Madame Bovary

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Madame Bovary Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

The affair gives Léon a feeling of intense, persistent arrogance; he can hardly pay attention to anything else. One day, he is overcome with longing and comes to Yonville to visit Emma. Charles happily receives him, but the couple don’t get any time alone. Emma is miserable to see him go, and promises to find a way to arrange a weekly meeting.
The affair makes Léon feel arrogant because it is ultimately a closed circuit between himself and his self-image. When that circuit fails, and he deflates, the love will disappear. Love founded on self-love is necessarily fragile.
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Emma continues to buy all sorts of clothes and furnishings from Lheureux. She also suddenly takes up the piano. One evening she practices in front of Charles, but she makes many mistakes and complains about her “rusty fingers.” She mentions that she’d like to hire a teacher – if only it weren’t so expensive. Finally, Charles agrees that she should go to Rouen once a week for piano lessons.
Emma manipulates Charles into suggesting a pretext for her affair. She clearly takes pleasure in her deception, and considers herself the winner of the situation. Yet it is Charles who is the happier. He is married to a woman he loves, who has a delightful passion for music. Charles has all the joy and serenity in the world.
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