What is the relation of Emma Bovary with her children in the novel Madame Bovary written by Gustave Flaubert?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emma's relationship with her child is challenging.  Emma's romanticized view of her life does not extend to her child, whom she treats as a burden that is inhibiting her opportunity for real love and true happiness.  She comes to associate her child with the boredom of domesticity her marriage renders.  She does not exhibit any sense of true emotional connection with Berthe.  This might be a result of Emma's sense of complete infatuation with her dreams of happiness and contentment.  Emma is not one to accept the foundation of reality, as she is trapped, pinned, underneath the weight of her dreams.  Such a premise would preclude any sense of understanding the needs and fluid dynamics of parenting and forging connections with children.  This is confirmed at the end of the story, when the child is sent to work in a factory as a seamstress, Flaubert's ultimate representation of a life devoid of emotional connection.

mom2nickyandjoey | Student

To add to this, Emma wanted a boy. She saw that a boy would have been her ideal!  A girl, to her was commonplace and ordinary.  Emma always wanted more than what was given her and in her romantic ideals ( come to play from all the novels she read at the convent school when she was younger).  She was not in the least interested in a girl at first.  She made appearances as she loved the child. Holding her (but for a short time), going to see her at the nurse (as an exuse).  There was a point when Emma and Berthe were in the room and Emma wanted her mommy...Emma wasnt in the mood to deal with her young child. Berthe went over to her mother and Emma literally pushed her off of her...and that caused termoil in that the child banged her head and cut herself. Emma made such a tado about it as if she really then cared for her daughter....for appearance sake.