BovaryTiffany M. Little
Loss of Objectivity
Loss of objectivity is a personality trait of someone who has grown out of childhood yet has not matured emotionally in order to recognize other peoples wants and desires. A person without objectivity functions much like a child. They are able to let their imaginations run wild and function without regard to the consequences of actions. Madame Bovary and Miss. Jean Brodie are two characters who are unable to mature emotionally and therefore are without objectivity. It is much like they are too big children with the power to hurt others around them who expect them to be objective. In society, a degree of objectivity is needed to function properly. Objectivity is also needed to realize that happiness in not won by using other people, but my corroborating with them. Madame Bovary and Miss Jean Brodie are unable to see past their private inside world of fairytale dreams in order to leave peacefully with other people.
Emma Bovary, like Jean Brodie, is the definition of a person without objectivity. Emma harbors idealistic and romantic illusions. She lives to desire, and she desires sophistication, sensuality, and passion, and when she is unable to achieve her desires, she lapses into fits of extreme boredom and depression. Evidence of Emmas lack of objectivity appeared at the beginning of the movie when she marries Dr. Bovary even though she know nothing about him, and marries him because it seems romantic. This does not satisfy her because she soon realizes that her marriage is anything but a romance novel, but is a practical.
Although Emmas husband is pleases with their marriage and to the outside world Emma should be happy, she is disappointed and board. Emma feels dissatisfied by her new life, because, due to her inability to get past childhood expectations, she always expected marriage to lead her to romantic bliss; instead, she feels that her life has fallen short of the high expectations she received from books. Her marriage does not match her naively romantic expectations, and she lapses into a state of boredom and restlessness. After some time as Madame Bovary, Emma becomes pregnant, and in an attempt to revive her ill health her husband gives up everything he has and moves to a new town. However Emma does not see the sacrifice that he has made, but only sees where he has fallen short of her high expectations.
When the Bovaries move to this new town, Emma meets a young man name Leon. Although Leon and Emma do not have an affair, she romanticizes the relationship and the tragedy of her marriage. Later, Emma gives birth to a daughter, Berthe, but this does not raise her spirits. Although her husband lavishes affection on her, she does not give one thought to him or the fact that she is now a mother, but instead pretends it never happened and continues with her self-fulfilling acts. She is still infatuated with Leon, but her infatuation and survival through her fantasies about him end when he goes to Paris, and Emma is left in a deep depression. With Leons departure, Emma refocuses her attention on being high class and sophisticated, which leads to her further contempt towards her husband even though he worshiped her and did everything in his power to please her.
Emma finally seems happy when she meet Rodolphe, a sophisticated landowner and experienced lover. She begins an affair with Rodolphe, and for a time is very happy. During this affair, Emma begins to recklessly spend her husbands money with no regard to his feelings or wellbeing. When she plans to run off with Rodolphe, he even has to remind her that she has a daughter. She was so caught up in her fantasy affair that she completely forgot about her husband and daughter, and was not concerned with either of their emotions. However when her plans to run off with Rodolphe fails, she develops a serious illness, which seemed to be her attempt of dying of a broken heart.
During her illness, her husband Charles takes care of her and their child. He never leaves her side, and when she is finally well, spends all his saving to buy her a dress and take her to a real opera. Emma does not care that her husband has spent all of his time and money on her, but instead still resents his simple nature. While out of town, Charles and Emma run into Leon and Emma starts another affair. In order to maintain the affair, Emma tricks Charles into giving her power of attorney so she can fund her lavish second life. The sadness thing is that Charles loves her so much and does everything because he loves her and all the time she is off leading a fantasy life through her affairs and spending all his money.
The movie finally ends when Emma is forced to face reality, yet she still refuses to see what is in front of her and to act without self-fulfilling motives. Because she so recklessly spends her husbands money, they sink into debt and creditors seek payment from the Bovaries no matter how they get it. Because Emma is not able find the money and she refuses to live in debt, she swallows a handful of poison. By committing suicide, Emma proves the extent of her lack of objectivity. She does not care about her husband or her daughters well being or how it will effect them when she dies; instead all she thinks about is dying romantically and escaping the humility of debt.
The other character that we studied that completely lacked objectivity, was Jean Brodie. One can first see that Miss Brodie is lacking the characteristic of objectivity when reviewing her past. Miss Brodies past was full of romance and adventure. She told her students that she spent her summers on trips to foreign countries where she experienced many lovers and people. Some of her stories included tales of trips to Egypt and the way they treated their skin, to the Frenchman she met on a train, to the beautiful paintings she saw in Italy and her experiences with Hitler and Mussolini. Miss Brodie told many stories of her romance with a man named Hugh, who was the love of her life, and how, like a story from a romance novel, he died during the war before they could get married. Her tragic lover and his death leave the impression of a woman done wrong and take away the element of rejection and failure normally associated with a failed relationship. Miss Brodie also told the story of Willie Brodie who “was a keeper of two mistresses who bore him five children between them” and “was a night burglar only for the sake of danger in it.”
Because of the romantic, idealistic and self-lifting nature of these stories, one might question the credibility of these stories. Even thought he extreme romance and tragedy makes these stories unrealistic, Miss Brodie lives her life by this standards and disregards all other people and reproductions in order to keep the romantic lifestyle alive. The stories, although unrealistic, were very affective in capturing the young girls attention, which is most likely what they were designed for. These stories magnified the power Miss Brodie had over her set of girls.
One of the strongest proofs of Miss Brodies lack of objectivity, and therefore disregard for others and responsibility, is her methods of teaching. Miss Brodie taught in a very fascist way and took her teachings from Hitler and Mussolinis examples. The line that struck me the most in the entire book is when Miss Brodie commented, ” Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life.” This shows her form of dictatorship, which is similar to how Hitler and Mussolini ruled. Hitler wanted young men who he could give thoughts and ideals to at a young age, and Miss Brodie did the same, and like Hitler, she did not realize how her actions were effecting her student and sent girls out into the world with misguided ideas and purposes. Her opinion was to her the only right opinion, she saw everyone as wrong and therefore she could do no wrong in her eyes, so she had no limits or responsibilities. Her pupils were forced to think and act as she did, and their own opinions and ideas were considered wrong if they differed from hers.
In Miss Brodies class she chose a favorite group later know as ” The Brodie set”. This can also be related to Hitlers idea of Arian Race. They were a select group among the world, just as the Brodie Set was a select group among the class. This again shows how she used a fascist way of teaching. Miss Brodie taught in such a way that her “set” would think that they were privileged to have her as a teacher. At their young age, the girls were nave and did not realize that they were being brainwashed.
The main example of Miss Brodies lack of concern for her actions and for her students is apparent in the tragic death of Joyce Emily. Miss Brodie took Joyce Emily, who wanted more than anything to apart of Miss Brodies group did, and talked her into going to fight in the war. Not only did Miss Brodie sent an incapable girl to fight in war which she was sure to die in, Miss Brodie sent her to fight on the opposite side that she was for. When Joyce Emily dies, Miss Brodie did not think twice about her part in this childs death, and did not even acknowledge that she had been there and gone.
Miss Brodie did not only disrupt her students life, but she branched out to include the art and music teachers as well. Because she was unable to have a significant relationship with the art teacher, Miss Brodie formed a relationship with the music teacher even though she was really in love with the art teacher. She did not care about the music teachers feelings or that she was using him to fulfill her need of a relationship. Not only did she hurt the music teacher with her games when she had no real feelings for him, but she also included the art teacher and her girls in her scheme to fulfill her relationship with the art teacher. Although morally wrong and emotionally damaging to her girls, Miss Brodie encouraged her girls to have an affair with their former art teacher so that in some way she could be a part of his life. Because she completely overstepped her boundaries and put both the girls and the art teacher in morally and legally wrong situation for her own benefit and did not recognize the trauma and the responsibility her actions carried, Miss Brodie continued to be completely self-centered and without objectivity.
Although Miss Jean Brodie and Madame Bovary seem to be very different women, they actually share the character trait of lack of objectivity. Although Madame Bovary is more romantic and tries more to live a fantasy life, like Miss Jean Brodie she ignores the people around her that she is hurting and does nothing for them but only acts out of self-satisfying notions. Miss Brodies main effect of objectivity was the reckless use of teaching to influence the minds of young girls and to push her ideas and ways onto them even though they were harmful.
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