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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Flaubert

Toward the end of part 2 of Flaubert's Sentimental Education Frederic begins a relationship w the young (she seems to be 15 at most!) daughter of M Roque, the widower who has been interested in not exactly marrying but more like building a business alliance w F's mother back home in the provinces. We know F's relationship w Mlle Roque will fail as he is too drawn to the dissolute, amoral milieux of Paris - he will inevitably hurt her but it will be good for her to move beyond him. She is still young. But we get insight into F's troubled mind through his awkward "courtship" of Mlle Roque: He seems touched that she seems to be in love w him and he says she is the first person ever to do so and we feel that this is sad and true : even his mother seems mostly to want to push him into a career and she seems unaffectionate. He, too, is drawn to Mlle R by the wealth of her insidious father. Finally we sense that he will inevitably hurt her, that he is afraid of success in love, that he is attracted only to the unobtainable and that this kind of attraction is a defense that protects him from engagement with and commitment to others.

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