Emma’s despair after the first disillusion of marriage echoes Flaubert’s shortly before he started work on the novel. In part one, chapter nine, Emma abandons her former pastimes and hobbies, because “What was the good?” (p. 61). Writing to his friend Louis Bouilhet, Flaubert at age twenty-nine is plagued by the same question: “From the past I go dreaming into the future, where I see nothing, nothing. . Something–the eternal ‘what’s the point?’ sets its bronze barrier across every avenue that I open” ( Flaubert in Egypt ).