Felicite's Love "A Simple Heart" by Gustave Flaubert

Essay by RUDYO April 2005

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In the story "A Simple Heart," Gustave Flaubert describes Felicite as a loving, caring, servant. At an early age, Felicite was orphaned which causes her to lack love in her life. Felicite is always looking for someone or something to love. Once Felicite has found that love, it seems to rapidly vanish and cause her heartache and pain. Stratton Buck says, "Aside from these years of competent and unceasing domestic labor, the story of Felicite's life is not much more than the account of successive disappearances of the persons she loved and served" (104). Felicite does not take for granted the love she develops in her life; she enjoys every moment she shares with each person she loves. Felicite always stays strong and begins to look for love again. Because of Felicite's need to love, she develops deep emotional attachments to a young man, Madame Aubain and her two children, to her own nephew, and to her parrot.

At a fair in Colleville, a nearby town, Felicite meets a young man; his name is Theodore. As Theodore is smoking his pipe, he approaches Felicite and asks her to dance. Feeling insecure about herself, Felicite accepts the offer. Theodore then makes sexual advances which causes Felicite to become frightened and want to run away. Robert T. Denomme explains, "In her insecurity, Felicite accepts Theodore's invitation to dance with him but is rudely shaken when she must resist his crude overtures"(576). Both Theodore and Felicite then depart never thinking to run into each other again. Later on, Felicite encounters Theodore again while she passes a wagon full of hay on the way to Beaumont. They begin a romance and meet often at their meeting place. The romance involves Theodore's passionate gestures and her consistent refusals. Theodore then proposes to marry...