"Emma Bovary is always in search of shortcuts to escape from her misery, but the same shortcuts takes her towards misery." Explain.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the general sentiment of the statement.  I think that there is much in the statement that is true.  The basic idea of being incapable of escaping her misery is a valid point, something that Flaubert does not miss a chance to detail.  Where I have some slight challenge is with the idea of "shortcuts."  I am not entirely certain that Emma takes "shortcuts."  A shortcut implies that there is a more difficult path that one deliberately and consciously avoids.  Emma genuinely believes that her dreams and hopes are "the path."  The extent to which she goes to make her amorous affairs become successful are not ways to avoid work.  Rather, Emma is willing to do whatever is necessary in order to accomplish these hopes.  There is not a lack of desire in the pursuit of these ends.  Yet, I think that Emma's faith in these solutions is where the inability to escape pain is evident.  I don't see this as a shortcut, but rather a failure of the path taken to find "the perfect life."

In the end, Emma does not suffer from shortcuts.  She suffers from an inability see life as it is.  She seeks to make what life should be into what is and it is this that causes her pain and suffering.  Emma's inability to accept life as what is represents that statement of her unhappiness.

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Madame Bovary

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