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Symbolism in Madame Bovary

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by

Jordan Brown

on 6 January 2014

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Transcript of Symbolism in Madame Bovary

Symbolism in Madame Bovary
Colors
Red
passion, danger, sin
Foreshadows Emma's sin
Example
At the ball
"wigs unfurling over the powdered shoulders, red suits..." (Flaubert 46).
"The red claws of the lobsters" (Flaubert 46).
Green
richness, luxury, sensuality
nature in the woods
"He led her farther along, around a small pond where the green duckweed covered the water" (Flaubert 149).
nature around her while she commits adultery with Rodolphe
The green cigar case
First sees Rodolphe as a "gentlemen in a green coat"
Blue
Innocence and Youth
Examples
Charles first sees Emma wearing a blue dress
Going riding with Rodolphe
Color of the sky
"the sky had turned blue and the leaves were still..." (Flaubert 148).
Color of her veil
"The horses stopped short at the summit, and her large blue veil fell back down" (Flaubert 147).
Color of Justin's eyes before he faints at the sight of blood

The Wedding Bouquet and the Lathe
The wedding bouquet
wonders whats going to happen to her bouquet after she dies
burns her own bouquet in Yonville
unhappy marriage
dried bouquet equals disapointed hopes
promise of wedding day went to ashes
foreshadows the ending of the book
her desires will consume her youth and life
"She threw it into the fire. It flared up faster than a dry straw. Then it looked like a red bush on ashes, slowly disintergrating" (Flaubert 65).
The lathe
Binet's repetitive use of it to make napkin rings
useless, nonproductive life of bourgeois tastes
Colors Continued
Yellow
decay
Examples
color of the carriage Leon used to go back and forth on business
color of Emma's dress while she was helping Charles with a patient
White
Beauty and lust
usually represent purity
Examples
Emma's stockings
Emma's neck
"Her white throat swelled in a sigh" (Flaubert 149).
The Blind Man
Shows up many times throughout the novel
frequency increases as her situation gets worse
His Appearance
Emma is disgusted and takes pity
represents Emma's corruption and death
The songs he sings
When she first sees him
" Often the warmth of a lovely day makes a girl dream of love" (Flaubert 248).
At the time of her death
sings about a harlot
last voice she hears before she dies
rude ending of song similar to Emma's death
"'The blind man!' she cried. And she began to laugh...she could see the hideous face of the beggar standing out against the eternal darkness like a nightmare" (Flaubert 302).
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