Madame Bovary Easter Egg - Flaubert Himself Hidden in the Novel

At the end of Madame Bovary, the latter goes to a pharmacist she knows to borrow money : her furniture is going to taken away, just an episode in her downfall that will eventually lead to her death. She also buys terebenthine essence and sugar acid. Now in a letter Flaubert once wrote on a trip he took to the east, he writes about having spent the night with an woman, whose fragrance was of "sugar terebenthine", which might suggest the pharmacist is Flaubert. The passage doesn't have much importance in the book : Madame Bovary pretty much knows she won't get the money. So maybe she's just paying the author if her own story a visit, so that he might change the ending, and let her live.

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Contributed By: Anonymous on 02-19-2001
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Funk writes:
Is this really an easter egg? Or could Flaubert just have taken some of the inspiration for Bovary from this woman that he met?
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PaulBoz writes:
Hmmm have to agree, not sure if this is a real easter egg. Flaubert religiously and meticulously researched all of his books and often included details of his own, or his family's life story in his work. For example, just from one short story, "un Coeur Simple": 1) Pont-l'Evêque, where the story is set, is the town of Flaubert's mother's birth. 2) Mme Aubain is actually a straight portrayal of his mother's older cousin. 3) The two children in the story, Paul and Virginie, are in fact Flaubert himself and his younger sister Caroline. And so on...... so I'm not sure that you can really count one instance of Flaubert appearing in Madame Bovary as an easter egg, more a sort of repeated motif.
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Malarame writes:
This is incorrect. In an interview later in his life, Flaubert was asked who Emma Bovary actually was, and his response was that she was himself at a younger age. Flaubert was a romantic idealist as a young man, just like Emma Bovary, but he grew out of it, realizing that it was ultimately a futile way of looking at the world. This is one of the themes of _Madame Bovary_, that the romantic philosophy only leads to pain and disappointment.
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