Date of Award

Spring 1961

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Modern Foreign Language


Since Flaubert has been called "le chef de l'ecole realiste", an attempt will be made in this thesis to show how he used realism in the treatment of heroines in his novels. The first chapter will be dedicated to realism itself, showing first how the movement began in France in the mid-nineteenth century before Flaubert and Balzac were considered realists, followed by a modern definition and characteristics, such as: truth, materialism, scientific approach, document­ary method, tediousness, mediocrity, sympathy with ordinary life and sociological features.

The other four chapters will be dedicated to Flaubert' s main heroines. Each chapter will have as its title the name of one of Flaubert's novels and will deal with the main heroine of that particular novel.

As is pointed out in this thesis, a realist must discover people he already knows in real life and portray them in novels as they exist rather than recompose them by synthesis. The main purpose of this thesis, therefore, will be to show that Flaubert was a realist because the heroines of his books are people he discovered and not characters which he created.