same noise she always played.  I dared not sit for I would have slept.  I responded with good timing –

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

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

The next day, I asked her to play.  I preceded the session with gulps of liquor. 

“Very well; to please you!” she said.

One chord and I was already dozing where I stood.  Just when I thought she was playing a piece, she wasn’t.  My eyes popped open.   She sat staring with her hands clawed above the keys.  Just as I was to suggest another form of relaxation she came out with –

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but – twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” I said and giggled at her suggestion.  “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!” she said.

The next day I had hoped she had forgotten about it.  She hadn’t.  How obstinate she could be.  So I told her about the cheapest lessons I could find.

 “Ah! my poor piano!” was her reply.

She broadcasted her plight.  Then people commiserated her–

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

They broached the subject with me and spoiled the taste of my glass of brandy.  I tightened my lips and listened –Good!

“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.”

I put down my glass, hugged her and stated the piano was a symbol of our love. 

Her reply was to sell it.  This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–

“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.”

I gave her permission to go to town once a week to have the lessons.  I was amazed at the (her?) transformation.  I had never seen her fingers flow so smoothly and her body sway so gracefully,  and the sound – made me sink into my chair –  and she did it all with a glowing smile. Yes! Nicely done. Here the irony remains, all dependent, I think, on Charles being totally unaware of Emma and her schemes, and the reader being fully aware.
You’ve easily mastered the object of this assignment, demonstrating the different effects of different POVs on the same scene. This is valuable in choice of POV for a scene, chapter, or story and also, as you’ve demonstrated, accents how the prose changes in effect with POV change. This is especially useful in incorporating humor, often in the form of dramatic irony, in the writing. Thanks for the submission and all the best! WHC

  1. Thanks for the critique. Thanks in general for this website, it is the only one of its kind — for literary fiction writing. I appreciate your help and generosity with your time.

    Yes the ending is more lively as you suggested for Emma’s version. Mine fades into a dullness of ‘telling’.
    The most difficult part of doing this assignment was limiting it to 500 words. Good thing, though. I had written it first without considering the # of words and had to go back and edit (sacrifice) some of the writing. That too, is an exercise that is useful.

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Emma

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

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

“ My fingers are quite rusty.” I said modestly.

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

“Very well; to please you!” I said, not wanting to.

And Charles confessed that 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!” I exclaimed, knowing the expense.

“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, thinking of it as an impossible task.

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

“How obstinate you are sometimes, Emma! 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 the piano again. I looked at it and sighed, miserably.

“Ah! my poor piano!” I said pitifully.

I had made a decision, and did not fail to inform any of my visitors that I had given music up.. My guests commiserated with me–

“What a pity! you had so much talent!” They would say.

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..”

So Charles returned to me once more with the question of the piano. I replied replied bitterly, and feeling rather sorry for myself that it would be better to sell it. The poor piano that had given my vanity so much satisfaction–to give it up,  Bovary thought was like the indefinable suicide of a part of myself.

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

“But lessons,”  I commented, “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 said to have been making considerable progress.

Charles

One evening when I was listening to Emma play a piece, I hadn’t realized that she began the same piece four times, each time with much vexation, in my ignorance I cried–

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

“ My fingers are quite rusty.” She said to me.

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;

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” She bit her lips in frustration 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.” I offered a solution.

“Find them!” said Emma exasperated.

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

“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 had found her a teacher. or so I thought.

Emma shrugged her shoulders and did not open her piano again. But when she passed by it (if Bovary were 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 who visited her commiserated with her–

“What a pity! she had so much talent!” and I agreed.

They even spoke to me about it. They put me  to shame, and scolded me.

“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.” The said to me.

So I tried again to address this question of the piano. Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go was like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself.

“If you liked,” I said, carefully “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.”

She would  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

You’ve done very well.  I admire your skill here.  I’ve pointed out (often obvious) passages where POV seems to make (often subtle) differences in the effectiveness of the prose.  You might continue to work on other assignments related to POV for practice.  And many thanks for the submission.
WHC

Emma

One evening when Charles was listening to me play, I began the same piece four times, each time with (may use "expressing" here replacing ‘with’) much vexation, not noticing any difference, This is awkward in her point of view because how does she notice him not noticing?  Yet the idea is essential to passage.  Just needs to be restructured.  )  he cried–

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

“ My fingers are quite rusty.” I said modestly.

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

“Very well; to please you!” I said, not wanting to.

And Charles confessed that 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!” I exclaimed, knowing the expense.

“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, thinking of it as an impossible task.

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

“How obstinate you are sometimes, Emma! 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 the piano again. I looked at it and sighed, miserably (miserable.  To stay in point of view.)

“Ah! my poor piano!” I said pitifully (as if consumed with pity.  Again, to stay in POV.  Adverbs are tricky.  You don’t mean she sighed miserably, I think. You mean she felt miserable.).

I had made a decision, and did not fail to inform any of my visitors that I had given music up.. My guests commiserated with me–

“What a pity! you had so much talent!” They would say.

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..”

So Charles returned to me once more with the question of the piano. I replied replied bitterly, and feeling rather sorry for myself that it would be better to sell it. The poor piano that had given my vanity so much satisfaction–to give it up,  Bovary thought was like the indefinable suicide of a part of myself.

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

“But lessons,”  I commented, “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 said to have been making considerable progress.  (This seems effective n her POV, ironic!)

Charles

One evening when I was listening to Emma play a piece, I hadn’t realized that she began the same piece four times, each time with much vexation, in my ignorance I cried–  Notice how different the vexation seems when in 1st person rather in narrator POV.  And it presents a little problem: wouldn’t Charles in his ignorance probably not perceive the vexation at this instant?  Not important really, but just to point out how POV changes the milieu of the scene and how the prose takes on different effects and meaning.

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

“ My fingers are quite rusty.” She said to me.

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;

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” She bit her lips in frustration 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.” I offered a solution.

“Find them!” said Emma exasperated.

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

“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 had found her a teacher. or so I thought.

Emma shrugged her shoulders and did not open her piano again. But when she passed by it (if Bovary were 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 who visited her commiserated with her–(Note the difference of this idea in Emma’s POV, and how POV changes the writing effectiveness.  In Charles’s POV, it seems awkward and out of place.)

“What a pity! she had so much talent!” and I agreed.

They even spoke to me about it. They put me  to shame, and scolded me.

“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.” The said to me.

So I tried again to address this question of the piano. Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go was like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself.

“If you liked,” I said, carefully “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.”

She would  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  This is, as you know, from the narrator’s POV.  It points out, on occasion, how 1st person POV can become awkward for the writer.  Here, Charles might say, "I suspected she went to town to see her lover but at the end of the month she had made considerable progress, or at least I thought so."  But this doesn’t work well, either.  It seems to be too much exposition.  Again, just to point out variable interpretations presented in different POVs.

Great!
All the best,
WHC
1/23/16

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Emma’s POV:

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

One evening when Charles was listening to me, I began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation.

“Bravo! Very good! You are wrong to stop. Go on,” He cried.

“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,” I said.

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

I bit my lips and then said, “Ah! It is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” he said to me after 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 said, “How obstinate you are sometimes! I went to Barfucheres today. Well, Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies who are at La Misericord 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, I thought of Bovary and sighed–

“Ah! My poor piano!”

And when anyone came to see me, I did not fail to inform them I had given up music, and could not begin again now for important reasons. One person said to me, “What a pity! You had so much talent!”

Some 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 economizing 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. “It will be better to sell it,” I replied in a bitter tone. This poor piano that had given me vanity and so much satisfaction. “To see it go is like the indefinable suicide of a part of yourself,” Bovary told me.

“If you liked,” Charles 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. And I made considerable progress by the end of the month…

 

Charles’ POV

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

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 good! You are wrong to stop. Go on!”

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

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

“Very well; to please you,” she said.

“Well, you gone off a little, played the wrong notes.”

“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!”

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 to-day. Well, Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies who are at La Misericord have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

She shrugged her shoulders and wouldn’t open her piano again. But I noticed her sighs when she passed by it.

“Ah! My poor piano,” she would say.

She never informed our guests that she had given up music. “I cannot begin playing again now for important reasons, she explained

I heard others tell her that it was a pity she gave up music because she had so much talent.

It was when a friend advised me to induce Emma to study as it will economize on the subsequent musical education of my child. And mothers should instruct their children.

So I returned once more to this question of the piano. But in a bitter tone, she replied, “It would be better to sell it.”

The poor piano gave her vanity, so much satisfaction. And to her, it was like giving away a part of herself.

“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.”

 

Thus I gave her my permission to go to town once a week to continue her lessons. And, by the end of the month she was considered to have made considerable progress.

 

Instructor Response

Very good work!

Emma’s POV:

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

One evening when Charles was listening to me, I began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation.

"Bravo! Very good! You are wrong to stop. Go on,” He cried.

"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," I said.

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

I bit my lips and then said, “Ah! It is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!"

"Yes, so it is–rather," he said to me after 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 said, “How obstinate you are sometimes! I went to Barfucheres today. Well, Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies who are at La Misericord 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, I thought of Bovary and sighed–

"Ah! My poor piano!"

And when anyone came to see me, I did not fail to inform them I had given up music, and could not begin again now for important reasons. One person said to me, "What a pity! You had so much talent!"

Some 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 economizing 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. “It will be better to sell it,” I replied in a bitter tone.  This poor piano that had given me vanity and so much satisfaction. “To see it go is like the indefinable suicide of a part of yourself,” Bovary told me.

"If you liked," Charles 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. And I made considerable progress by the end of the month…

Great.  The ironies just flow through this one.  I’ve recently watched two French film versions of this novel.  Nowhere did I get the humor and the irony that is in the prose.  For me, the assignment emphasizes the value of fiction for great storytelling and characterization.

 

Charles’ POV

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

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 good! You are wrong to stop. Go on!"

"Oh, no; it is execrable! My fingers are quite rusty," she said.

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

"Very well; to please you," she said.

“Well, you gone off a little, played the wrong notes.”

"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.  You probably have to delete this when in this POV.  "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!"

The next day when I came home I looked at her shyly, and at last could no longer keep back the wordsThis is awkward in this POV and could be changed to make the POV more believable.  Try to see what you can do with it.  It might go something like:  "The next day when I came home she was sitting at the piano with the lid closed looking forlorn and at last I could not keep back my words."

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

She shrugged her shoulders and wouldn’t open her piano again. But I noticed her sighs when the next time she passed by it.

"Ah! My poor piano,” she would say said.

She never even informed our guests that she had given up music. “I cannot begin playing again now for important reasons, she explained

I heard others tell her that it was a pity she gave up music because she had so much talent.

 It was when a friend advised me to induce Emma to study as it will economize on the subsequent musical education of my child. And mothers should instruct their children.

So I returned once more to this question of the piano. But in a bitter tone, she replied, “It would be better to sell it.”

The poor piano gave her vanity, so much satisfaction. And to her, it was like giving away a part of herself.

"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."

 

Thus I gave her my permission to go to town once a week to continue her lessons. And, by the end of the month she was considered to have made considerable progress. 

 

Yes!  Here the dramatic ironies are working.  But for me I think her point of view is more enjoyable.  What do you think.  The exercise demonstrates how the right POV for the right story is so important.  In Flaubert’s scene, the characterization, I think, is just great and at the right time in the story.

 

All the best in your writing, and thanks for the submission.
WHC

 

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It was about this time, that is to say, the beginning of winter, that I seemed 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. He, not noticing any difference, cried–

“Bravo! Very good! 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 again.

“Very well; to please you!”

This time 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 demanded.

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 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–Bovary could see its loss would be like death to me.

“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 he even considered that I had made considerable progress.

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, but I encouraged her efforts.

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

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

The next day I encouraged 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,” said I, chuckling to lighten the blow. “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!” she demanded.

The next day when I came home I looked at her slyly, 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 she’d sigh–

“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 me about it. They put me 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 returned once more to this question of the piano. Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go was to me like I was killing something in her.

“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. At the end of a month there was a notable improvement.

Instructor Response

It was about this time, that is to say, the beginning of winter, that I seemed 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. He, not noticing any difference, cried–

“Bravo! Very good! 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 again.

“Very well; to please you!”

This time 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 demanded.

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 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–Bovary could see its loss would be like death to me.

“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 he even considered that I had made considerable progress.

Well done!

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, but I encouraged her efforts.

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

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

The next day I encouraged 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,” said I, chuckling to lighten the blow. “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!” she demanded.

The next day when I came home I looked at her slyly, 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 she’d sigh–

“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 me about it. They put me 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 returned once more to this question of the piano. Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go was to me like I was killing something in her.

“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. At the end of a month there was a notable improvement.

Yes.

The purpose of this exercise you’ve achieved very well. And you have the ability to write in different points of view. For me, it’s always been amazing how the ironies of this passage shift as the POV changes. And that is the point, I guess, that as an author creating fiction it is important to choose the right POV for the right story.
Thanks for the submission and all the best. WHC

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It was about this time, that is to say, the beginning of winter, that I conjured within me a 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 good, you are wrong to stop. Go on!”

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

The next day he pestered me about playing something else.

“Very well; to please you!”

This time Charles confessed I had gone off a little. I knew I had made some wrong notes, but he interpreted it as me just blundering through the piece.

“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. “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 Charles came home, he gave me a curious look before he said:

“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 and did not open the piano again. But when I passed by it—when Bovary was there—I would sigh:

“Ah! my poor piano!”

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

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

Perhaps my guests had spoken to Charles about it all; he returned once more to this question of the piano within the week.

I replied, bitterly, that it would be better to sell it.

“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 that I obtained my husband’s permission to go to town once a week to see my lover. At the end of a month Charles listened to me play again—apparently I had made considerable progress.

 

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

One evening I decided to listen to her. She began the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation. There was not much difference, and I cried–

“Bravo! Very good, you are wrong to stop. Go on!”

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

The next day I asked her to play something again.

“Very well; to please you!”

After, I confessed she had gone off a little. She played wrong notes and blundered.

“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. “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 and exclaimed:

“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 sometimes, at least when I saw her pass by it, she would sigh–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

Some of the townspeople scolded me about my handling of her musical abilities, like the chemist.

“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 , but that will end by triumphing, I am certain, like mothers nursing their own children and vaccination.”

So I returned once more to this question of the piano. Emma replied, perhaps bitterly, that it would be better to sell it. But I had already thought up a better idea.

“If you liked,” he 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 that she began weekly piano lessons. I listened to her again at the end of a month—she played quite smoother that time.

Instructor Response

Yes!  See how the POV affects the reader differently.  This will always be a clevera clever passage, but when Charles or Emma (or a narrator) are delivering the passage, the ironies take on different intensities.  The value of the exercise is to learn to chose the point of view that you think will best suit story and characters.  Sometimes, a narrator’s telling story can take advantage of different POVs (search SILF website for examples and comments) by using multiple third person POVs.   Virginia Wolff is often referred to as the best example of this (Mrs. Dalloway) although you have to read carefully to fully comprehend the changes.  Note how 1st person, with its limitations on what can reasonably be told, does often have advantages in the delivery of irony.
Thanks for the submission.  WHC

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In this specific time, that is to say, is the beginning of winter, she seems seized with great musical fervor.

On this evening while I listen, she begins the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation, while I, not noticing any difference, cry–

“Bravo! Very good 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 confess she has gone off a little. She plays the wrong notes and blunders them in her composition; then, stops short–

“Ah! It is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” she bites her lips and add, “Twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, so it is–rather,” said I, 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 she came home I looked at her and hid in my shyness, and at last she 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 shrugs her shoulders and regrets to open the lid of her piano again. But when she passes by it (if Bovary were there), she sighs–

“Ah! My poor piano!”

And when anyone comes to see her, she will not fail to inform them she has given up music, and cannot begin again now for important reasons.  People commiserate her–

“What a pity! She has so much talent!”

They even have spoken to Bovary about it. They put me 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 economizing 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 return once more to this question of her piano. She replies bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano has given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go is to Bovary like the indefinable suicide, she’d lose a part of herself.

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

“But lessons,” she replies, “are only of use when one follows up.”

 

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

Instructor Response

Well done.  You’ve achieved different reactions in the reader, in intensity and in meaning, by changing the POV.  This is especially true in the irony.  I always react to this piece and think it an example of great writing.  It has provided for me new insights on how a change in POV can, especially in character–based fiction—adjust the effect of a well written scene with irony (and outright humor) for the reader.  Great job.  Your changing the tense from past to present is interesting.  It does make a difference and I think, interestingly, the difference would be different for each reader.  I don’t know how or why, but I think it would be worth contemplation.

All the best, WHC

 

In this specific time, that is to say, is the beginning of winter, I seem (wouldn’t she say “am” in her POV?  Although a) seized with great musical fervor.  On this evening while Charles listens, I begin the same piece four times over, each time with much vexation, while he, not noticing any difference, cries–

“Bravo! Very good 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 confesses I have gone off a little. I play wrong notes and blunder my composition; then, stopping short–

“Ah! It is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” I bite my lips and add, “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!” said Emma.

The next day when I came home he looks at me shyly, and at last I 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 shrug my shoulders and do not open the lid of my piano again. But when I pass by it (if Bovary were here), I sigh–

“Ah! My poor piano!”

And when anyone comes to see me, I do not fail to inform them I have given up music, and cannot begin again now for important reasons.  People commiserate me–

“What a pity! I have so much talent!”

They even speak 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 economizing 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 returns once more to this question of my piano. I reply bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano has given my vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go is to Bovary like the indefinable suicide, I’d lose a part of myself.  (This a place where the POV change seems to alter the meaning significantly.  In the original:

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

The piano is only a tool for her schemes.  In her POV, she seems to really care about the loss.  There is a change in the irony.

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

“But lessons,” I reply, “are only of use when one follows up.”

 

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

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It was in the beginning of winter I gave the illusion of being seized with musical fervor. 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 good! You are wrong to stop. Go on!” I turned my head so as not to see his face.

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

The next day he begged me to play him something again. And after much cajoling I did so, my cheeks aflame with embarrassment.

Charles confessed I had gone off a little. I’d 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, “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 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!

“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 economizing 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. This poor piano that had given my vanity so much satisfaction–the thought of loosing it was as an indefinable suicide of a part of my own self, at least that is how Bovary behaved when addressed with the option.

“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.

 

It was about this time, that is to say, the beginning of winter, that dear Emma seemed seized with musical fervor.

One evening when I was listening to her, each time she started a piece seemed to crease her forehead more and more over the pages she played. I could not understand what was vexing her so and merely sat in awe.

“Bravo! Very good! 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 something again.

“Very well; to please you!”

I had to confess she had gone off a little. She played wrong notes and blundered.

“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 agreed. “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. When she saw me walking by 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 me about it. They put me to shame!

“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 economizing 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 reluctantly returned once more to this question of the piano. This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go would have been to me like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself.

“If you liked,” I told her, “a lesson from time to time…”

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

So she went into town once a week. At the end of a month she had made considerable progress.

Instructor Response

It was in the beginning of winter I gave the illusion of being seized with musical fervor.  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 good!  You are wrong to stop. Go on!”  I turned my head so as not to see his face.

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

The next day he begged me to play him something again.  And after much cajoling I did so, my cheeks aflame with embarrassment.

Charles confessed I had gone off a little. I’d 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, “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 [Charles] were there), I sighed–  [In Emma’s POV she would say Charles, I think.)

“Ah!  My poor piano!”

And when anyone came to see me, I did not fail to inform them 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 [Charles] about it. They put him to shame!

“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 economizing 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. This poor piano that had given my vanity so much satisfaction–the thought of loosing it was as an indefinable suicide of a part of my own self, at least that is how Bovary [Charles] behaved when addressed with the option.

“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.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­——————————————————————

It was about this time, that is to say, the beginning of winter, that dear Emma seemed seized with musical fervor.

One evening when I was listening to her, each time she started a piece seemed to crease her forehead more and more over the pages she played.  I could not understand what was vexing her so and merely sat in awe.

“Bravo! Very good! 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 something again.

“Very well; to please you!”

I had to confess she had gone off a little. She played wrong notes and blundered.

“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 agreed. “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.  When she saw me walking by 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 me about it. They put me to shame, especially the chemist!  [The chemist is her lover.]

“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 economizing 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 reluctantly returned once more to this question of the piano.  This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go would have been to me like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself.

“If you liked,” I told her, “a lesson from time to time…”

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

So she went into town once a week. At the end of a month she had made considerable progress.  In Charles’ POV, this irony seems stronger than Emma’s, even Flaubert’s narrator POV.  Did you find that true to as you rewrote?

 

Excellent.  The purpose of this is to discover the effect of POV on story and presentation.  Flaubert, of course, uses dramatic irony to, for many, a very humorous effect.  He uses third person “narrator” view and much of what happens in the piece occurs with undertones the characters are unaware of (Charles doesn’t know Emma’s real purpose), the ironies.  I think to be in Emma’s point of view deadens the irony a little.  What do you think?  At least something happens to the cumulative effect.  You might also try an alternative for experiment and practice.  You could switch points of view between Charles and Emma [third person multiple], which could enhance the ironies with more specificity, but might also not work from a reader’s satisfaction and comfort staying in one point of view.

For your own stories, use the excellent work you’ve done to remember to choose POV carefully to attain the effect you want.  Note: today most writers use 1st person for all stories.  It’s the easiest to write.  But it isn’t always the right choice for all stories.  It’s good to practice and choose different points of view to give your stories their maximum potential.

Thanks for the submission.  And all the best.
WHC

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Emma

Winter came and I devoted myself to the piano. One day, Charles sat by and listened.

“Wonderful! Don’t stop – you’re doing so well.”

It was the fourth time I had played the piece, each repeat more hopeless than the last. Charles could be so oblivious.

I tilted my head in a gesture of appreciation. “It was terrible, you can be honest.”

Charles laughed. “Talented and modest.”

The following day, he returned from work humming to himself. He swept me up in a waltz and guided up to the piano. “Play something for me, darling.”

I sat at the keys and stroked them uncertainly. Then I played the same tune as before, this time with more emphatic blunders.

“Muddling Mozart,” he said.

I hit the keys at random and slumped forward. “I need lessons. Do you think $50 a session is too much?”

“It is quite dear.” Charles scratched his chin. “We could probably find something cheaper for you. You know, a lot of lesser known musicians are very talented.”

“Like who?”

My husband frowned and stood up. “They’re out there.”

Charles came home every day to find me tinkling. On one occasion I sighed loudly enough for him to hear from the next room. He walked in.

“I was at Barfucheres today. Mrs Liegard told me her daughters have piano tuition for only $10 an hour. I asked her to write the number for me – ” Charles reached into his pocket for a note. I snatched it from him.

“That deaf old sod! Only students charge those prices. See,” I pointed to the email address scrawled on the paper. “It says VCA here. I bet this one hasn’t even studied Liszt yet, let alone how to teach.”

Charles put his hand in his pockets. “You can be quite stubborn sometimes.”

               I sulked all weekend. Then the phone rang and I heard Charles greeting Uncle Gus, a charming and talented professor of chemistry who’d kiss my hand at every family function. I saw my opportunity and leapt onto the piano. I started by playing a delicate sonata, crescendoed neatly and just as the energy of my performance was peaking, fumbled horribly and halted, letting the silence ring out. Charles was quiet for a moment and I wondered if he was still on the phone. Then I heard him say, “Well I suppose an extra hundred a week isn’t too hard on the budget. You really think she’s got something?” God bless Uncle Gus.

               Eventually Charles brought up the piano when we were getting into bed.

“Listen Emma, about the piano lessons –”

“Oh Charles, I know they’re too dear. I should just quit. We’ll get rid of the piano and I won’t have to be sad whenever I look at it.”

 “I was going to say that I think we can afford a few lessons.”
He was  breaking.

“I’m afraid they really arent effective unless they’re regular.”

“Tell you what. I’ll do overtime. I’ll pick up a few more patients. And you can have your tuition, twice weekly.”

I threw myself around him and squeezed him tight, knowing that soon it would be the body of my lover, not Charles, in my arms.

 

Charles

 

Winter time came around and Emma spent evenings with her piano. One night she played the same piece four times over, sighing and fretting after each play.

I sat not far away and said, “You’re sounding so good, don’t stop!”

“I sound terrible.”

“I think you sound find,” I said.

The next day I asked her to play for me again, an attempt to cheer her up.

When she did, I had to admit it was a little clumsy.

“Charles, I need lessons.” She bit her lip. “I know they’re dear but – ”

“How much?”

“$50 a session.”

I straightened up to disguise my surprise. “Maybe we can find something cheaper. A lot of lesser known trainers are very talented.”

She looked doubtful but smiled bravely. “Okay, we’ll shop around.”

I bumped into Mrs. Liegard the following day. She asked after Emma and I told her about the little phase my wife was going through. Liegard said her daughters took lessons for only $10 a session, and I asked her to write the tutor’s contact details down for me. When I presented it to Emma, she brisked and took the note.

“It says VCA here,” she said. “This tutor is a college student, probably a first year. How old are Liegard’s daughters now?”

“Twelve and seven,” I said.

“I guess they haven’t been playing very long.”

Emma didn’t open the piano for a while and it broke my heart to see the way she’d glance at it, sulking through the house. I was on the phone with Uncle Gus when she finally returned to it.

“What is that delightful sound?” he cooed. 

“It’s my wife,” I said.

“She is talented. Is she having lessons?”

I told him no.

“You stingy bastard,” he said. “Do yourself a favour and buy her a course for Valentine’s Day.”

Uncle Gus was right. The distance between Emma and I was widening every night. She had come up against a wall, and seemed to anguish over the now silent piano. I brought it up one night as we prepared for bed.

“Listen Emma, about your lessons –”

“Charles,” she interrupted. “I know they’re too dear. I should just quit. We’ll get rid of the piano. Then I won’t have to be sad whenever I look at it.”

“I did our budget yesterday, and I think we can afford a few lessons for you.”

“Oh Charles, you’re so sweet. But they’d really be no use unless they were regular. It’s like going to the gym, you know.”

I hated to see her big eyes sad. I pulled her into my arms. “I’ll pick up a few more patients,” I said. “I’ll do overtime.”

She threw arms around me and I held her close for the rest of the night. 

Instructor Response

Emma

Winter came and I devoted myself to the piano. One day, Charles sat by and listened.

“Wonderful! Don’t stop – you’re doing so well.”

It was the fourth time I had played the piece, each repeat more hopeless than the last. Charles could be so oblivious.

I tilted my head in a gesture of appreciation. “It was terrible, you can be honest.”

Charles laughed. “Talented and modest.”

The following day, he returned from work humming to himself. He swept me up in a waltz and guided up to the piano. “Play something for me, darling.”

I sat at the keys and stroked them uncertainly. Then I played the same tune as before, this time with more emphatic blunders.

“Muddling Mozart,” he said.

I hit the keys at random and slumped forward. “I need lessons. Do you think $50 a session is too much?”

“It is quite dear.” Charles scratched his chin. “We could probably find something cheaper for you. You know, a lot of lesser known musicians are very talented.”

“Like who?”

My husband frowned and stood up. “They’re out there.”

Charles came home every day to find me tinkling. On one occasion I sighed loudly enough for him to hear from the next room. He walked in.

“I was at Barfucheres today. Mrs Liegard told me her daughters have piano tuition for only $10 an hour. I asked her to write the number for me – ” Charles reached into his pocket for a note. I snatched it from him.

“That deaf old sod! Only students charge those prices. See,” I pointed to the email address scrawled on the paper. “It says VCA here. I bet this one hasn’t even studied Liszt yet, let alone how to teach.”

Charles put his hand in his pockets. “You can be quite stubborn sometimes.”

I sulked all weekend. Then the phone rang and I heard Charles greeting Uncle Gus, a charming and talented professor of chemistry who’d kiss my hand at every family function. I saw my opportunity and leapt onto the piano. I started by playing a delicate sonata, crescendoed neatly and just as the energy of my performance was peaking, fumbled horribly and halted, letting the silence ring out. Charles was quiet for a moment and I wondered if he was still on the phone. Then I heard him say, “Well I suppose an extra hundred a week isn’t too hard on the budget. You really think she’s got something?” God bless Uncle Gus.

Eventually Charles brought up the piano when we were getting into bed.

“Listen Emma, about the piano lessons –”

“Oh Charles, I know they’re too dear. I should just quit. We’ll get rid of the piano and I won’t have to be sad whenever I look at it.”

 “I was going to say that I think we can afford a few lessons.”
He was  breaking.

“I’m afraid they really arent effective unless they’re regular.”

“Tell you what. I’ll do overtime. I’ll pick up a few more patients. And you can have your tuition, twice weekly.”

I threw myself around him and squeezed him tight, knowing that soon it would be the body of my lover, not Charles, in my arms.

 

Well done.  I like the way you’ve made it your own and accomplished all the assignment asked.  When writing your fiction, think of similar possibilities to achieve what you ant for your readers.

 

Charles

 

Winter time came around and Emma spent evenings with her piano. One night she played the same piece four times over, sighing and fretting after each play.

I sat not far away and said, “You’re sounding so good, don’t stop!”

“I sound terrible.”

“I think you sound find,” I said.

The next day I asked her to play for me again, an attempt to cheer her up.

When she did, I had to admit it was a little clumsy.

“Charles, I need lessons.” She bit her lip. “I know they’re dear but – ”

“How much?”

“$50 a session.”

I straightened up to disguise my surprise. “Maybe we can find something cheaper. A lot of lesser known trainers are very talented.”

She looked doubtful but smiled bravely. “Okay, we’ll shop around.”

I bumped into Mrs. Liegard the following day. She asked after Emma and I told her about the little phase my wife was going through. Liegard said her daughters took lessons for only $10 a session, and I asked her to write the tutor’s contact details down for me. When I presented it to Emma, she brisked and took the note.

“It says VCA here,” she said. “This tutor is a college student, probably a first year. How old are Liegard’s daughters now?”

“Twelve and seven,” I said.

“I guess they haven’t been playing very long.”

Emma didn’t open the piano for a while and it broke my heart to see the way she’d glance at it, sulking through the house. I was on the phone with Uncle Gus when she finally returned to it.

“What is that delightful sound?” he cooed. 

“It’s my wife,” I said.

“She is talented. Is she having lessons?”

I told him no.

“You stingy bastard,” he said. “Do yourself a favour and buy her a course for Valentine’s Day.”

Uncle Gus was right. The distance between Emma and I was widening every night. She had come up against a wall, and seemed to anguish over the now silent piano. I brought it up one night as we prepared for bed.

“Listen Emma, about your lessons –”

“Charles,” she interrupted. “I know they’re too dear. I should just quit. We’ll get rid of the piano. Then I won’t have to be sad whenever I look at it.”

“I did our budget yesterday, and I think we can afford a few lessons for you.”

“Oh Charles, you’re so sweet. But they’d really be no use unless they were regular. It’s like going to the gym, you know.”

I hated to see her big eyes sad. I pulled her into my arms. “I’ll pick up a few more patients,” I said. “I’ll do overtime.”

She threw arms around me and I held her close for the rest of the night. 

 

Yes! Very well done. With lots of humor bubbling and character revelation.

Excellent work.
WHC

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Emma 1st person POV

My plan required patience and persuasion. First, I feigned great musical fervour.

I played all the time. One evening with Charles listening, I began the same piece four times over, making a show of fretting over small errors. Charles cried, “Bravo! Very good. You are wrong to stop. Go on!”

The fool hadn’t noticed my mistakes. “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!”

This time I played notes that distorted the melody to ghastliness. Charles confessed I had gone off a little.

“Ah! it is no use. I ought to take some lessons; but–” I bit my lip 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 countered.”

The next day when he came home he bellowed,

“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 suppressed a smile, shrugged my shoulders but did not open the piano. But when I passed by it (if Charles were there), I sighed–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

When anyone came to see me, I made certain to inform them that I had given up music.

People commiserated, “What a pity! She had so much talent!”

As I expected, they spoke to Charles about it. They put him to shame, especially the chemist whom I overheard in the study.

“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 asked me once again, about the piano. I replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it, looking away as if it mattered not at all.

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

I released the breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding, but an occasional respite would never do. “But lessons are only of use when followed up.”

My darling husband acquiesced. With his witless permission, I travelled to town weekly to be with my lover. At the end of a month Charles made mention to my considerable progress.

“The pinnacle of my passion,” I said.

Charles 1st person POV

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

One evening as I listened to her, she began the same piece four times over, for no apparent reason that I could discern.

“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 again.

“Very well; to please you!”

I had to admit she had gone off a little. She played wrong notes and blundered; then, stopping short, she said,

“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 with a chuckle. “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.

And so I did. The next day when I came home I looked at her cautiously until I 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, 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 me about it, putting me to shame, 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.”

I asked Emma once more this question of the piano. She replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go would be like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself.

“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 I gave her permission to go to town once a week for lessons, with happy results, for at the end of a month she had made considerable progress.

 

 

Instructor Response

Hello Russ. Thank you for you submission.

Excellent! You have worked through the change of point of view. And the details give a very different interpretation, I think. You might put this aside for a few weeks, return to it, reread for a new perspective on how the changes, often subtle, make the passage interpretation re the characters different. But even if you don’t do this ever again, carry the importance of choice of POV and its effect on story and characterization. Then, as you create characters, think, is this POV right for what I’m trying to achieve. (This is useful in revision too.) You might next choose an assignment where you’re creating scene(s). You can think about POV choice then for practice.

All the best with your writing.

WHC

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Emma’s POV

It was about this time, that is to say, the beginning of winter, that I conceived a plan I felt had some merit.

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 good! 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 challenged him.

The next day when he came home he looked at me shyly, and at last burst out, “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 refused to open my piano again. But I made certain when I passed by it (if Bovary were there), to sigh–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

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

“What a pity!” they might say. “She had so much talent!”

They even spoke to Bovary about it. They put him to shame, especially the chemist. I was pleased to hear him take Bovary to task one evening:

“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 me such satisfaction–I felt certain that to see it go would be unbearable to Bovary.

“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 obtained my husband’s permission to go to town once a week to see my lover. At the end of a month he even told me I had made considerable progress.

 

Charles’ 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, but 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!”

I had to confess 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,” said I, in some shock. “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!” Emma pouted.

The next day when I came home I hesitated, watching her, but at least burst out,

“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 I observed her passing it, she often 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 chastised me, I felt, 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.”

At last I felt I must return once more to this question of the piano. Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano—she loved it so–to see her let it go seemed too cruel.

“If you liked,” I finally relented, “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.”

Thus I granted my permission for her to go to town once a week for regular lessons. At the end of a month I was delighted to observe that she had made considerable progress.

Instructor Response

Fine. I hope you’ve learned about the effects of different POV’s. If you’re up to it, try writing this short scene from three points of view: the teacher, the student, and the parent.

Scene: A 55 year-old spinster piano teacher giving less to a fifteen year old girl is angered by her lack of practice and her lack of progress. And she also resents the girls beauty, and intelligence, and youth. She lays into her, her voice strident, berating her, humiliating her, making critical remarks not only about her playing and musicianship, but about her dress, and her choice of schools, and her interest in boys, etc. The parent (father or mother) sits outside the room and hears through the open door. He or she is out raged and she comes in to give the teacher her just do.

Write scene from the three points of view. I’d enjoy seeing what you can do with it.

Best regards, (Submit through workshop.)

WHC

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 Emma’s POV

After dinner I sat down at the piano.  I rested my hands on my thighs. I stared out the window. How am I to survive the winter?  Such short days and long nights. I feel like a caged animal, all cooped up. I must find a way to see Leon.

I played the wretched song at least four times. Each time I played fewer and fewer correct notes.

“Bravo! Very good!” Charles said. “Go on.”

“How can you say that?” I said.  “I sound atrocious. I must stop for the night. I must go to bed.” I feigned a yawn.

The very next evening, after dinner, he begged me to play again.  How could I use my poor playing to my advantage?

“Ah well,” I said, walking toward the piano. “If you insist.”

I played even worse than the night before.  I saw Charles grimace out of the corner of my eye.  He came around my back and rubbed my shoulders.  He rested his hands below my collarbone.

“You play splendidly.”

“Oh! How can you say that?” Tears rolled down my cheeks.  “I need lessons so desperately but they cost so much.” I bent my elbows and placed them on his resting hands.

“Yes, they are quite an expense darling.” He came around, faced me, and leaned in. “I bet we can find less expensive teachers.  I’ll make some inquiries.”

“Would you?” I said.  “You are so wonderful.”  I kissed his cheek.

When Charles returned the next day he said nothing. Should I ask him what he learned? 

“Well, Charles? What did you learn?” I said, during dessert, when I could take it no longer.

“Piano lessons are expensive,” he scowled. “Madame Liegard made me feel that 20 francs was a bargain.  She accused me of being cheap and unrefined.”

“Don’t let what Madame said bother you,” I said, stirring my tea. “I can think of plenty of other uses for my time.”

Each time I passed the piano, I looked at it wistfully.  In Charles’ presence, I commented on how much I missed playing.  Two weeks later, I suggested that we throw a dinner party.  The night of the dinner, after all the guests seemed satiated, they began calling for me to play. 

“Oh no,” I said. “I have given up the piano.”

The women protested. The men insisted. 

“What a pity!” the chemist said.  “You are so talented.”  He turned directly to Charles, “How can you let her waste her talent?”

Charles seemed to be at a loss for words until he said, “She’s only taking a break.”

“Yes,” I said.  “A little respite.”

In bed that evening I wrapped my arms around him. “I know you didn’t mean that about taking a break.  So I think you should sell the piano.”

“I suppose a few lessons wouldn’t hurt,” Charles said.

“But I need to commit to them weekly,” I said. “That is, if I am to make any progress.”

“Oh, all right,” Charles said, on the verge of sleep.

Suddenly, I was wide-awake at the prospect of seeing Leon weekly. 

 

 Charles POV

After dinner Emma sat down at the piano.  She didn’t begin to play right away.  She stared out the window into the evening darkness.  Then, she began to play over and over the same song.  Each time she played it sounded worse.

“Bravo! Very good!” I said, finishing my tea while sitting on the couch.  “Go on.”

 

“How can you say that?” Emma said.  “I sound atrocious. I must stop for the night. I must go to bed.”  She yawned.

I wanted to be a supportive husband.  The very next evening, after dinner, I asked her to play again. 

“Ah well,” Emma said, walking toward the piano. “If you insist.”

She played even worse than the night before.  Hiding my disappointment, I strolled to her and rubbed her neck and shoulders.

“You play splendidly.” My hands rested below her collarbone.

“Oh! How can you say that?”

Although I could not see her face, I knew she was crying.

“I need lessons so desperately but they cost so much,” Emma said, resting her hands on mine.

“Yes, they are quite an expense darling.” I said. When I came around the piano she pouted and lowered her eyes.

“I bet we can find less expensive teachers,” I said. “I’ll make some inquiries.”

“Would you?” she said.  “You are so wonderful.” She kissed my cheek.

I said nothing when I returned the next day.  I didn’t want to disappoint her with my news.

“Well, Charles? What did you learn?” Emma said.  She waited until we were having dessert.

“Piano lessons are expensive.” I said. “Madame Liegard made me feel that 20 francs was a bargain.  She accused me of being cheap and unrefined.”

“Don’t let what Madame said bother you,” she said stirring her tea. “I can think of plenty of other uses for my time.”

Over the next few days I saw her glance wistfully at the piano and heard her sigh.  Two weeks later, she suggested that we throw a dinner party.  After dinner the guests called for Emma to play. I should have expected this but I did not. I waited to see what she would do. 

“Oh no,” she said. “I have given up the piano.”

The women protested. The men insisted. 

“What a pity!” the chemist said.  “You are so talented.”  He turned directly to me, “How can you let her waste her talent?”

“She’s only taking a break,” I said.

“Yes,” she said.  “A little respite.”

The guests all nodded.

In bed that evening she draped her arms around me and waited until I was about to fall asleep.

 “I know you didn’t mean that about taking a break.  So I think you should sell the piano,” she said.

 “I suppose a few lessons wouldn’t hurt.”            

“But I need to commit to them weekly,” she said. “That is, if I am to make any progress.”

“Oh, all right,” I said.

 

Instructor Response

Excellent. You are good, very good, and have perceived well the point of the exercise. As you’ve made it, along with Flaubert, your own, I think my preference is through Emma’s POV, although I’m not sure why. I think there’s more force to her manipulation, and her character more revealing. You’ve got the skill. If you’d like, try this. Take a 1000 word segment of something your working on. Make it fiction and a story. Don’t do memoir or historic or creative fiction for this. Then write the segment in two different points of view. Use a narrator if you want, or two major characters. Submit it via workshop under Assignment one. I’ll give you some thoughts.

Thanks for the submission. And all the best with your writing. WHC

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Her point of view

It was at about this time, that is to say, the beginning of winter, that I endeavored to appear 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 apparently noticing any difference cried–

“Bravo! Very good! 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 something again.

“Very well; to please you.”

And Charles confessed that 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 tome 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 and excellent mistress.”

I shrugged and did not open the piano again. But when I passed by it (if Bovary were there), I would sigh–

“Ah! My poor piano!”

And when anyone came to see me, I did not fail to inform them 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 me so much satisfaction.

“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.

 

######

His point of view:

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!”

I confess 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. “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, 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, 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 me about it. They put me 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 returned once more to this question of the piano. Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it. This poor piano that had given her vanity so much satisfaction–to see it go was to me like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself.

“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 for her lesson. At the end of a month she had made considerable progress.

 

Instructor Response

Good work. Certainly worthy of an A. And the shift of POV gives the irony of her “advancement” a different slant. Flaubert is a expert at having lots happening beneath the surface of a scene; here Emma’s scheming and Charles’ innocence. Again, the subsurface understanding also shifts. The entire idea of the exercise is to see how important POV (and voice) is in developing the subtleties of fiction.

Although it is rarely useful, if ever, you might take a look at this recent post re second person narration to compare effects. And then, if so inclined, you might read Reddog, a first person narration story where an unreliable narrator suffers an enlightenment about himself and loses the only person with whom he has contact; the story is entirely in a close first person with all it’s limitations and advantages and is useful to explore how the story would be structured in different points of view. Narrator at a distance. A close third in the girl’s POV. And multiple third using protagonist and the girl. How would the effectiveness of the story be altered? You might give it a try for practice.

Thanks for the submission. And your welcome to submit other work as a comment here, or through the Mentor’s Corner. And all the best in your writing.

WHC
1/10/13

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One evening I was listening with pleasure to her playing when, for no apparent reason, she began the same piece four times over. She seemed increasingly vexed by errors only she could hear, and I did my best to reassure her, crying–

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

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

I did not at all wish her to be discouraged, so the next day I asked her to play again.

And this time, I was sorry to say, she had indeed gone off a little.

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

“Yes, so it is–rather.” I tried to laugh a little to lift her mood. “But perhaps one might do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them!” said Emma.

I spent most of the next day asking around, and couldn’t wait to tell her what I had discovered.

“I went to Barfucheres today! Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

But she merely she shrugged her shoulders, and did not open her piano again. I thought perhaps it had all been a passing whim, yet I often heard her saying–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

A few days later I fell into conversation with the chemist, and the subject arose of Emma’s piano playing. He said he was sorry to hear she had given it up, and was convinced something more must be done.

‘One should never let the faculties of nature lie fallow,’ he said. ‘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.”

Well, of course I did not wish for Emma’s talents to go to waste, or for anyone to think I was not dedicated to musical education. So once again I

But Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell the poor piano! Well, this I could not bear. This piano, which had so pleased her delicate vanity – to sell it would be like killing off a part of her own self!

I made up my mind.

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

To my relief this brought her back to herself: it seemed we had finally found the solution.

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

She was quite right of course.

And so it came about that she diligently travelled in to town to see me (REMOVE) each week. And it was quite clear what natural talent she had, for though we never seemed to do much playing in the lessons, at the end of a month she had made considerable progress. (THIS SEEMS TO SWITCH POV FROM THE HUSBAND TO THE PIANO TEACHER. IF YOU AGREE, EASILY CORRECTED)

About this time I determined to alert Charles to my great passion for music.

One evening, as he listened, I began the same piano piece four times over and complained loudly of my vexation. He, however, declared he could hear no difference, crying-

“Bravo! Very good! 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 again.

“Very well; to please you!”

This time I deliberately played so many wrong notes that Charles had to confess I had gone off a little.

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

“Yes, so it is–rather,” said Charles, giggling in a way I felt was rather stupid. “But perhaps one might do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them!” I said.

The next day he fidgeted about until I asked him what was wrong.

“I went to Barfucheres today,’ he said excitedly. ‘Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

That did not please me at all. I decided not to open the piano until he came round to my way of thinking. Whenever I passed and he was nearby I let out a heavy sigh–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

And I did not hesitate to let my visitors know I had given up music. When they asked why I spoke vaguely of an ‘important reason’.

“What a pity!’ they said. ‘You have such talent!”

They even approached Charles directly. Indeed, from what the chemist told me, it seems they quite put him to shame for letting my talents go to waste.

Well, after that Charles was quite insistent. But I had no interest in playing for playing’s sake! I told him it would be better to sell off the piano than play when I was so untutored.

Charles seemed quite aghast. To sell something so important to my self-esteem and pleasure? Why, he declared, it would be like killing off part of my very self!

I did not contradict him in the slightest, but remained silently forlorn until he spoke again.

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

I tilted my head as if considering this offer most carefully.

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

Well, he could not disagree with that, and so at last we were quite of accord.

Thus I obtained my husband’s permission to visit Charles [my lover?] every week. And so that no-one should think otherwise, I was careful to show at the end of a month that I had made considerable progress.

Instructor Response

Excellent work. You have, seeming with great ease, mastered the changes in POV very well. For me, your Emma is strong in that it gives the reader a definite insight into her character, which is stronger than the original in many ways. In the husband’s point of view, I was confused at the end. Still, you created the switch very effectively . . . and note how the irony of her improved playing is different in his point of view. In his point of view, it is dramatic irony to the extreme, with resultant sadness more than humor that was in the original.

You’ve demonstrated considerable skill. I hope this assignment will open up new possibilities for you in your own fiction. Thanks for submitting. WHC

CORRECTED

About this time I determined to alert Charles to my great passion for music.

One evening, as he listened, I began the same piano piece four times over and complained loudly of my vexation. He, however, declared he could hear no difference, crying–

“Bravo! Very good! 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 again.

“Very well; to please you!”

This time I deliberately played so many wrong notes that Charles had to confess I had gone off a little.

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

“Yes, so it is–rather,” said Charles, giggling in a way I felt was rather stupid. “But perhaps one might do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them!” I said.

The next day he fidgeted about until I asked him what was wrong.

“I went to Barfucheres today,’ he said excitedly. ‘Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

That did not please me at all. I decided not to open the piano until he came round to my way of thinking. Whenever I passed and he was nearby I let out a heavy sigh–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

And I did not hesitate to let my visitors know I had given up music. When they asked why I spoke vaguely of an ‘important reason’.

“What a pity!’ they said. ‘You have such talent!”

They even approached Charles directly. Indeed, from what the chemist told me, it seems they quite put him to shame for letting my talents go to waste.

Well, after that Charles was quite insistent. But I had no interest in playing for playing’s sake! I told him it would be better to sell off the piano than play when I was so untutored.

Charles seemed quite aghast. To sell something so important to my self-esteem and pleasure? Why, he declared, it would be like killing off part of my very self!

I did not contradict him in the slightest, but remained silently forlorn until he spoke again.

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

I tilted my head as if considering this offer most carefully.

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

Well, he could not disagree with that, and so at last we were quite of accord.

Thus I obtained my husband’s permission to visit my lover in town every week. And so that no-one should suspect me, I was careful to show at the end of a month that I had made considerable progress on the piano.

 

About this time she was seized with great musical fervour.

One evening I was listening with pleasure to her playing when, for no apparent reason, she began the same piece four times over. She seemed increasingly vexed by errors only she could hear, and I did my best to reassure her, crying–

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

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

I did not at all wish her to be discouraged, so the next day I asked her to play again.

And this time, I was sorry to say, she had indeed gone off a little.

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

“Yes, so it is–rather.” I tried to laugh a little to lift her mood. “But perhaps one might do it for less; for there are artists of no reputation who are often better than the celebrities.”

“Find them!” said Emma.

I spent most of the next day asking around, and couldn’t wait to tell her what I had discovered.

“I went to Barfucheres today! Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and that from an excellent mistress!”

But she merely she shrugged her shoulders, and did not open her piano again. I thought perhaps it had all been a passing whim, yet I often heard her saying–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

A few days later I fell into conversation with the chemist, and the subject arose of Emma’s piano playing. He said he was sorry to hear she had given it up, and was convinced something more must be done.

‘One should never let the faculties of nature lie fallow,’ he said. ‘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.”

Well, of course I did not wish for Emma’s talents to go to waste, or for anyone to think I was not dedicated to musical education. So once again I exhorted her to play. 

But Emma replied bitterly that it would be better to sell the poor piano! Well, this I could not bear. This piano, which had so pleased her delicate vanity – to sell it would be like killing off a part of her own self!

I made up my mind.

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

To my relief this brought her back to herself: it seemed we had finally found the solution.

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

She was quite right of course.

And so it came about that she diligently travelled in to town each week for lessons. And it was quite clear then what natural talent she had, for at the end of a month she had made considerable progress.

Instructor Response

Great work!

  1. Dear WHC

    Thank you very much for your feedback. In terms of the confused endings, I stupidly was confused into thinking Charles was the lover (I am very embarrassed at my ignorance). I have re-posted my assignment having corrected this, and I am now reading Madame Bovary so I won’t make the mistake again!
    The exercise was very helpful, and I am using this experimentation with point of view in tackling Assignment 2.
    I have found your website as a whole extremely helpful, and it has provided me with ideas and techniques which I have not found elsewhere.
    I look forward to completing more assignments.

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Emma’s POV:

It was about this time, around the beginning of winter that is, that the idea formed in my head of being seized with a great musical fervour.

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

“Bravo! Very good. 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!”

This time Charles confessed I had gone off a little. I played wrong notes and blundered.

“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 challenged.

The next day when Charles came home he looked at me shyly, and at last ventured.

“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 the piano again. But when I passed by it, if Charles were there, I sighed–

“Ah! my poor piano!”

And when anyone came to visit, I made sure to inform them I had given up music. This won me commiseration.

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

They even spoke to Charles about it. They put him to shame, especially the chemist, who suggested my musical talents would be of use in educating our child and he would this save money.

All of this made Charles bring up once more the question of the piano. I replied bitterly that it would be better to sell it, but Charles was reluctant to see it go.

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

Seeing my opportunity, I told him that lessons are only of use when followed up.

And thus it was I obtained 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.

420 words

Charles POV:

 

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

One evening when I was listening to her, she began the same piece four times over. Despite her obvious vexation, I was captivated.

“Bravo! Very good. 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 again.

“Very well; to please you!”

This time it seemed to me she had gone off a little. She played wrong notes and blundered; then interrupted the piece.

“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 agreed. “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!” she said.

The next day I couldn’t wait to tell her what I had heard in town.

“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 every time she passed by it she seemed desolate. And when anyone came to see her, she did not fail to inform them she had given up music. Then people spoke to me about it. They endeavoured to put me to shame, especially the chemist. And it was his words that struck me.

“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.”

He rambled on in a similar vein for a while and on thinking over his words, I decided to broach the subject with Emma again. However, she replied with some bitterness that it would be better to sell it. This seemed to me like the indefinable suicide of a part of herself, it had meant so much to her. I came up with an idea.

“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 so it was agreed that once a week, she would go to town for a music lesson. At the end of a month she was considered by all to have made considerable progress.


450 words

Anne Skelly

 

Instructor Response

Excellent work. You’ve grasped the concept for the exercise very well. As you reflect on what you’ve done, consider and explore again how different points of view affect so much–humor (mostly in irony), impact, scene purpose regarding characterization, author purpose in presenting scene. You might also consider the effects of writing with different points of view and how the effects are also useful in different ways. For example, would one point of view be more successful if this scene was a short story (short story’s are almost always strengthened by staying in the point of view of the protagonist who has some enlightenment or change in thinking about the world and others). In a novel, for example, a scene often acts differently than in shorter works, and point of view often provides more expository opportunities, more intense conflict possibilities (especially in dialogue), and fits into plot progression in different ways so the POV choice can have maximum effect.
All this encourages you to : write with purpose in your story; always consider your characters and their contributions as distinct entities; and rather than thinking of POV of view usage as a series of written-in-stone rules, think of story narration–who is narrating for best effect and is the POV right.

Note when you use the phrase “Find them.” how it has very different meaning in the change of POV. (For me, this phrase tells the most about Emma when in Charles’ POV.)

Also, the effect you created with “But lessons,” she replied, “are only of use when followed up.” in the two POVs. Look again how special the phrase is in Charles’s POV, a perfect example of the effect a POV can have, I think, on dramatic irony in a prose scene.

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The days grew increasingly shorter, the nights colder; the huge mansion’s walls seemed to close in. Music offered the only legitimate vent, and I would pursue it with fervor; easier said than done.

I had begun the same piece for a forth time, one such quadriplegic eve, when Charles all but drove me over the edge, “Bravo! Very goodl”

My unitary, tone-deaf audience, would not abate, “You’re wrong to stop. Go on!”

“Oh, no; it’s execrable! My fingers are rusty; lead-like.”

Next day too he urged me in begging refrain, and I had to sport, “Very well; then, anything to please you.” My heart though floated elsewhere.

And even Charles confessed I was off somewhat, as I blundered on enough wrong notes.

“Ooh! It’s just no use. Would that I took some lessons, but…” I bit on a lip, “at twenty francs a lesson, why, that’s a fortune!”

“Well, it is somewhat steep,” Charles nervously giggled, “seems one might be able to do it for less though. There are artists of no repute – often better than the celebrities.”

“Then pray – find ‘em!”

Next day, he returned rather taciturn, but in the end could no longer hold back, “How obstinate you are at times! I went to Barfucheres today. Well, Madame Liegard assured me her three young ladies who are at La Misericorde have lessons at fifty sous apiece, and from an excellent mistress!”

With a shrug, I let the piano be, save for when I’d pass by it and if he were around, “Ah! poor piano!”

But I did keep those who came to see me abreast of my having quit music; for important reasons, which elicited due commiseration – “Pity! You could have done wonders with such talent as yours!”

Thus was Charles put quite to shame, as he let on in a private moment; the Chemist had insisted, “You’re wrong! Never let any of the faculties of nature lie fallow. Besides, just think, ol’ chap, by inducing madame to quit you compromise on the subsequent musical education of your offspring. Mothers surely ought themselves to instruct their children. That’s an idea of Rousseau’s, still rather new perhaps, but one that’s bound to triumph ultimately. It’s no different than mothers nursing their own children and vaccination.”

Thus Charles hovered once more around the piano. “If you like,” he buckled, “a lesson from time to time – that wouldn’t be too ruinous.”

“Better to sell it,” I lashed out, knowing full well the poor piano had given my vanity so much satisfaction and to see it go would be to him an indefinable suicide of a part of my self. Would he call my bluff though?

“Yet lessons,” I added, “are only of use if followed up.”

And thus it was that I had my husband’s consent to visit town once a week, and fuse with my lover.

At month’s end I was even considered to have considerably progressed! Love is to music, what music is to love.

 

***

 

The beginning of winter seemed to seize the wife with inexplicable musical fervor. One evening, as I listened to her begin the same piece over a fourth time – each with scarce progress – I actively became a disciple of brave attempt,

“Bravo! Very good! You’re wrong to stop. Carry on!”

“Oh, no,” She protested, if shy, “it is execrable! My fingers are quite like lead.”

The next day I had to beg her to play me something again.

“Very well then; if only to please you!”

I confess she went off by far, blundering through some wrong notes; only to resign, “Ah! It’s just no use. I ought to take some lessons; but… ” she bit her sweet lip, “At twenty francs a lesson, that’s too dear!”

“Yes, yes so it is, rather,” I was giggling – stupid nerves. “But surely one might be able to do it for less: there are artists of no reputation, often better than celebrities.”

“Pray – find ‘em!” Emma could be so compelling when she chose.

Next day when I got home I looked at her shyly, but finally could no longer hold back, “How obstinate you are sometimes! I went to Barfucheres today.”

And Emma was all ears, “Well, Madame Liegard assured me that her three young ladies who are at La Misericorde have lessons at fifty sous apiece, that too from an excellent mistress!”

Funnily, she simply shrugged her shoulders and would not touch the piano again. Yet I observed her pining as she passed by it, “Ah! My poor piano!” the lament bore through me.

And whenever anyone came to see her – my good grief – she never failed to inform the world she had given up music, albeit for important reasons.

“What a pity! You had so much talent!” The commiseration ensued with debilitating might. They would even pull me aside on it. The shame came to crest with the chemist, “You’re wrong! Never let any of the faculties of nature lie fallow. Besides, think, ol’ chap, by inducing madame to study you economize on the subsequent musical education of your offspring. Mothers surely ought themselves to instruct their children. That’s an idea of Rousseau’s, still rather new perhaps, but one that’s bound to triumph ultimately. It’s no different than mothers nursing their own children and vaccination.

So I returned once more to this question of the piano.

“Let it drop!” she protested bitterly, “it would be better to sell it.”

Could she not see? The darned piano had given her vanity so much satisfaction that to see it go was surely the indefinable suicide of part of herself!

“Perhaps,” I offered, “a lesson from time to time? That wouldn’t be too ruinous.”

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

And thus it was that she connived out of me permission to go to town once a week to see a lover, while I, by month’s end, even considered her to have made considerable progress.

 

Instructor Response

Excellent work.  You have captured both points of view with superb skill and demonstrated the purpose of the assignment–to work in different points of view effectively by writing within the character using character-credible ideas and language, and expressing character-reasonable emotional valence.  Both versions convey the essentially same information with different effects on the reader, and different too, from Flaubert. 

You’ve created too, what might be called an objective first person in each case.  By keeping tightly contained in each point of view, you have stayed in the consciousness of that character.  Very difficult to do, but the effect is dramatic, and there is little reader-wonder about unreliability or credibility.  And the irony is maintained, at times presented as slightly different but still it is intensely dramatic irony with both Charles and, to a lesser extent, Emma.

Practicing this type of point of view (POV) shift is useful in third person also.  That is, to sink into the character’s world (within the story world) without either narrator world or author world slipping into the prose.  [The world for a character is all experiences, memory, actions, opinions, images etc. that are contained within that character.  The clearer the world is to the reader, as expressed through the prose, the stronger the characterization and the integrity of author thinking about how the story can be created regarding credibility, drama, and impact. ]  Very few authors can do (what you have done) this well.  And to carry it into third person, as I know you already do, also strengthens the fictional prose story.  Characters, and narrators, should be pristine in the story world so that their character is effective and contributes to emotional story arcs, and plot momentum, in significant ways.  You demonstrated this well in your assignment submission of two 1st person POV characters based on a classic scene. 

Thank you for your participation.  WHC     

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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, 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 3rd 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 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’ 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 1st person POV prevents a broad view of the world and limits the world view 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 simply inappropriately manipulating information through the character to force reader responses, an irritation that 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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