“Before marriage she thought herself in love; but the happiness that should have followed this love not having come, she must, she thought, have been mistaken. And Emma tried to find out what one meant exactly in life by the words felicity, passion, rapture, that had seemed to her so beautiful in books.” (end of Chapter 5)
It’s a terrible thing when one’s expectations are so high they cannot possibly be met. Most certainly, if a woman is discontent with her life, a man will not be able to rescue her from it. Especially if he is a man who is kind, gentle, and unambitious. A man who is complacent at best, mundane at worst. A man such as Charles Bovary.
“A man, on the contrary, should he not know everything, excel in manifold activities, initiate you into the energies of passion, the refinements of life, all mysteries? But this one taught nothing, knew nothing, wished nothing.”
Practically pulled through medical school by his mother’s good intentions, and rescued from a miserable marriage when his first wife died, Charles Bovary is becoming a doctor of some renown in the small town of Tostes. But, this is not enough for Emma who hopes for so much more.
The ball to which they were invited was the icing on the cake. After their return, Emma mopes about the cottage; the gray wool socks she wears seem to match the gray and rainy skies both outside her window and within her soul. It is a depression born of selfishness, and it can only bring woe.
“But she-her life was cold as a garret whose dormer window looks on the north, and ennui, the silent spider was weaving its web in the darkness in every corner of her heart.”