February 27, 2013
Flaubert’s Travels in Egypt
Although the Orient had a lot to offer, Flaubert seemed to only recognize one major theme, sex. Europe was not nearly as grotesque as Flaubert suggests about the orient, but Egypt definitely had a lot more to offer. As we read Flaubert’ writings to himself, family and friends, sex is always incorporated in one-way or another. As written in Orientalism, by Edward Said, Flaubert says, “Just as the various colonial possessions—quite apart from their economic benefit to metropolitan Europe—were useful as places to send wayward sons, superfluous populations of delinquents, poor people, and other undesirables, so the Orient was a place where one could look for sexual experience unobtainable in Europe.” Basically Flaubert is suggesting that the orient and sex go hand in hand, and that the reason behind all the sex is quality of life. Because Flaubert is narrating this through his own lens, he puts himself in a position of power and exploits his objects of sexual desire and through this exploitation he builds his own construction of what he wants the orient to be. Flaubert’s narratives tell us a great deal of how the orient was viewed, but large sums of his writings were how he perceived things and were biased. He tells us about life in the orient and how sex was an every day commodity. People were acting like animals, and being treated in that way, the culture was uncivilized. Men would fight in the streets, animals would defecate in public, and there was no real order in the country. The French had been colonizing Egypt. All of the French soldiers always wanted to have sex; the Egyptians and Orientals were objects in which they wanted to peruse. The Orientals were viewed as majestic because of their difference from the Europeans. The cloths on their backs, the color of there skin, and shape of there faces, it was all to different from what he was used...
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