In 1857, the year of publication, Flaubert's Madame Bovary was banned on grounds of overt sexuality. There was even a trial. Presiding over the trial, Imperial Advocate Ernest Pinard accuses the author of sexual corruption arguing that there is, "No gauze for him, no veils--he gives us nature in all her nudity and crudity."
Underneath the sexual excuses, the charges likely also stemmed from the depiction of a woman who expresses her frustration with the traditional roles of women. Flaubert recognized the stifling and discontent women suffered in his time. His character Emma, the protagonist, tries in her desperate way to break free.
To the patriarchal establishment, Emma is the epitome of the "bad girl." Emma has two affairs. She is a wretched mother. She wracks up debt. She has big dreams.
In the beginning of the tale, she is married to Charles. Charles is a doctor, and makes a decent living. He is a kind but dull man. Bored out of her mind, Emma has her first fling. One of Charles's...
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