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Free Study Guide-Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert-Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER 3

Summary

After Héloïse's death, Rouault pays Charles a condolence visit, during which he settles his account with the doctor. He also tells Charles of the manner in which he had coped when his wife died and assures him that his grief will pass. He then invites Charles to visit Les Bertaux in the spring. Charles is delighted at the invitation, and he soon becomes a regular visitor at the farm. Things are going well for Charles. His practice is flourishing with the sympathy generated by his wife's death, he is delighted to visit with Emma during his trips to Les Bertaux. For the first time, Charles dares to feel "vaguely hopeful and happy."

As the meetings between Emma and Charles become more frequent, old Rouault is sharp enough to see Charles' increasing fondness for his daughter. He is worried, however, about providing her with a dowry, since his debts are rising. When Charles asks him for Emma's hand in marriage, he readily consents. The wedding will take place after Charles' period of mourning ends. Emma pictures a romantic midnight wedding with torches.


Notes

Rouault appears to be a kind, good-natured man. He calls on Charles to offer his condolences over his wife's death and invites him to spend some time with him at Les Bertaux. His invitation has the dual purpose of taking Charles' mind off of his wife's death and interesting Charles in his own daughter Emma. Since Roualt is suffering from rising debts, he is very concerned about not having a large dowry for his daughter and wants to see her respectably and quickly married. When Rouault sees that Charles is fond of Emma, he does everything possible to encourage their relationship, for he judges the young doctor to be a suitable husband.

In this chapter, Flaubert continues to develop Emma. The first hint of her imaginative, romantic nature is depicted as she dreams about a midnight wedding with torches. Probably because of her dreamy, romantic ways, her father does not find Emma helpful enough on the farm and feels she will not be terribly missed when she marries. Charles, on the other hand, is thoroughly infatuated with Emma, believing everything about her, both her actions and her appearance, to be flawless. Emma will later take undue advantage of this devotion of Charles to her.

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