A Simple Heart


Gustave Flaubert

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A Simple Heart: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

As the priest and the rest of the Corpus Christi procession arrive at the Aubain house to bless the altar in the courtyard, Félicité wakes at the sound of bells and imagines the procession very clearly, as if she can actually see it. Loulou is buried under flowers on the altar, and Félicité keeps thinking of him as she listens to the hubbub outside. She continues listening to the procession singing and smelling the incense from it, smiling as she does so. As she dies, “she [imagines] she [sees] a huge parrot hovering above her head as the heavens [part] to receive her.”1111
Félicité’s final moments on Earth demonstrate that, although her natural goodness never wavered throughout her life, her personal and spiritual development was not stagnant. Instead, she learned a great deal about how to approach death, even as it repeatedly caused her fear and anxiety throughout her life. Because Félicité approaches death with her own version of the Holy Spirit guiding her way, it is clear that she feels welcomed rather than afraid. She knows that she has lived a life of faith, virtue, and genuine love, and when she sees the Holy Spirit—evidence that she is truly bound for heaven--Félicité finally dies in a joyful and peaceful manner.
Faith and Virtue  Theme Icon
Classism and Class Disparity Theme Icon
Cruelty vs Compassion  Theme Icon
Love, Loss, and Death Theme Icon
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