In Defense of Emma Bovary

 Stanislaw Mikulski; Shutterstock

I love how you dress for weddings: the repetitive movements of your fingers when you knot your bow-tie and that splendid nakedness of the white rose on your lapel, a true nuditas virtualis that makes me dream of the birth of a god in the zodiacal sign of Virgo.

I miss the glow of your face in the candlelight, the vibration of the wine glass’ crystal stem between your fingers, the memorable tunes of the waltz coiling around your senses.

It is dark. I lay on the sofa and the smell of pain killers and sedatives dwells in my nostrils. I can hear the noise of the withered leaves coming from outside. It frightens me.  The sweetness of the nuditas virtualis fades away. I think of Emma Bovary, the so-called narcissistic self-deluded character, the adulterous woman, the daydreamer, the nuditas criminalis par excellence.

How pathetic and enslaved by time our judgments are.  If Emma were a man, she would have had the masculine license to thirst for the feminine. No judgements would have been passed. There is no masculine equivalent of Emma Bovary in literature.  Profoundly telling, don’t you think?

Emma committed the mortal sin of having affairs.  She killed herself as self-punishment, we are told. How ignorant people who think so are. Turn the page and think of Emma as the woman who pitied the birth of her own daughter. Have you ever stopped to think why she would do that?

Those winds and the frightening noise of the withered leaves.

Where are you?

You do not visit anymore. You forgot your white rose on the head on my sofa.  I need to tell you again. I love how you dress for weddings.

My poetry collection Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings is available on Amazon here .
Passions featured in San Francisco Book Review
Passions featured in Manhattan Book Review.

@Gabriela Marie Milton

166 thoughts on “In Defense of Emma Bovary

    1. Thank you so much my dearest Rene. You are a fabulous friend and a fabulous writer. Have a great Sunday my dear ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  1. The words are simple, yet the images seem to stand still in time. While there is sadness, we just might catch a glimpse of light . . . the white rose never fades.

    1. Thank you for your beautiful comment. You made my morning brighter. Be well. Be loved. Be love.

    1. Thank you so much Priscilla. I am thrilled you enjoyed the piece. Sending you huge hugs.

    1. David, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind words and for your support. Both mean a lot to me.

  2. This is so hauntingly beautiful dear Button. So much sadness and truth in this piece. I love the way the poem moves with your thoughts from one profound and intense scene to the next. Society’s inequities are shown with such a great example and then back to that sense of loss and regret. Brilliant Button!!
    Love, hugs and blessings stitched with golden kisses from the tears of angels. 💕❤️🦋Joni

    1. Good afternoon honeybun
      So good to hear from you. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. You always humble me with your praise. Your words always find their way to my soul.
      May you have a blessed rest of the day.
      Love (Button)

      1. Yes, thank you my kind friend, we relaxed and had regular food but I made two sweet potato pies and we enjoyed that so much.
        May you also try and enjoy this day my dear friend. Sending so much love to you. You are in my prayers too. 🤗💕❤️🦋😘 yours, honeybun

      2. Wonderful. Sweet potato pie! It sounds heavenly. Any piece left for me? 🙂 🙂 🙂
        Thank you for the love and the prayers. They always help.

      3. Of course my dear Button. Sending fairies immediately to deliver a pie with coconut whip cream to you. Enjoy.
        I love you Button. ❤️💕🤗😘🦋🧚🏻🧚🏻Honeybun

      4. Aw.. they are already here. The pies are excellent. Thank you!

        Honestly I am craving sweet potato pie. I can’t do anything right now because of my ankle but I will do some research to see if there is any place that has sweet potato pie.
        Love you too honeybun.

      5. I am so sorry about your ankle dear Button. I will continue praying for fast healing. Try and do all the right things while you are recovering. I love you and glad you like the pie. You are in my heart ❤️. Xoxoxo honeybun

  3. Brilliant! Of course there is no male equivalent of Emma Bovary, because for men this behaviour is more or less expected if not outright accepted. The idea that female sexuality is a monstrous thing…

    1. Hi sweetheart, thank you so much for reading and commenting. Well… as a society we have a long way to go. I wonder when I we going to get there.
      On a different note, thank you so much for reviewing my book on Amazon. I will always be grateful to you.
      Sending plenty of love. Have a great week ahead.

      1. Oh I’m pleased they published the review. The book is a delight and I treasure it 🌟 wishing you a great week too 😊

  4. Hi Gabriela, you never miss to amaze me in all your poetry’s. ❤️❤️ Interestingly your poem made me to surf who Emma Bovary was and I found out. 😄😄 Thank you for always sharing some profound poetry’s. 💕💕💕

    1. Hello, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, commenting, and praising my work. you are such a gem.
      Sending love and flowers your way.

  5. what a great piece Gabriella so beautifully spoken in words that flow into each other. Tender yet sad and exposing of the injustice of being a woman. Changing but not fast enough and mourning the bravery of Emma and never knowing her worth. ❤️ Cindy

    1. Hello Cindy, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for your comment. You are a sweetheart and a fighter at the same time. You are great!
      To you and to those who you love tones of hugs.

      1. Thank you so much Gabriella!! I truly did and I hope you did as well!
        Awww thanks; that is a great compliment! To you and me and cheers to us!
        Love the love and tones of hugs , coming back your way! ❤️🤗

      2. My pleasure. Cheers to us!
        Thank you for the love and the hugs.

  6. She was miserable and remained true to herself, which was better than go on living a life full of lies. If she were a man, we wouldn’t be so fucking judgemental, pardon my French.

    I hope you’re not talking of your pain killers btw. How is it, Gab? I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.

    1. Hi Bo,
      “remained true to herself, which was better than go on living a life full of lies.” Some of us pay for being who we are but I agree with you. It’s better than living a lie.
      The doctor prescribed some pain killers but they are not opioids. They are very mild. I have to take them for another 4 days. I have to say, it’s not good, but it’s better than I expected. I am mostly in bed. Hopefully in 2 weeks I will be able to do more than that.
      Sending everyone big hugs. Stay safe!

      1. It still hurts. I’m trying to use less crutches in the apartment, and walk more on my own on my way to the therapy. I’m still in pain and limping so I have to try real hard not to, but it’s not easy. My foot is still still.
        I’m resuming therapy…I’m emotionally better. It was about time.

      2. Bo, I am so sorry to hear that it still hurts . But hey I am thrilled you feel emotionally better. That’s important. I was so depressed the first 10 days. It was awful.
        Be careful when you go to therapy. Be well. Be safe. I hope you can get rid of the crutches soon. Could you give my love to little B too? Xmas is coming. He must be happy.

    1. My Dearest Navin,
      So good to hear from you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your beautiful comment.
      Sending you plenty of love. I hope everything is well.

      1. You’re welcome, dearest Gabriela….I haven’t been a lot on WP lately….things are alright….hoping you’re doing well….much love ❤️ ✨

      2. I will take “alright” for the moment. I am patiently waiting for the day when you are going to tell me you are happy ❤️🌹

    1. Hi there my dearest Eric. You only need to support and love them. I know you do that. So you’re good.
      Sending hugs to everyone.

    1. Aw… thank you so much Katy. Your comments bring happiness in my life. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.
      Sending LOVE your way. Have a beautiful week.

    1. Thank you so much my dearest Amy. It’s so good the hear from you. Sending you love and fresh roses 🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹

  7. Sometimes being true to self can result in misery and being judgemental is indeed pathetic. Insightful write, Gabriela. So good to read to again. I hope you are well. ❤️🌷🤗

    1. Hi Punam, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I missed you. I worry about you. I do not know why. I just do. Anyway, Welcome back! Sending you love and big hugs and looking forward to reading your work ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

      1. Aww sweetheart! Don’t worry about me. I am absolutely fine. It is just that I was unable to devote time to blogging. Now I hope not to take such long breaks. Much love to my thoughtful, beautiful friend. 🤗❤️🤗❤️

  8. While I understand (I wrote a book set in the 70s about a wannabe feminist) there are certain things precursor to Flaubert’s famous tart. One needs look only over his shoulder to find Mary Wollstonecraft who was neither fictional nor conventional nor circumspect. The latter (here’s the double standard) keeping her brilliance under wraps (so to speak). To find a flesh and blood male alternative (though not frowned upon) there’s always Byron and any number of Tom Jones characters from the basement publishers of “Fanny Hill”-esque Victorian Porn. More the shame on the culture to condemn Wollstonecraft and Bovary yet to allow a girl to make herself available for prostitution at the age of 12. There were no laws protecting married women from spousal abuse in the US until 1974. Women’s history sucks. I won’t advertise on your site with a link but if you get around to it find “Dress Like a Man” on mine. Bettisia Gozzadini would have liked your post!

    1. Phil, thank you for your comment. It means a lot to me.
      As you point out Wollstonecraft was brilliant. It’s a pity that her unconventional relationships attracted more talk than her work. Anyhow, Emma (read Flaubert) left us the term “bovarysme”: clear negative connotation.
      As for the masculine alternative you are probably right. I will refrain to say more than that.
      “to allow a girl to make herself available for prostitution at the age of 12. ” That is terrible. Need not to say more.
      “Women’s history sucks.” It does indeed.

      “Dress Like a Man” I will definitely check your side. Thank you for the suggestion.

      “Dress like a man” makes me think of George Sand who cut her hair and chose to dress like a man 🙂 Even Emma on one or two occasions wears a man coat. What was Flaubert thinking? Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel left us not only Chanel No.5 and “the little black dress” but also a line of sporty clothes for women inspired by men attire.

      Always a pleasure to read your comments, Phil. Thank you again.

      1. That’s so sweet of you to say. Thank you. I am humbled when I see your likes on my posts too. I am not the only one who is amazing. You are too 🙂

  9. Ah! The only word that pops in my mind right now is poignant. Strong, melancholy, and true to deeper meanings.
    The white rose lives forever… stunning.
    I guess I didn’t get it the first time round.

    1. Hello my fabulous friend. Thank you so much for your beautiful words and for the praise.
      Oh, yes, the white rose…
      I miss you. I hope everything is well. Any new culinary adventures?

      1. My absolute pleasure friend! I miss you too. I did make some amazing winter but bars and truffles. Tried pie for the first-time.
        How was thanksgiving?

      2. Cool. I hope you liked the pie (what kind of pie?)
        My Thanksgiving? I sprained an ankle and ruptured one ligament so I was and I am mostly confined to the sofa. However, I was treated with deboned stuffed French chicken some kind of Poulet Rôti aux Pommes et Poires which was fantastic. It helps to be loved 🙂
        I hope you are well. Sending you big hugs!!!

      3. The came out fine. It was the classic apple.
        I heard, the last time. How is it now? Can you walk?
        Ah! Do you use cider or white wine? (In the roast). It does help to be loved.
        I’m good. Are you?

      4. Hello my dearest friend.
        I thought of you today. Thank you for writing. I think I am ok. I can walk a bit. I will go to the doctor next week and I’ll see then.
        White wine.
        I am glad you are fine.
        Sending you plenty of love.

        WOW. Wait. You wrote on December 2. I got your reply today: December 12. The owl was slow 🙂

      5. Hola my dearest friend, glad to hear from you!!!! See, we took a break at the same time.
        I am doing fine. I hope you are too.
        Happy Holidays. May 2012 be filled with love.

    1. I am thrilled you liked the post B. Madame Bovary is one of my favs too. She is indeed a Quixotic character.
      How is writing going?

      1. A little slow, combined with relevant reading. But I ve decided not to be anxious about it. I ll take my time.

        I hope you are well. Much love ❤️

      2. As long as you are happy sweetheart, everything will be fine.
        Much love to you too.

  10. Beautiful, like jumping into a gently flowing river. Not only did it carry me away to experience the ride, but capture the scenery and scents while floating by. Hoping it would never end.

    “How pathetic and enslaved by time our judgments are.” Is the soul piercing line, that would reawaken the “woke” from their self satiated slumber.

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