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Christianity: From realism to modernism

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  1. Introduction
  2. The story A Simple Heart
    1. A man avoiding joining the military
    2. The fact that a person has only a stuffed parrot to love her
    3. Felicite's strong Catholic faith
  3. Gustave Flaubert's purpose for A Simple Heart
  4. The tale The Legend of Saint Julian Hospitator
    1. Prophesies which foreshadow the tale
    2. Julian's life
    3. Feeling Julian's struggles
  5. Flaubert's great story of redemption
  6. Conclusion

The aspect of Christianity is often a theme that is woven into literature. Lessons about the power of God and the miracles of Jesus Christ provide evidence for readers of the importance of God in a person's life. One specific author, Gustave Flaubert, wrote three short stories, ?A Simple Heart,? ?St. Julian the Hospitator,? and ?Herodias.? All together, he titled them, Three Tales. Each of these stories is written in a different and unique way, but all portray a message about the reward that the Holy Spirit provides good people at the end of their lives. During the time Flaubert was creating these tales, he seemed to be experiencing a ?tough time,' and he himself may have needed to look to God in order to provide him with resolve for his problems. As a result, these tales relate to Flaubert's life and hold a special meaning for him, as did many of his writings.

[...] As a young woman, Felicite was proposed to by a man, who disappeared from her suddenly and was found to have married an old woman; aiding him in not being drafted into the military. Felicite was devastated, the reader is told, although Felicite herself never acknowledges her feelings. Flaubert writes, her distress was unbounded? (Flaubert, 6). She then began the rest of her life, working as a maid and cook for Madame Aubain and her two young children. Because Felicite did not have any family of her own, she loved and served this family as if they were her relatives. [...]

[...] The leper turned out to be Jesus himself and subsequently he ascended with Julian, the saint, to heaven. Julian's virtues of diligence in the face of the mortal storm, patience with the leper's request, and kindness in helping a leper with no money to offer were finally able to outweigh his sins. The prophesies had come full circle and Flaubert's new definition of ?greatness? was realized with Julian the sinner and saint. Flaubert created this story much differently than the first. [...]

[...] He was attempting to write outside of his boundaries; to reach a new audience that may appreciate his work, when his previous novels had not been openly accepted. Flaubert was known as a writer who connected with his characters and always added a piece of himself to his novels. He devoted the same amount of effort to Three Tales. In Simple Heart? Flaubert writes with perspective of a narrator who is distantly in the third person limited. He describes the sad tale of Felicite's life, but does not describe her inner feelings or the sense of abandonment that she may feel inside. [...]

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