Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews March 6, 2024
February 28, 2024
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
Frédéric travels back to Paris, feeling satisfied with
his life. When he arrives, he goes immediately to find Madame Arnoux,
but Arnoux’s shop is closed up. He tries to find the couple at home,
but he is told they no longer live there. Frédéric inquires at several
shops as well as the police station, but to no avail.
He decides to find Regimbart, certain he’ll know where
the Arnouxes live now. He visits all the cafes where he knows Regimbart
is a regular, but everyone evades his questions and it seems Frédéric
has always just missed him. He eventually finds him, and Regimbart
reveals the Arnouxes’ new address.
Frédéric finally finds the Arnouxes. But when he sees
Madame Arnoux, he is surprised by how little he feels. Arnoux explains
that he is no longer an art dealer—he is now a pottery dealer. Once Frédéric
leaves, he vows not to think of Madame Arnoux anymore.
Frédéric seeks out Deslauriers, who has failed his exams
and is now struggling to get by. Deslauriers is excited about Frédéric’s newfound
fortune, but Frédéric feels reluctant to share it so readily. Deslauriers
reveals that Hussonnet now owns Arnoux’s old art magazine and is
planning to turn it into a political journal. As they spend more
time together, Frédéric warms to Deslauriers once again.
Frédéric buys new clothes and plans to visit the Dambreuses. Instead,
he calls on Arnoux. Madame Arnoux is ill, but Arnoux invites him
to a party at the home of Mademoiselle Rose-Annette Bron, called
Rosanette. Frédéric is surprised by the number of people there,
and he feels uneasy at the merriment, knowing that Madame Arnoux
is at home. But he tries to pull himself together. He runs into
Hussonnet and Pellerin, who point out various notable people at
the party. Rosanette is engaged in conversation with an actor named
Delmar. She also talks to an old man named Monsieur Oudry. Eventually,
Mademoiselle Vatnaz appears, and she talks to Arnoux. They disappear
together briefly, and Frédéric sees Rosanette crying. One woman,
whom Flaubert refers to as “The Sphinx,” coughs up blood, and Frédéric
is overcome with sadness.
The guests begin breaking china over their heads, and
Arnoux remarks cryptically that he expects payment, which suggests
that he had been Rosanette’s lover but isn’t anymore. Champagne
is served; birds from the aviary escape and fly around the room.
When morning comes, guests start to leave. Arnoux and Frédéric leave
together. Frédéric feels the desire for a more luxurious life.
Frédéric buys a home. He considers asking Deslauriers
to live with him but decides he needs to live alone so that he can
be ready to have a mistress. He overspends but does not worry. He
writes to Madame Dambreuse requesting permission to visit, which
Frédéric is overcome by the luxuriousness of the Dambreuses’ home.
However, the talk among the people who are gathered there is trivial
and annoying. Frédéric is impressed by Madame Dambreuse’s appearance
and behavior, and she invites him to return every Wednesday.
Frédéric visits Rosanette, who tells him she will be dining
out that evening. Her hairdresser arrives, and she tells him she
is staying at home. The conversation among her and her servants
bothers Frédéric; it reminds him of the idle talk at the Dambreuses’
home. Mademoiselle Vatnaz arrives, and Frédéric loans her some change. Rosanette
tells Mlle. Vatnaz that she will be going to Alphonsine’s tonight.
Frédéric is confused by her changes in story. She asks him to tell
Arnoux to visit her. Frédéric believes Rosanette will become his mistress
one day, then he immediately thinks of Madame Arnoux.
When he next visits Madame Arnoux, she is sewing. She
asks him questions about his background and career plans and holds
out her hand to him before he leaves. Frédéric feels like this is
a promise of some kind.
Frédéric wants to have a housewarming party, and he invites Hussonnet,
Pellerin, Deslauriers, Senecal, Cisy, and Dussardier. Senecal has
lost his teaching job because of his political views, and he no
longer lives with Deslauriers. The men discuss politics; Senecal
is referred to as the Socialist. Pellerin hints at a scandal Arnoux
is embroiled in, involving a lawsuit about some land. They insult
various aspects of Frédéric’s home, asking him why he has chosen
to decorate as he did and why he doesn’t have certain books. Frédéric gives
Deslauriers some money to repay a debt, and Deslauriers asks for
more to help support Hussonnet’s newspaper, which Frédéric refuses.
When the men leave Frédéric’s, they decide that Frédéric
had been a perfect host, but they idly criticize the lunch and the
décor. Frédéric, alone now, feels distant from his friends. He wonders
if Arnoux is actually in trouble and if Madame Arnoux is okay. He visits
her and tries to find out what’s going on; Arnoux is indeed in some
financial trouble from borrowing against his land. Frédéric promises
Madame Arnoux to help if he can, reassuring her that her problems
Arnoux enters the room and announces he is going to visit Oudry.
Frédéric figures out that Oudry keeps Rosanette. Arnoux begins inviting
Frédéric to Rosanette’s house regularly. Frédéric likes Rosanette’s
energy and excitement, which is much different from the calmness
surrounding Madame Arnoux.
Arnoux does his best to juggle his wife and his mistress.
But Rosanette tires of his antics and complains to Frédéric that
Arnoux never bought her a cashmere shawl he’d promised her. She
also tells Frédéric that Arnoux had forced her to sign a bill made
out to Monsieur Dambreuse.
Frédéric tries to write, but he grows depressed at his
unrequited love of Madame Arnoux. He decides to get Arnoux to hire
Senecal, so Senecal can operate as a kind of spy. Arnoux, who is
trying to build up his new factory, hires him. Frédéric begins championing Rosanette
to Arnoux, trying to get him to spend more time with her so that
Frédéric can spend more time with Madame Arnoux. Arnoux finally
buys Rosanette the cashmere shawl. When Frédéric visits her, he
suspects she is making advances, and he decides to try to make Rosanette
his mistress. She rebuffs him.
Frédéric asks Pellerin to paint a portrait of Rosanette,
and they spend more time together. But still she resists him.
Hussonnet and Deslauriers visit him at home and talk about
their paper. Frédéric relents and gives them some money. Deslauriers complains
that Frédéric has not introduced him to society, but Frédéric knows
Deslauriers is much too shabby.
Frédéric pursues a career in the Council of State, with
Dambreuse’s help. Rosanette ends her relationship with Oudry and makes
what Frédéric interprets as an invitation to take his place. At her
next party, Frédéric wanders from group to group listening to the
conversations and looking at all the women. Dambreuse hints that
he may be willing to get Frédéric a job in business. Filled with confidence,
he tries to visit Rosanette the next evening, but she turns him
away. Mademoiselle Vatnaz sees him go and complains that Delmar
is with her. She tells him secrets about Rosanette’s romantic and
Frédéric visits the Arnouxes, who are in the middle of
an argument. Madame Arnoux is accusing Arnoux of having an affair—she learned
of his purchase of the shawl. Arnoux leaves, and Frédéric tries
to comfort her. He feels connected to her. When Arnoux returns,
he reassures him, too, that everything will be okay.
Flaubert does not always fully explain the nature of the
friendships and romantic relationships surrounding Frédéric, and
this vagueness emphasizes that Frédéric is still an outsider in
this world of high society. When Arnoux takes him to a party at
Rosanette, Frédéric finds himself in a world of confusing liaisons.
He meets Rosanette, Oudry, and Delmar; he once again sees Mademoiselle
Vatnaz; hints are made about Arnoux’s involvement with Rosanette;
and Rosanette, for some reason, winds up in tears. Although these
relationships become clearer as the novel progresses, Frédéric’s
first exposure to them is convoluted, secretive, and fraught. He
does his best to keep up, but he is just as confused as we are about
who’s sleeping with whom, who knows what, and what his position
actually is in all this. He is an outsider, but as he learns more,
he gains a certain privilege from his outsider status, as people
feel safe telling him their secrets.
Madame Arnoux and Rosanette, Frédéric’s two romantic obsessions,
are vastly different types of women. Madame Arnoux is almost always
portrayed in a warm, domestic setting. She is often sitting by a
fire when Frédéric arrives, she is nearly always sewing, and she
frequently has a child in her lap. Frédéric thinks her movements
have a peaceful grace. This image of a comfortable, calm, matronly
woman contrasts with the fiery Rosanette, who, far from engaging
in family life, throws parties and acts with a wildness that stuns
and excites Frédéric. The two women are almost complete opposites,
but both Arnoux and Frédéric are attracted to them both. Each woman
seems to fulfill a different need: Madame Arnoux satisfies the desire
for safety and comfort, while Rosanette satisfies more primal, sexual
desires. Arnoux, more worldly than Frédéric, surely understands
the attraction of his mistress. But Frédéric seems to copy Arnoux’s
affections without much or any critical thought about why each woman
is remarkable or why each is appealing.
The role of art changes significantly for Arnoux, Hussonnet,
Pellerin, and Frédéric. Arnoux gives up his art dealership for the
pottery trade, which sets him on a different, perhaps scandalous
or ruinous course. He tells Frédéric that great art is no longer
fashionable and claims that his factory itself is a form of beauty.
Arnoux’s art magazine, meanwhile, has been appropriated by Hussonnet
to use for political purposes. Pellerin embraces his painting, but
he has given up on beauty and focuses instead on variety. The idea
of pure beauty is no longer a consideration. Frédéric exploits Pellerin’s
artistic talents for his own agenda, employing him to paint Rosanette’s portrait
so he can spend more time with her. Here, too, beauty is not the
purpose of this artistic endeavor; the art is being used toward some
other goal. As Frédéric becomes more involved in society and pursues
various women, career paths, and connections, the role of art gets
muddled and bastardized, just as his own values and beliefs fade
as he tries to become more like his new acquaintances.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Sentimental Education!