Madame Bovary’s Young Friend

Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madam Bovary is set in provincial France in the mid eighteen hundreds.

Madame Bovary has a friend, a young man who is going to leave his family’s home soon and move to the big city to finish his education. I think it’s fair to compare that to going to university and to say that some things never change.

He imagines how he’ll live:

He would lead an artist’s life there! He would take lessons on the guitar! He would have a dressing-gown, a Basque cap, blue velvet slippers! He even already was admiring two crossed foils over his chimney-piece, with a death’s head on the guitar above them.

Admit it, folks – when you were dreaming about the freedom you’d get when you moved away to uni, you were mostly thinking of guitars and novelty slippers.

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