She comes upon her faith by chance, by the simple accident of being required to accompany her young charge to her religion classes. In this realistic nouvelle about the disappointments and bereavements of a self-sacrificing, simple-hearted servant girl from Normandy, Flaubert has certainly not given up the pessimism which found such bitter expressions in Madame Bovary.
The identification of Christ as a lamb leads her to associate that identification with real-life lambs, and she loves them more as a result.
The Catholic Church in Nineteenth-Century France Although the Roman Catholic Church enjoyed a strong position in France in the nineteenth century, its mandates were challenged by positivist philosophy. Worms, an unpleasantly realistic symbol of decay, play an important part in the narrative.
Solace comes to her with the delivery of the newly stuffed parrot. The best thing that can be said about Felicite is that she in fact does have a simple heart. The highly suggestive passages describing the rooms inhabited by Mme Aubain and the servant convey with effective symbolism the opposing attitudes of immobility and activity, passive resignation and active resistance.
The related themes of time as erosive, of loss as inevitable, become one theme as her death approaches.