Madame Bovary begins on Charles Bovary’s first day at a boarding school. At fifteen, Charles is much older than most boys when they first leave home, but his parents have waited to enroll him in school to save money. He is placed in a class with younger students who ridicule him. Because of this, he remains aloof. He concentrates on his schoolwork and forms no close friendships.
Charles has grown up in the countryside. His father is a surly, superior man who failed at several occupations in his young adulthood and is now resigned to a life of discontent and idleness....
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