Discuss Isabelle's connection to both Emma Bovary and Hamlet, characters in books that she reads in Amy and Isabelle.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Isabelle's character represents some different aspects of Emma Bovary and Hamlet.  Perhaps, there is some identification that she has with these narratives because of the mirroring circumstances in her own life.  As much as a struggle her life is, Emma Bovary seems like a character with whom Isabelle can relate.  Both women struggle to make life work for them.  Both women also engage in the power of dreams and contemplations of a life that is different from the one they lead.  For Emma, her dreams of affairs with men and, by extension, a better life is what fuels her own sense of self in these visions, something that she tries to project with a sense of futility.  For Isabelle, contemplating what a relationship with her boss might be like is part of this.  Additionally, simply dreaming about a life that does not resemble her own is of vital importance to her.  In terms of the similarity with Hamlet, Isabelle's lack of certainty about whether or not she should pursue a relationship with her boss is reminiscent of Hamlet's own indecision about avenging his dead father.  Outside of the character paralells, one other reason why Isabelle might read such works is because they afford her an emotional connection in a world where this is lacking.  Isabelle does not really feel emotionally vested in much of anything for the first part of the work.  The relationship between she and her daughter is not one where there is a great deal of emotional connection and the realm in which she works is one where there is not much in way of affect.  In this condition, her ability to connect with the worlds of Hamlet and Emma Bovary might afford her an outlet that she lacks in her own life.

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