Saturday, March 3, 2012


Madame Bovary is a novel by Gustave Flaubert that was attacked for obscenity by public prosecutors when it was first serialised in La Revue de Paris between 1 October 1856 and 15 December 1856, resulting in a trial in January 1857 that made it notorious. After the acquittal on 7 February, it became a bestseller in book form in April 1857, and is now seen as one of the first modern realistic novels.

The literary classic Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert, tells the story of a woman who is bored with her husband, bored with her fellow townspeople, and, in general, bored with her life. Her days are too tedious and predictable, and she is filled with romantic, idealistic fantasies. In order to escape from boredom, she enters into two love affair, both of them disastrous. In the end, she commits suicide by taking arsenic. First published in 1857, Madame Bovary illustrates that boredom is no newcomer to the human race as a psychological problem.

The novel, Madame Bovary, focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. Though the basic plot is rather simple, even archetypal, the novel's true art lies in its details and hidden patterns. Flaubert was notoriously perfectionistic about his writing and claimed to always be searching for le mot juste (the right word).
Boredom is an unpleasant mental and emotional state characterized by discontent and lack of interest. Physiological arousal is low -- any sense of excitement is completely absent.

A distinction can be made between situational boredom and chronic boredom. Situational boredom is specific, and everyone has experienced it. Examples are being bored with a classroom lecture, a movie, a book, another person, a long ride without interesting sights, a repetitive task, and so forth. Chronic boredom is general and pervasive. It is the kind that Madame Bovary suffered from. It is pathological and destructive. People who suffer from chronic boredom tend to be bored with significant others in their lives such as partners, parents and their children. They also tend to be bored with their day-to-day routines and their vocations. This second kind of boredom is a sort of psychological cancer that eats away at the heart of one's existence.

Boredom is always boredom with. As already shown, there can be boredom with a lecture, a person, or a situation. Thus, boredom is often perceived as having a source. And the individual is often convinced that if he or she could escape form or avoid the source of boredom, then boredom would go away. Consequently, there is often a lot of blaming associated with boredom. The bored individual thinks,"He bores me," or "She bores me," or "It bores me." The psychological contribution that one makes to one's own boredom is often missed.

Other signs and symptoms of frequently associated with the general symptom of boredom are :

1. Frequent drowsiness
2. The slow passage of time
3. Vanity and self-absorption
4. Listlessness or fatigue
5. Moderate to severe depression
6. Lack of commitment to goals and plans
7. Wishful thinking
8. Preoccupation with romantic or heroic fantasies
9. Vague discontent

Drowsiness or sleep is one way to escape from a boring situation. Situationally bored people might struggle to stay awake during a long lecture on a subject of little personal interest. Chronically bored poeple often sleep 10 to 12 hours a day if they have the opportunity, or they may take frequent naps.

Listlessness or fatigue may be so pronounced that the individual suspects that he or she has an illness. (If there is real reason to believe that an organic problem is present, this should, of course, be evaluated by a physician)

Depression overlaps with boredom, and depression is itself a major psychological symptom. Although they can coexist and do affect each other, they are not identical. It is useful to look upon boredom as a major symptom in itself and to identify it as an important causal factor in depression.

Boredom in and of itself does not call for the prescription of a drug. There is no such thing as anti-boredom medication. However, it is true that there are antidepressant drugs; and if boredom is a secondary complaint associated with a major complaint of depression, then one of these drugs may be prescribed and in turn may be helpful.

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