Jim, the first mate aboard the Patna, dreams youthful dreams of heroism and of the daring act that will prove his courage. But when the ship collides with a mysterious obstacle, Jim panics and jumps free. This single act of cowardice drives him to self-enforced exile.
Emma Bovary and her reviled husband are at breakfast on the morning of Emma's last day alive. As they bicker, scenes from Emma's past are called to mind and played out with all the passion for which Flaubert's novel is famous.