Sentimental Education Setting & Symbolism

Gustave Flaubert and Mary Ruefle
This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Sentimental Education.
This section contains 383 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)


The site of the book's major events and the revolutionary overthrow of the French monarchy.


Frederic's hometown, where he often retreats due to conflicts in the book. His mother, Roque and Louise all live there.


A French town that the Arnoux's retreat to after financial devastation.

Law School

Frederic begins his days in Paris at law school with Charles; he meets Martinon and Dussardier through his experiences there.

Frederic's Mansion

When Frederic returns to Paris a wealthy man, he buys a mansion where he entertains.

Barthelemy's Inheritance

The grand sum of money Frederic's uncle left to him; this money allows Frederic to enter Parisian high society.

Rosanette's Son

Rosanette and Frederic have a child that dies not long after he is born.

Monsieur Dambreuse's Fortune

Monsieur Dambreuse was a rich man. Frederic planned to marry his wife in order to inherit his fortune, but Monsieur left it to his illegitimate daughter Cecile.

A Parasol

In an awkward meeting with Jacques, Frederic accidentally breaks this object. He believed it to be Marie's and replaced it by giving another to her as a gift. It was in fact the parasol of one of Jacques's lovers, so the parasol leads to Marie uncovering Jacques's affairs and bringing her closer to Frederic.

Guest Parties

Much of the book occurs at guest parties throughout French high society.

The Revolution of 1848

During the book the French monarchy is overthrown and replaced by a democratic government that leaves many unsatisfied and disappointed.

The General Assembly

The democratic governing body of the second French republic.

The Monarchy of King Phillipe

The monarchy that preceded the revolution.

The Calf's Head

The name of a French secret society of revolutionaries.

Rosanette's Portrait

A painting Frederic commissions Pellerin to create. When no one will pay for it, Pellerin uses it to humiliate Frederic

Madame Marie Arnoux's White Hair

At the end of the book, Marie returns to see Frederic. When she reveals her white hair to him, he loses interest.

Jacques' Factory

A dilapidated factory that Jacques acquired. It plays a role in forcing the Arnoux's into bankruptcy.


The book is suffused with debts that members of the French elites owe one another. Many of the book's central conflicts involve debt collection or borrowing large sums of money.

This section contains 383 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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