A Simple Heart

Madame Aubain’s youngest child and only daughter. Like her brother Paul, she quickly becomes a source of joy in Félicité’s life, but does not maintain the same degree of closeness with Félicité as she ages. Virginie suffers from an unnamed illness throughout her youth, and though she initially improves after visiting the seaside with her family, she ultimately succumbs to the illness in the Ursuline convent where Madame Aubain sent her to become educated. Virginie’s death is one of many losses in Félicité’s difficult and often tragic life.

Virginie Aubain Quotes in A Simple Heart

The A Simple Heart quotes below are all either spoken by Virginie Aubain or refer to Virginie Aubain . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Faith and Virtue  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of A Simple Heart published in 2005.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Thinking that it would help the children to derive some enjoyment from their studies, he bought them an illustrated geography book. It depicted scenes from different parts of the world […] Paul carefully explained all these pictures to Félicité. In fact, this was the only time anyone ever taught her how to read a book.

Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other A Simple Heart quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

For lunch she served a sirloin of beef, along with tripe, black pudding, a fricassee of chicken, sparkling cider, a fruit tart and plums in brandy, all accompanied by a stream of compliments…not forgetting their dear departed grandparents whom the Liébards had known personally, having been in service to the family for several generations. The farm, like the Liébard’s themselves, had an old-world feel to it. The beams in the ceiling were pitted with woodworm, the walls blackened with smoke, the window panes grey with dust.

Page Number: 11-12
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 3 Quotes

Although Félicité had been fed such rough treatment since she was a child, she felt very offended by Madame Aubain. But she soon got over it. After all, it was to be expected that Madame should get upset about her own daughter. For Félicité, the two children were of equal importance; they were bound together by her love for them and it seemed right that they should share the same fate.

Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

They found a little chestnut-coloured hat made of long-piled plush, but it had been completely destroyed by the moths. Félicité asked if she might have it as a keepsake. The two women looked at each other and their eyes filled with tears. Madame Aubain opened her arms and Félicité threw herself into them. Mistress and servant embraced each other, uniting their grief in a kiss which made them equal.

Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 4 Quotes

As she came to the top of the hill at Ecquemauville, she saw the lights of Honfleur twinkling in the night like clusters of stars and, beyond them, the sea, stretching dimly into the distance. She was suddenly overcome with a fit of giddiness and her wretched childhood, the disappointment of her first love affair, the departure of her nephew and the death of Virginie all came flooding back to her like the waves of an incoming tide, welling up inside her and taking her breath away.

Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire A Simple Heart LitChart as a printable PDF.
A simple heart.pdf.medium

Virginie Aubain Character Timeline in A Simple Heart

The timeline below shows where the character Virginie Aubain appears in A Simple Heart. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Classism and Class Disparity Theme Icon
Though the bull did not ultimately harm anyone, Virginie Aubain is so frightened by the incident that her health takes a turn for the... (full context)
Chapter 3
Faith and Virtue  Theme Icon
Classism and Class Disparity Theme Icon
Love, Loss, and Death Theme Icon
...Félicité thinks the house is “very quiet without him.” Soon, she is tasked with accompanying Virginie to her daily catechism at the Pont-l’Eveque Catholic church. Though Félicité does not understand the... (full context)
Classism and Class Disparity Theme Icon
Madame Aubain sends Virginie to an Ursuline convent school so that she can receive lessons in subjects that her... (full context)
Faith and Virtue  Theme Icon
Classism and Class Disparity Theme Icon
Cruelty vs Compassion  Theme Icon
...trips out to sea, bringing back presents for Félicité each time. Meanwhile, both Paul and Virginie come home for their school holidays, but Félicité finds that they’ve both matured too much... (full context)
Faith and Virtue  Theme Icon
Love, Loss, and Death Theme Icon
...her nephew’s safety, Félicité prays to God. She considers stopping by the convent to visit Virginie, but decides not to annoy Madame Aubain by returning home late. (full context)
Classism and Class Disparity Theme Icon
Cruelty vs Compassion  Theme Icon
...all the tragedies that might befall him. Meanwhile, the nuns at the convent report that Virginie’s health is somewhat delicate again, and Madame Aubain becomes increasingly anxious about her poor condition.... (full context)
Faith and Virtue  Theme Icon
Love, Loss, and Death Theme Icon
Virginie Aubain, who has still not been cured of her childhood illness, appears to be approaching... (full context)
Classism and Class Disparity Theme Icon
Cruelty vs Compassion  Theme Icon
Love, Loss, and Death Theme Icon
Madame Aubain and Félicité continue to mourn the loss of Virginie and discuss her frequently, even many years later. One afternoon, while airing out Virginie’s old... (full context)
Chapter 4
Faith and Virtue  Theme Icon
Classism and Class Disparity Theme Icon
Love, Loss, and Death Theme Icon
...include religious items, “gifts” discarded by the Aubains, and mementos of lost loved ones like Virginie Aubain’s hat. Now so deaf that she can’t converse with anyone, Félicité lives “as if... (full context)