Lesson Notes Part 2: Chapter 4

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Lesson Notes
Part 2: Chapter 4
Throughout the novel, Emma is influenced by what she reads. Her reading material provides her with not only an escape, but also an often unrealistic and unattainable ideal that she struggles to create in her own life.

Objective: Students will examine the various types of literature mentioned by the characters in this section and analyze what they say about the readers.

1. Class discussion: What are the different genres of literature and periodicals? What types of reading material (if any) do students have in their homes?
2. Reading list: Students will make lists of what the characters read in this section. For each piece of reading material, describe what it says about the reader.
3. Short writing assignment /or/class discussions: Emma's love of romantic literature is partly responsible for her unrealistic expectations of life. While this can be seen as a critique of reading as a pastime, Flaubert has ironically written a novel that others might read for escape. Students will discuss this seeming contradiction. Do you think the novel "Madame Bovary" is the same as the novels Emma likes to read? Why or why not? (For Journal discussions on Nicenet.org)

Go home and look at the books and/or periodicals that you have in your house. What would they reveal to an outsider about your family? Write a page about what it reveals.

Part 2: Chapter 5

A dichotomy is a division into two opposing parts. The characters of Charles and Léon represent two opposing male natures. Emma finds one undesirable and the other one ultimately alluring.

Objective: Students will be able to identify the conflicting natures of Charles and Léon and how their dichotomous nature sets up tension in Emma's life.

1. Class discussion: Students will compare and contrast the reading material that Charles and Léon enjoy. What do their two opposing preferences indicate about their characters?

2. (Homework) Character study: Students will create Venn Diagrams comparing and contrasting Charles and Léon in attitude, appearance and behavior.

3. Writing assignment:

(Homework) Select one other area of Emma's life that is dichotomous. Write a paragraph explain how she navigates between the two conflicting areas.

4. Are there any areas of your own life that show a dichotomy? Write a journal entry describing any dichotomous relationships, interests or behaviors in your own life.

Part 2: Chapter 6

Another area of Emma's life that reveals dichotomy is her attitude towards religion. Being raised mainly in a convent, she has great faith, but it is often tested. Flaubert offers many examples in "Madame Bovary" that critique organized religion.

Objective: Students will be able to define words relating to ethics and morals, and create an ethical code of their own.

1. Class discussion: After sharing selected students' reflection on dichotomy, discuss Emma's dichotomous view of religion. Why do students think Emma seeks refuge and solace from the priest? What is she hoping to gain? Do they think Emma gave up too easily or was correct in her decision to find answers to her problems outside of the church, and ultimately make her own decisions?

2. Vocabulary: Students will define the following words: "ethics", "morals", "faith", and "belief". Discuss the differences between the words.

3. Moral codes: In pairs, students will develop a moral and ethical code of their own that would apply to behavior both inside and outside of school. After students come up with 5-10 guidelines for behavior, they will explain why they decided to choose each one.

Interview a parent, older sibling, grandparent or someone else well into adulthood. Ask them about their own moral code and how their faith changed over time. What experiences either deepened or tested their faith and belief system?
Part 2: Chapter 7
The concept of "courtly love" comes from medieval literature and represents an idealized love that fits in well with the torpid and passionate love of the Romantic period. Even though Emma is a Romantic, she also has an idealized vision of love in her mind.

Objective: Students will be able to explain the concept of "courtly love," and identify how Emma pursues this ideal.

1. Research: Students will research the concept of "courtly love" and identify its main themes:
- Aristocratic.
- Ritualistic.
- Secret.
- Adulterous.
2. Group work: Divide the class into 4 groups. Each group will have one of the four characteristic themes of courtly love and identify quotes from the text that represent how the unconsummated relationship between Emma and Léon would qualify as courtly love.
3. Literary themes: Students will find 2-3 famous literary or film examples of courtly love. They will share their examples with the class and why they think they exemplify courtly ideals.

Soap operas and prime time dramas are often filled with modern examples of courtly love. Students should locate clips of movies or television programs or images from advertising that represent the courtly love ideal.

Part 2: Chapter 8 

Irony is a literary theme that reveals a disruption between what one says or does and what one means. In literature, this is a way for the author to point out to the reader that we know more than the characters. Rodolphe is an ironic romantic figure; while he provides Emma with the image of the ideal lover, he is far from it and has very impure motivations.

Objective: Students will be able to define irony and identify it in the "courtship" of Emma by Rodolphe.

1. Background notes: Students will take notes on the 3 types of literary irony and then find examples of each from the text:
- Verbal irony: contrast between what a character says and what he or she does or really thinks.
- Dramatic irony: contrast between what a character thinks is true and what the reader knows is true.
- Situational irony: contrast between what actually happens in a story and what a reader or a character expects to happen. (To be identified in your annotations)

2. Class discussion: Read the section of Rodolphe and Emma's time at the agricultural fair aloud. What examples of irony can the reader identify? How do these examples make a fairly long and uninteresting narrative about an agricultural fair more meaningful to the plot?

3. Character map:

(Homework assignment) Focus on Rodolphe's character. List examples of how Rodolphe is an ironic character in this section. Write a paragraph explaining how and why Rodolphe is ironic and how this affects the reader's perception of him. Does it make the reader more or less sympathetic to Emma?

Part 2: Chapter 9

In addition to the irony that Flaubert develops in this section of the novel, he also manipulates the point of view so that the reader can see many things clearly which Emma cannot. This heightens the reader's sense of sympathy for Emma.

Objective: Students will be able to explain how point of view can heighten a reader's understanding of a story.

1. Point of view exercise: Find a biography of an infamous individual. Edit details that would reveal his or her true identity leaving only those details that could possibly apply to anyone. Have students write a paragraph describing what they think the person became well known for. Have the students share their paragraphs with a partner. Next, reveal the true identity of the person.

2. Class discussion: What does the reader know about Rodolphe's motives that Emma does not? Does this increase or decrease your sympathy for Emma? Does it reinforce her position as a tragic character? Why or why not?

3. Character map: Rodolphe can be seen as either a very complex or a very simple character. What do we know about his appearance, character, behavior, and personality? Students will make a list of everything we know about Rodolphe. With a highlighter or different colored pen, highlight those characteristics that Emma also knows about.

Emma only sees one side of Rodolphe, but Virginie, his mistress in Rouen, knows a very different side. Imagine she has found out about Rodolphe's seduction of Emma. Write a letter to Emma from Virginie revealing Rodolphe's character from her perspective.
Part 2: Chapter 10

Emma's sense of herself is often in flux. Others often seem to know her better than she knows herself even though she spends a lot of time dwelling on her own emotions.

Objective: Students will be able to analyze Emma's whimsical and changeable emotions.

1. Class discussion: What events cause Emma to go through such a wide range of emotions? Does she seem to respond to any triggers that cause her mood swings?

2. Character graph: Students will chart Emma's emotional state. They will create their own range of emotions from melancholy to blissful. Students will place the events of this chapter in chronological order and chart out Emma's rising and falling emotions. (To be identified in your annotations)

3. Writing activity: Based on their character charts, students will write a paragraph showing how Emma's fluctuating emotions not only affect her mood, but affect those around her. They will focus on the following emotions: happiness, insecurity, sadness, and fear. They will use examples from the text to illustrate each of these moods and their effects on the characters. (To be identified in your annotations)

4. Homework: Have the students read Part 2: Chapter 11.

Part 2: Chapter 11

Much like Charles and Léon, Charles and Homais represent two very different character types, especially in their pursuit of professional success. Homais acts as a foil and protagonist to Charles.

Objective: Students will be able to identify the ways in which Homais acts as an antagonist to other characters.

1. Background notes: Students will understand how antagonists function in a story as a way of furthering conflict. Students will take notes on the following: Types of conflict:
- Person vs. Person.
- Person vs. Nature.
- Person vs. Society.
- Person vs. Himself/Herself. (To be identified in your annotations)

Antagonist: - Definition: The person whose action is in conflict with a character/hero/protagonist.
Ask students what, based on the definition of conflict, can be an antagonist (examples: society, the ocean, the wilderness, another person, etc.).
- Synonym: Have students come up with various synonyms (examples: villain, rival, opponent, adversary, etc.).

2. Class discussion: Share examples of antagonists known from literature or film. What qualities do they share?
3. On trial: In today's litigious society, Hippolyte could quite easily have sued Homais and Charles for malpractice. Divide the class into groups representing Hippolyte, Charles and Homais. Have each prepare their case for why they think they did the right thing. Stage a mock trial.

4. Find quotations from Homais to be added to the Quote Board that reveal his antagonistic nature. (To be identified in your annotations)
Part 2: Chapter 12
Although the reader has been privy to Emma's change in character and motivation, now the other characters are also beginning to see outward expressions of Emma's evolving character. The line she draws between fantasy and reality is becoming much more blurred.
Objective: Students will be able to explain how Emma has trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and show examples of how this furthers her transformation into a romantic and tragic character.
1. Class discussion: What is the definition of fantasy? How does fantasy differ from reality? What does it mean if we say someone is living in a "fantasy world"? Would this characterization apply to Emma? Are any other characters in the novel sometimes confused between what is real and what they hope to be real?
2. Background notes: Students will define fantasy (or illusion) and reality: - Fantasy: an image or dream created by the imagination or an unrealistic and impractical idea. - Reality: everything that actually does or could exist or happen in real life.
3. Fantasy vs. reality: Students will set up a chart with 2 columns that compares fantasy versus reality on the following topics: - Emma's relationship with Rodolphe. - Charles perception of his marriage. - Emma's spending habits and sense of herself financially. - Homais' understanding of his own talents/profession. (To be identified in your annotations)
Classwork: Based on what you know about the characters in the novel and how they sometimes confuse reality with fantasy, make a prediction about what you think will happen next in the novel between Emma and Rodolphe.
Part 2: Chapter 13
Foreshadowing is a literary device used to alert readers to upcoming events or themes by hinting at them through current plot. Flaubert does this often in "Madame Bovary".
Objective: Students will be able to identify examples of foreshadowing and understand how Flaubert uses it to give readers an idea of what will happen next.
1. Class discussion: Share students' predictions of what they thought would happen next. Were they right or wrong? What clues were they given as to Emma's next actions?
2. Background notes: Students will review the definition of foreshadowing (using clues or hints to give the reader a suggestion of what might happen later in the plot). Have students look back in their texts and find examples of foreshadowing that have already occurred
(Emma's behavior at her wedding to foreshadow her marital unhappiness, Emma's interest in the intrigues she witnesses at the ball to foreshadow her infidelity, etc.).
3. Foreshadowing examples: Before Rodolphe begins writing Emma his letter, he first examines some "souvenirs" she has given to him:
- Her handkerchief, flecked with blood from a bloody nose.
- A miniature image of herself that he feels is "pretentious".
- Her business-like letters.
- Bouquets.
- Garters.
- Some hair.
- A Black mask.
Students will select 4 of these objects and explain how they could be objects that foreshadow what will become of their relationship and how he will end it in his letter. (To be identified in your annotations)
Homework: Students will read and finish part 2 for homework.
Part 2: Chapter 14

This section is one of the more detailed explanations of Emma's relationship with the spiritual world.
Objective: Students will be able to analyze the psychological background to Emma's rediscovery of religion and her devotion to charity work.
1. Class discussion: In times of trial, people often turn to religion or social charity to recuperate. What examples do you know of this? Why do you think this is a common reaction to a stressful or traumatic situation?
2. Research: Students will research the life of someone who has either had a dramatic spiritual conversion or who dedicated their life to humanitarian purposes. What factors were involved that led this person to have this life change? Are these factors similar to Emma's?
3. Share: Students will share what they have learned about their famous person. Does Emma seem to fit in with these people? Why or why not?
Homework: Write a poem or a prayer that Emma may have written during her depression.
Part 2: Chapter 15

The opera that Charles and Emma go to see, Lucia de Lammermoor, holds a lot of symbolism. Not only are operas a perfect romantic device to show the passionate nature of human relationships, but the plot of the opera they see reflects the plot line of the novel.
Objective: Students will be able to find parallels between Lucia de Lammermoor and the plot of the novel Madame Bovary.
1. Research: Students will research the history and plot of Lucia de Lammermoor, noting the following:
- The opera is based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott, one of Emma's favorite authors.
- Loveless marriage between Lucia & Arturo parallels Emma's loveless marriage to Charles.
- Desire for Lucia for an unattainable romantic ideal in Edgardo reflects Emma's search for a "perfect love".
- Lucia's descent into madness parallels Emma's own erratic moods and behaviors.
2. Class discussion/writing assignment: Students will discuss the similarities and differences between the tale in the opera and the events in Emma's life. Then students will write an essay comparing and contrasting the two by focusing on the following topics:
- The conflict in the opera comes from the feuding families (as in Romeo and Juliet). Where does the conflict lie in Emma's situation?
- How is Emma's position as a middle-class wife and mother similar to Lucia's position as a lady betrothed against her will for political reasons?
- What are the parallels between the match made between Charles and Emma and Lucia's predicament?
- Who do you consider more sympathetic, Emma or Lucia? Why?

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