A Sentimental Education – post III

Now Frederic has money his horizons are broader but he is still in love with Madame Arnoux and is getting ever closer to prising her apart from her adulterous husband who is running into severe financial problems. The problem for Frederic is that you sense that while others are making up their minds over which side they stand on in the revolutionary movement and in terms of their lives he is still like a child looking in the toy shop window not yet ready to choose.

Flaubert uses the growing tension between the industrialised masses and the aristocratic royalists as a background with some characters involved with it heavily and others like Frederic skating the surface. It is a useful device not only for grounding the novel in a period but also for giving some of the minor characters more substance as they discuss the issues of the day.

Bullet points between pages 120 – 200

* Frederic starts to move in more elevated circles and as a result comes across Arnoux’s mistress and the characters that frequent a small circle of lovers and spurned hangers on who all follow each other round the Paris social scene

* Meanwhile Madame Arnoux is starting to suspect not just that her husband is having another affair but that he is keeping money problems secret from her and she is increasingly unable to hide her concerns from the ever present Frederic and uses him as a confidant spying on her husband

* After an argument Frederic witnesses Arnoux tells his wife that the woman she suspects of being his mistress is in fact Frederic’s and then asks the young man to lie to protect him, something he in fact refuses to do and goes as far as to deny it all to Madame Arnoux

* Frederic has tried to impress his friends with a house warming party but he receives nothing but sneers and jealously and his childhood friend Deslauriers keeps trying to get money out of him to launch a political newspaper

* When Frederic finally gets the money Arnoux is in desperate straits but because his wife asks Frederic to help them he does although it starts to become clear he will never get his money back

More of the continuing drama tomorrow when Frederic might just be able to take his relationships with friends and women to the next level, getting rid of those holding him back and embracing those who can offer love…

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