Madame Ovary, by Dr. Gustave Flaubert (humor)

14 Jul

The life and loves, and death of Emma Ovary, a beautiful woman married to a small town gynecologist, Charles. Dissatisfied with her marriage, Emma has a series of reckless love affairs which eventually lead to a nasty fungus, marital ruin and death from sexual exhaustion.

Charles Ovary, the only son of a middle class family, becomes a gynecologist and sets up a practice in a rural village. He consents to a marriage of convenience with an older woman who owns the building where he rents an office. When she dies, he marries the daughter of a patient with a history of yeast infections.

For a little while, young Emma is delighted to be the wife of the only gynecologist in the county, and enjoys listening to her husband’s after-dinner shop talk about genital warts, incontinence, irregular menstruation and uterine fibroids. After awhile, however, Emma becomes envious of those other vaginas being probed by her husband while hers, a model of feminine health, offers little mystery or challenge for Charles. Despondent, Emma becomes anorexic and refuses to eat.

In an effort to revive their marriage, Charles relocates his practice to a larger town where society life promises to perk up Emma’s spirits. Almost immediately after she gives birth to a daughter, she falls in love with Leon, a paralegal she meets when she and Charles revise their wills.

When Leon goes off to law school, lonely Emma completely abandons her duties as wife and mother and embarks on an adulterous affair with Rudolph, a local businessman who owns a chain of dairy farms and blacksmith shops. When he abandons her for a younger lover, Emma discovers she’s acquired genital herpes.

Because she can’t reveal her infidelity to her husband, she goes to another doctor in the city and by chance runs into Leon again. Still hoping to be cured of her herpes, she returns to the city again and again, ostensibly for shopping sprees and culture appreciation, when in fact she simply rents rooms in expensive hotels and indulges her libido with Leon.

With his help she gains a power of attorney over her husband’s bank accounts, and runs up huge debts. When the creditors come knocking, Emma turns to Rudolph for a loan, but he refuses to help her. In despair, Emma returns to the city and Leon, where she takes an overdose of Spanish Fly and goes out in an orgy of passion, dying of sexual exhaustion.

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