Discussion Questions 12 — Flaubert; Baudelaire; Rimbaud; Tagore; Yeats


  1. Is Felicite a saint or a simple-minded servant? Or is she both? Or is she neither? Outline your perspective of her character as compared to Mme. Aubain’s. How do they differ?

Felicite was simply a good person. Though she seeked to know God and learn more about him, I wouldn’t consider her a saint as much as I would say she fits a simple minded servant more so. Felicite experienced her share of hardships at a young age. Ranging from losing her parents at a young age, to being beaten by employers for stealing when did not such thing, to falling in love with Theodore and he leaves her for an older wealthier women. She remained a great housekeeper and a kindhearted servant.

Mme. Aubain is a middle class widow who seemed to have experienced her share of unfortunate events as well. But she seems very calm and collected and made choices based on what she felt was the right thing to do ranging from sending both children away to school and downsizing houses and managing her way through debt. Her imagination and dreaming does is not like wise as Felicite who dreams as a child would.

  1. How are women imagined and characterized in the poems you read? What attitude is implied? Is it dual or contradictory? Does Baudelaire give similar weight to the description of men? What definitions of womanliness are depicted, affirmed, or criticized in his work?

They are talked as if it is women’s fault for sin and the causing of such unrighteousness in the world. The stories told by Baudelaire are negative and disturbing. He begins with describing how beautiful women are then leads off in a totally different direction as shown in the poem A Carcass. I’m not sure how to understand Baudelaire’s take on women but he certainly has some sort of disliking towards women that he does  not  share that with men.

  1. How are Chidam and Chandara distinct from Rama and Sita?

Chidam and Chandara are selfish and are out to save their own butts. As for Rama and Sita looked for ways to serve and follow under Dharma. Chidam came up with a lie to try and save his brother from the mess he got himself in which ends up dragging his own wife into the situation. But Chidam’s wife was strong and willing to teach her husband a lesson. Chidam and Chandara did not pay attention to what was the morally right thing to do but what they wanted most was to save their own butts.

  1. Pick a Yeat’s poem and discuss what it communicates to you and why.

I had a better understanding of the poem When You Are Old than I did with the other poems. This poem described to me an older lady sitting by the fire reading a book, and as she glimpses up from her book she thinks to herself how fast life went by and she remembers the moments of great grace that she shared with her loved one and how fast those moments of love flew by. I figure one day I will be old too looking up from my book and thinking to myself “well shoot, where did life go?’ and I will most likely ponder those moments of good grace to myself again as well.

2 thoughts on “Discussion Questions 12 — Flaubert; Baudelaire; Rimbaud; Tagore; Yeats

  1. sharissewatkins

    Ha-ha, that is what I do now when I look at my son. I look at my son and think about the days when I was his age and can’t help but to think, “That was the life..shoot, no responsibilities” and then I look at my parents and they probably look at me and say the same thing. I remember when my parents were young and could keep up with us, and now the roles have changed. Poems about aging should strike everyone because everyone…will grow old at some point. It just comes down to if you are happy with the decisions you have made or not.

  2. kjs93

    I don’t agree that Chandara was out to save herself. I think that is fairly clear in the fact that she went to her death. Whether or not it was for selfish reasons, however, I would be more willing to argue.

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