The theme of escape figures into the “Kugelmass Episode” in several distinct ways. Starting with the characters Kugelmass and Emma, who are both figuratively and literally escaping their current realities. Both Kugelmass and Emma feel as if they are unhappy due to a lack of options, and being selfish characters they pursued escape. This option is never actually a solution, avoiding problems has not and could not solve their dilemma. The one voice of reason in this book is Dr. Mandel, states what the readers already know, “An affair will solve nothing. You are so unrealistic. Your problems run much deeper.” To work on fixing their marriages or divorce and move on with their lives would be the right decision, but like most human decisions the characters choose destruction. The initial interaction, sets the tone for a looming conflict. We probably all guessed that Kugelmass would most likely end up ignoring the warning to his own downfall, and the story did not fail to deliver.
The most difficult part of the story is understanding how Pesky came into the picture. For example, the plot does not actually describe Kugelmass searching for a magician. Kugelmass did not know Pesky even questioned who he was.
“Persky. Or should I say The Great Persky?”
The tone of the initial conversation between Persky and Kugelmass is what allows the reader to assume Kugelmass had been seeking out help until he could achieve his goal of cheating on his wife. Otherwise, we as readers would have to ask ourselves if the interaction is in fact real or a figment of Kugelmass’s imagination. Both of these possibilities would initially serve as a sufficient escape from what Kugelmass perceives as his problem. The only issue would be that if the reader knows the events are in Kugelmass’s mind, it would not be as exciting a story. This is because anyone can make up a story, but if this was happening in real life readers would be intrigued. We can step back and wonder what it would be like in our lives to have a transport to another reality.
“At the same moment, he appeared in the bedroom of Charles and Emma Bovary’s house at Yonville,” descriptions like this help separate settings. This is apparent because we already know that the house in Yonville is a made up setting from a book. Descriptions of imagery like this is critical for readers when blending two different worlds in our minds.. This distinction of worlds quickly fades as Emma is taken from the book, ensuring readers will find it difficult to separate the story from the book setting she is from. I interpreted this as a display by the author to show the continuing of Kugelmass to blur right and wrong.
Escape did not solve the original issue of being unhappy with his marriage. While Kugelmass only avoided his original problem, he created new problems. Persky is dead and he is now trapped in what he thinks is an escape. The worst part of the situation is that Kugelmass does not yet realize he is trapped. The resolution of the story is that escape is not a solution. That even being involved in shady dealings can lead to more problems, even death.