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Written by Bridget Clayton
Mme. Aubain is the bourgeois widow that takes Felicite as a servant. She is cold and stern, and will not let Felicite become too familiar with her children. She has an image to preserve, and the fact that she has hard-working Felicite for a maid makes her envied by other bourgeois ladies.
Felicite is the main character of A Simple Heart. Orphaned as a child, she goes to work at a farm. There, she is wrongly accused of theft, and runs away to another farm. While working at this second farm, she finds her "love", Theodore, although what Felicite really craves is the chance of advancement in life. When Theodore abandons her for someone else, she goes to work for Mme. Aubain, where she stays for the rest of her life. While at Mme. Aubain's, she is content in caring for the two children, Paul and Virginia. She is completely selfless and thinks only of her mistress and the children. She experiences some religion while caring for Virginia, and also learns a little from Paul. These new experiences do not override her ignorance about the world, however, and the simple nature of her mind is extremely evident. She does not comprehend metaphysical subjects such as religion, or how large the world is. The only education she ever received that had a great effect on her was her time learning about animals on the two farms. Felicite encounters several deaths that greatly affect her simple mind. These deaths weaken her both physically and mentally, until she finally confuses her pet parrot Loulou with the Holy Spirit, then later sees his image in the gates of heaven at her death.
The daughter of Mme. Aubain who Felicite accompanies to religious services. She dies at a young age, away from home. Felicite goes to the cemetery in place of Mme. Aubain who finds the task too difficult.
The son of Mme. Aubain who ends up a deadbeat, then later a greedy businessman.
The nephew of the long-lost sister of Felicite. Victor's parents try to use Felicite to get to Mme. Aubain's wealth. For Victor and Felicite, the two have a mutual, simple relationship. When Victor goes to Havana, Felicite worries for him. She believes that if it is raining at Mme. Aubain's that is must also be raining where Victor is. When Victor dies on his journey, another little piece of Felicite is shattered.
The pet parrot of Felicite who acts as a pet, lover, and son all at once. After all the losses that Felicite has experienced, Loulou simply fills in, making the relationship between the bird and its owner questionable. The incestuous theme is undeniable, but Loulou's role also becomes blashphemous when Felicite confuses him with the Holy Spirit.
Felicite's "love" who represents the loss of a chance for a better life. After this loss, the sentimental experiences of Felicite's life are over. She becomes a "femme en bois", or a woman made of wood.
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