Oh, if I had been loved at the age of seventeen, what an idiot I would be today. Happiness is like smallpox: if you catch it too soon, it can completely ruin your constitution.

Gustave Flaubert


The Quote in Other Words

If I had received love when I was seventeen, I would have been foolish now. Obtaining happiness too early is similar to contracting smallpox, as it can devastate your overall well-being.


Explanation of the Quote

This quote speaks to the idea that experiencing love at a young age can have negative consequences on one’s personal growth and development. The speaker suggests that if they had been loved at the age of seventeen, they would be an “idiot” today. This could be interpreted as a lack of independence or a stunted emotional maturity caused by an early attachment.

The comparison to smallpox suggests that happiness, like a disease, can be harmful if contracted too early. It can weaken one’s constitution and make them vulnerable to future hardships. This could be seen as a warning against seeking happiness too soon in life, as it may lead to a lack of resilience and an inability to cope with challenges.

Overall, this quote highlights the importance of personal growth and development before seeking out romantic relationships. It suggests that experiencing love too early can have negative consequences on one’s emotional and mental wellbeing.