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Monsieur Rouault consoles Charles by describing his own feelings of despair at the loss of his wife. He advises Charles to continue visiting Les Bertaux. But Charles isn't really suffering. Though he occasionally thinks about Heloise, he has begun to enjoy a feeling of freedom-the first in his life since he is no longer controlled by a domineering woman.
One afternoon Charles arrives at the farm and finds Emma alone in the kitchen. The shutters are closed, and he watches as she tilts a glass of liqueur to her lips. He dwells on the sensual way in which she licks the bottom of the empty glass. Later, as he returns home, Charles tries to imagine how it would feel to be married to someone like Emma. It is not long before he realizes that he is falling in love with her.
NOTE: WINDOW SYMBOLISM
Flaubert uses windows as a symbol of freedom or restraint, depending
on whether they are open or closed. When Charles visits Emma, she is seated
in the kitchen with the shutters closed. She's shut in and stifled with
her monotonous country life. When Charles gets up in the middle of the
night-too excited by his thoughts of Emma to fall asleep-he sits by the
open window and watches the stars, an indication of the promise that his
dreams open up for him. As you read, notice how Flaubert uses windows
to reflect the emotional states of his characters.
Since Charles has become fond of Emma and since she is of no use around the farm, Rouault sees no reason why she should not marry the young doctor. Preparations for the marriage will be made during the winter, and the ceremony will take place in the spring. Inspired by her romantic novels, Emma would like to marry at midnight, by torchlight, but her father insists on a traditional country wedding feast, which will last three days.
NOTE: EMMA'S CHARACTER
What do you know of Emma's character at this point? From her father you learn that she's too clever to spend her life on a farm. She has an interest in music, but no particular talent. It is suggested that she has a romantic nature; both her sensuality and tastes (for a torchlit wedding) are placed into contrast with her dull surroundings. After reading the next three chapters, compare the Emma you will know then with the young girl about to marry. What hints has Flaubert already given to prepare you for the Madame Bovary you will get to know? Whose view of Emma have you been seeing up to this point? Watch, as you read, to see when and how this early portrait changes.