Madame Bovary Part One Chapters 4-6 Summary

     The Bovary wedding was a large event comprised of more than 40 guests. All of the guests wore their best clothing; some of the children wore boots for the first time. There was an abundance of food, including custards with the couple's initials spelled out in almonds and a special wedding cake baked by a new baker in town. Emma's dress was a little long and she had to stop occasionally to lift it up and pick blades of grass off of it.

     Emma insisted that no one play pranks on her and her new husband, as was commonly done on the wedding night. Monsieur Rouault caught a cousin trying to squirt water from his mouth through the couple's bedroom door and stopped him. The cousin reluctantly stopped and joined a few other family members at another table who felt as though they had been ill-treated. These relatives had been given inferior cuts of meat or otherwise insulted. The elder Madame Bovary also felt a bit slighted. No one had asked her opinion on any wedding matters.

     Charles was visibly taken with his new wife. In fact, it seemed to the guests that he was the one who had lost his virginity on their wedding night. He was constantly asking after Emma and referring to her familiarly as "my wife." Emma, however, was puzzlingly stoic. The newly married couple remained for two days after the wedding before travelling to Tostes. Charles could stay no longer, as he had business to attend to.

     Upon arriving to Charles' house, Emma is encouraged by an older servant woman to look around, as dinner was not yet ready. Emma wandered through the garden and rooms of the house before inspecting the bedroom. When she entered, she found the Heloise's bridal bouquet of orange blossoms wrapped in white satin. She said nothing to Charles, but when he saw her looking at it, he quickly picked it up and moved it. She thought of her bridal bouquet, safely packed, and wondered what would happen to it if she were to die.

     Emma spent the next couple of days redecorating and making changes in the house. She had the walls repapered and benches put around the garden sundial, among other things. Charles purchased a two-wheeled buggy because he knew that Emma liked to go out for drives. They refinished it with new lanterns and leather mud-guards.

     Charles was exceedingly happy. He loved waking up next to his wife and sharing meals with her. She would lean out of the bedroom window to watch him leave in the mornings and he would blow kisses to her. He wondered if he had ever really lived before this and thought about the way his life was before her. He showered her with affection, sometimes kissing her up her arm and neck. When he did this she would push him away, partially smiling and irritated, the way a mother might treat her child.

     She thought she had loved Charles before they were married, but now she thought she might be mistaken. What she had with Charles did not seem like the things she had read about in books. She had read romantic in the convent school she had attended. She loved the religious images of the convent school and paid more attention to the depictions of the sick sheep, stumbling Jesus next to the cross, and the Sacred Heart than the Mass itself.

     When she was in school, she invented little sins to stay longer during confession. After the boring country life that she had lived before school, she found herself drawn to emotional scenes. She discarded anything that did not stir this in her. The woman who would come to the convent to do the mending would often let the older girls borrow the novels she read, which were filled with romantic fantasies and dramatic love affairs.

     When Emma's mother died, she aspired to be one of these romantic characters. She wept profusely and stubbornly maintained an aloofly melancholy air that worried her father, who came to visit her. She found that she wasn't all that sad, and grew tired of this façade. At this point, she was no longer performing as well in school. The nuns were disappointed that her enthusiasm for the church had diminished. Of course, Emma was never truly enthusiastic about the church so much as about the beautiful images and lovely flowers that she could see there.

     None of the nuns were sorry to see her go when her father pulled her out of school and brought her home. She quickly became bored of country life. Meeting Charles, or perhaps even just meeting a man at all, made her believe that she was in love. She believed that she felt great passion for him, but now life seemed so calm and usual. Emma is certain that love can only be poetic and thrilling and since her life no longer felt that way, she must not be in love.

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