Sentimental Education Themes

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.
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Wanting What One Cannot Have

At practically every point in Sentimental Education, Frederic wants only the things he cannot have. When he arrives in Paris, he wants to be a lawyer, but this bores him, so he becomes a writer. Frederic wants to use Monsieur Dambreuse as an opportunity for social climbing but does not take him up on his job offer. He is wishy-washy about investment projects, coming up on an opportunity and the backing away. When he conceives of an idea, it seems desirable to him; and when he is about to commit to completing the project he quickly moves to something else.

This is no clearer than in his love life. He pursues Marie, but when she rejects him, he goes after Rosanette. After a short time of happiness with Rosanette, he pursues Madame Dambreuse. Before this, he considered marrying Louise, but constantly puts her off...

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This section contains 800 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sentimental Education Study Guide
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