Nadja Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What story does Breton relate about Victor Hugo?

Breton relates how every day for years, Victor Hugo would travel down the same road with his mistress Juliette, and every time they passed a huge estate, Hugo would point to the biggest gate and say, "bridal gate, madame." Juliette would then point to the smallest gate and say, "pedestrian gate, monsieur". Hugo would finish their ritual by pointing to two trees and saying "Philemon and Baucis." In return Juliet would say nothing.

2. What does Breton think Hugo's ritual says about him as a person?

Breton thinks that the two gates symbolize both Hugo's strength and weakness. Though he is unsure which represent which, he says that the ritual gives him a sense of proportion about the writer, helping him to understand his work far better than any critical analysis.

3. Why does Breton say he admires Flaubert?

Breton says he admires Flaubert in two of his works; "Salammbo" and "Madame Bovary". In "Salammbo" he only wanted to give the impression of the color yellow; and in his work "Madame Bovary" he wanted to do something that had the color of moldy wood.

(read all 60 Short Essay Questions and Answers)

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