Sentimental Education

by: Gustave Flaubert

Important Quotations Explained

1
A man like Deslauriers was worth all the women in the world.

Frédéric renews his affection for his friend Deslauriers after a troubling encounter with Arnoux and some of Arnoux’s acquaintances. Frédéric has been spending a great deal of time at Arnoux’s shop, believing that Madame Arnoux lived above, but Arnoux has just revealed that Madame Arnoux actually lives someplace else. At a bar, Pellerin and Regimbart complain about Arnoux, and Frédéric defends him out of respect for Madame Arnoux. The whole thing tires him, and when he receives a letter from Deslauriers, he is relieved that a true friend will be arriving soon. However, Frédéric’s devotion to his friend is short-lived. Just before Deslauriers arrives, Frédéric is invited to dinner at the Arnouxes’ house, and he abandons his friend without a second thought. The dinner he attends marks his first encounter with Madame Arnoux since he spotted her on the ship when he sailed from Paris to Nogent.

This is not the only time Frédéric devotes himself to Deslauriers only to then leave him for something or someone better, almost always a woman. Deslauriers is Frédéric’s fallback plan, the person he turns to when other people have disappointed him or when he needs encouragement and support. Deslauriers remains loyal to him, even though Frédéric hurts him so often. Later in the novel, however, he will stop being so accommodating and begin exacting his revenge, lying to and betraying Frédéric.