Sarah Pierce: I think I understand your feelings about this book. I used to have some problems with it, myself. When I read it in grad school, Madam Bovary just seemed like a fool. She marries the wrong man; makes one foolish mistake after another; but when I read it this time, I just fell in love with her. She’s trapped! She has a choice: she can either accept a life of misery or she can struggle against it. And she chooses to struggle.
Mary Ann: Some struggle. Hop into bed with every guy who says hello.
Sarah Pierce: She fails in the end, but there’s something beautiful and even heroic in her rebellion. My professors would kill me for even thinking this, but in her own strange way, Emma Bovary is a feminist.
Mary Ann: Oh, that’s nice. So now cheating on your husband makes you a feminist?
Sarah Pierce: No, no, it’s not the cheating. It’s the hunger. The hunger for an alternative, and the refusal to accept a life of unhappiness.
Mary Ann: Maybe I didn’t understand the book! She just looks so pathetic.