To a new genre – a short story - Flaubert turned on the final stage of his creative path. Among the short stories created by Flaubert belongs to the "A Simple Heart", which was published in 1877. In this work the author again refers to the image of modernity.
The unpretentious, but deeply dramatic in its essence a story of a selfless worker, the daughter from simple people, seems to pick up a problem that was barely outlined in the scene of the awarding of the old cowgirl in "Madame Bovary". As if returning to the episodic character of "Madame Bovary" to the peasant woman Catherine Leroux, Flaubert is now trying to penetrate into the depth of a new national character for him.
Flaubert noticed and captured the phenomenon of alienation of a person in a proprietary society, to which literature will return constantly, especially in the twentieth century. The peasant Felicite is completely alone. The best qualities of her soul, her kindness, purity, selflessness remain misunderstood and unclaimed in an egoistic world indifferent to the spiritual world. Meanwhile this dark ignorant peasant woman turns out with a head above the middle class surrounding her. Felicite waits vaguely and unconsciously for happiness, but she is completely devoid of the selfishness of a bourgeois lady. Life deceives all her hopes that Felicite gullibly reveals her heart, but she can not live without love and stubbornly transfers her attachments to more and more new objects: from the village guy who left her for the sake of marrying a rich woman, to a nephew whose family shamelessly robs her. Then Felicite spreads her feelings to a sick girl, the master's daughter, to the miserable wretched old man whom she selflessly cares for. Gradually the circle of her communication with people is narrowing. The aged woman concentrates her affection for the parrot, and finally on his stuffed animal.
A deep tragedy flows from the figure of an aged maid, all forgotten dragging her last days in a dilapidated house in a society of a moth-eaten stuffed parrot. The image of Felicite grows into a symbol of that alienation, disunity, loneliness that awaits a person in the bourgeois world.
In an effort to truthfully draw the image of her character Flaubert is far from her idealization. Felicite is ignorant, rude - naive, even blunt. Her world is very primitive because it is solely limited to everyday petty worries about people with whom she accidentally linked fate. Felicite does not see the egoism of his masters relying on the authority of the masters in everything. And yet the heroine - the servant - is elevated by the author to a moral height unattainable for the most enlightened and respected in high society bourgeois. In his naive, boundless kindness moral stamina and inner nobility, Felicite has no equal in the world of Flaubert's heroes.