This article discusses using Madame Bovary in the critical reading classroom. Madame Bovary is one of many texts assigned in Unruly Women and Iron Men, the author’s course introducing first-year students to college-level academic study with emphasis on critical reading and discussion. In the course students examine relationships between men and women at home, in the workplace, and in the media while honing their skills of comprehension, summary, synthesis, and engagement. Semester after semester the author found that Flaubert’s nineteenth-century French work appealed to students, especially to male students, who liked it and talked about it, often without prompting. The article details several pedagogical strategies using Madame Bovary to develop students’ critical reading and help them understand the still very contemporary issues at the heart of Flaubert’s novel.

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