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Madame Bovary: Novel Summary: Part III - Chapter 7 - 9

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Chapter 7
The following day three officials arrive and inventory all the goods in the house.That evening she feels regret as she looks over all the expensive items in the house she used to temper her frustrated passion. The following day, a Sunday, she travels to Rouen to look for money but the bankers either refuse or simply laugh at her. Leon calls her crazy when he hears how much money she needs.He agrees to try to raise 3,000 francs but returns from his mission empty handed. She hints that he should steal the money from his office and the frightened clerk promises to borrow the money from a friend who is returning that night. Leon tells Emma that he will bring the money the following day but she is not to wait for him past 3 o'clock. On her way to the Hirondelle she passes the cathedral and remembers how full of hope she had been when she first met Leon there. She sees a man in a carriage that she believes is the vicomte and the sight depresses her. Monsieur Homais is also returning to Yonville and when the blind beggar accosts the carriage in his usual manner Homais lectures the man and tells him that he can heal him with a salve of his own invention. Emma gives the beggar a five franc piece - the last money she has in the world. She collapses into her bed that night resigned to let come what may. In the morning a notice in the square explains that the contents of the Bovary's house are subject to sale. Felicite, who is romantically involved with the notary Guillaumin's manservant, advises her mistress to seek funds from the notary. Guillaumin knows of her predicament through his secret business associations with Lheureux. He initially refuses to give her money but, abandoning his decorum, begins to caress her and falls on his knees and tells her that he loves her. Disgusted, Emma flees the house. She returns home where she waits for Charles, enraged that he should be in a position to be condescending to her. As he enters the front door, however, she flees out the back and the mayor's wife, Madame Tuvache sees her enter the tax collector Binet's house. Madame Tuvache and Madame Caron watch through a window and see her confront Binet and then seemingly make romantic advances to the man who recoils in horror. Emma flees to Madame Rollet's cottage and collapses sobbing on the bed. She comes to her senses and, realizing it is nearly 3 o'clock, orders the confused wet nurse to go to her house to meet Leon. Emma waits a long time but when Madame Rollet returns she tells her that he was not there. Furthermore she explains that Madame Bovary's anguished husband is calling for her and everyone is looking for her. Emma suddenly thinks of Rodolphe and sets out for La Huchette certain of help from that quarter.
Chapter 8
She finds Rodolphe alone in the mansion. He apologizes for his past treatment of her and she tells him that she has suffered a great deal. He sees her sorrow and he caresses her. He reaffirms his love and begs to know what is wrong. She explains that a notary has absconded with all of her husband's money and they are to be ruined. She asks him to loan her 3,000 francs. Rodolphe turns pale and explains that he doesn't have the money. She accuses him of destroying her and mocks the richness of his supposed poverty by pointing out the expensive items in the room. He persists in his refusal and she staggers away. Night is falling and she feels herself slipping into madness. She sees the lights of her house and then, acquiring a new resolve, goes instead to the pharmacy and convinces Justin to let her into the lab where Homais keeps his arsenic.Justin is horrified when Madame Bovary seizes a great handful of the white powder and swallows it. She swears him to silence and then returns home.
Chapter 9
She arrives to find Charles worried for her safety and depressed about their financial ruin. Ignoring his questions she writes a letter, seals it and, telling him not to read it until the following day, lies down upon her bed and waits to die. She vomits, feels chills and experiences sharp pains. Charles pleads with her to tell him what she's eaten and seeing the love in his eyes she finally points to the letter. When Charles reads that she has poisoned herself he becomes wild with anguish. He sends for Homais who arrives to find Bovary out of his mind with worry. Homais writes letters to Monsieur Cavinet and Doctor Lariviere. Emma calls for her little girl who is frightened by the sight of her sick mother. Cavinet arrives and Charles begs him to save his wife. He prescribes an emetic and soon she is vomiting blood. Soon the celebrated Doctor Lariviere arrives and seeing Emma pulls Charles aside tells him that nothing can be done. Not wishing to see Emma die, Cavinet and Lariviere leave the room and Homais hurries after them in order to invite them to lunch. Before he can leave the town Lariviere is forced to suffer through a meal with Homais and then he is besieged by the townspeople and their complaints of illness. Homais and Cavinet, seeing the priest enter the Bovary house, return to witness the end. In her delirium Emma is pleased to see the priest and implants a passionate kiss on the crucifix. The abbs performs communion and Emma's face acquires a peaceful countenance. Suddenly she begins to breathe rapidly in the throes of death. As she suffers Emma hears the sound of the beggar from Rouen, who has come to Yonville seeking Homais' cure, singing a song that ends with the couplet:
The wind blew very hard that day
And snatched her petticoat away
Emma sits upright and calls out "The blind man!" before collapsing dead.
Analysis of Chapters 7-9
Although Emma is disgusted by the notary's advances and the suggestion that he would give her money in exchange for sexual favors as her desperation rises she does not balk at making advances to Binet and then expecting certain help from Rodolphe in exchange for sex.Her interior world of idealized romance has been corrupted to prostitution by the demands of the real.Significantly, her downfall is predicated not by her extra-marital affairs but by her reckless spending and lack of bourgeois discipline with money.While she is dying, Emma shows genuine affection for Charles.She is able to do this because, by taking the poison she is simply able to perceive his devotion free of her own desires. The blind man arrives on the scene in time for Emma's death.His presence in the novel is something of a homage to the romantic novels of the early nineteenth century and the medieval wisdom of his song - in which love and death coexist - is appropriate for Emma's departure.The figure of Doctor Lariviere is modeled after Flaubert's father who was a physician in Rouen.


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