Bouvard (boo-VAHR), a middle-class clerk, the protagonist of Flaubert’s unfinished, posthumously published novel. He meets Pécuchet beside the Canal Saint Martin one summer afternoon and finds they have many common interests and traits. Upon receiving a bequest from a man he had thought was his uncle but who turns out to be his natural father, he decides, after consultation with his friend, to buy a house and farm far from the desk where he has toiled, and forget his plebeian occupation. In this way, circumstances that have prevented his extraordinary mind from achieving success will be changed. After a round of unsuccessful endeavors and undertakings, he returns to his desk.
Pécuchet (pay-kew-SHAY), his fat friend, who comes to help Bouvard run his farm. Consulting their neighbors, buying all the books and magazines available, they vainly try to make the farm pay, but the livestock runs away or dies. After the wheat field burns, Pécuchet persuades his friend to give up most of the farm in order to concentrate on a beautiful formal garden.
Madame Bordin (bohr-DAHN), who attends the official banquet and opening of the formal garden and finds the dinner a failure and the garden impossible to see in the late evening. When Bouvard begins reading...
(The entire section is 435 words.)