Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Comparative Literature

First Advisor

Alexandre Bonafos


The imagery in Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert is crucial to the structure of the novel due to Flaubert’s insistence on observations of le quotidien or daily life. Daily activities, mundane tasks, and precise descriptions take as much precedence within the chapters as the actions of Emma herself, putting focus on the importance of these activities as readers try to discern meaning from their inclusion. One such daily activity that features in many scenes and varies widely is the presence of food within the novel. As Lilian Furst, Jean-Pierre Richard, and Victor Brombert observed in their analyses of Madame Bovary, food plays a distinct role within the novel for varied reasons, though in this essay, I will be arguing that its primary role is to indicate class structure and reinforce Emma’s on fraught position within her petite bourgeoisie class through the use of semiotics.


© 2022, Lauren Flinner