Madame Bovary Part Two Chapters 5-7 Summary

     On a snowy Sunday afternoon in February, Emma, Charles, Leon, Homais, and Homais' two children go to see the site of a new spinning mill about one mile from Yonville. Seeing Charles and Leon together in the cold that afternoon, Emma begins comparing the two of them. Of course, her irritation with Charles finds even his jacketed back to be an exclamation of dullness, while all of Leon's features seemed so beautiful and new to her.

     Emma does not go out that evening. She stays home and thinks of Leon. She finds him very charming. At some point, she realizes that Leon is in love with someone and concludes that it is her. She is both satisfied and saddened by this revelation.

     The next afternoon, the dry-goods merchant visits Emma. He is a clever, fat man. He lays out all of his goods and even offers to loan Emma money. Emma eyes the English needles, silk scarves, and embroidered collars. She eventually tells the merchant that she is not interested. He leaves and she feels very satisfied with herself for being so sensible.

     A bit later, she hears footsteps on the stairs to her room. It is Leon! She quickly grabs a towel in need of mending and begins to sew so that she is quite busy while he is visiting her. He tells her that he is about to leave for Rouen on a short trip. She mentions that she is giving up her music and continues to sew. He is irritated by the sewing, as she seems to be hurting her fingertips. He worries that she does not like him and she does little to dissuade him as she discusses what a good man her husband is.

     In the days that follow, Emma is the perfect wife. She takes all of her duties very seriously and prepares everything thoughtfully. She shows off Berthe to all visitors and makes sure that Charles' slippers are warming by the fire when he arrives home each night. Leon is intimidated by this display of virtue and thinks her too inaccessible. He begins to place her on a pedestal; she is perfect in every way.

     Everyone in Yonville admires Emma's thrift, courtesy, and generosity. Emma, however, feels full of discontent. She knows that she is in love with Leon and feels painfully aware of his every action. She seeks solitude to drift into thoughts of him. Her desire for fine things and money hones this discontent into hatred directed toward Charles. Isn't it Charles' fault, after all? When the maid catches her crying in her bedroom and urges her to tell Charles, Emma responds by telling her that it's only nerves. The maid is familiar with this. She knew a girl who suffered similarly and was relieved after being married. For Emma, however, marriage is the root.

     Emma goes to see the priest, thinking that perhaps she would find some comfort in confession as she did when she attended the convent school. The priest, however, is very busy. Emma tries to allude to her troubles, but the priest is too dense to ask the correct questions. He wants to talk of other people's struggles such as not having enough bread or firewood. In the end, Emma leaves, frustrated.

     When she arrives home and climbs the stairs to her room, she notices Berthe tottering toward her in her knitted shoes. Emma pushes her away, still irritated from her meeting with the priest. Berthe, however, comes back. She has a string of saliva spilling out of her mouth. Emma pushes her away more forcefully and the baby falls at the foot of the dresser, cutting herself on the brass.

     Emma calls for the maid. When Charles arrives, he reassures her and applies some adhesive bandage to help it heal. When Berthe finally sleeps, Emma's anxiety subsides a bit. She looks at her sleeping daughter and finds it astounding how ugly she is.

     Leon decides that it is time to leave for school. He feels very melancholy about his feelings for Emma and his overall boredom with Yonville. Homais and the children are very upset to see Leon go. Leon wishes to say goodbye to Charles, Emma, and Berthe. He goes to the house, but Monsieur is away. He asks to kiss the baby goodbye. After she is taken away, he is left with Emma. They converse awkwardly until the shake hands to say goodbye.

     After Leon leaves, Emma sinks into an odd depression, fueled by the loss of Leon and hatred of Charles. She begins to purchase things, feeling that she deserves to treat herself after the grief she's suffered. She buys lemons to bleach her fingernails, the nicest scarf in the shop, a blue cashmere dress. She decided to learn Italian, but gives up on every book that she buys without finishing them. Charles seeks his mother's help. The elder Madame suggests that Charles keep Emma from reading her novels.

     Later on a distinguished bachelor, Rudolphe Boulanger de la Huchette, and his peasant servant come to see the doctor. The peasant man wishes to be bled. Rudolphe privately marvels at Emma's pale skin and dark eyes. As an intelligent man who had already had many mistresses, he is bored by the other women that Yonville has to offer. He begins to plot his seduction of Emma.

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