Guy De Maupassant Original Short Stories Vol. 2 Book Review

In this volume, the genius along with wit of Guy De Maupassant as a great storyteller comes out brilliantly and magnificently. Unlike Boule de Suif (Ball of Fat), which the plots of the stories are set in a time of war between the French and the Prussians, and explore chiefly the idea of war, this collection explores diverse themes including war, love, marriage, death, betrayal, inhumanity, sloth, greed, along with other topics.download

The book is made up of eleven stories namely: The Colonel’s Ideas; Mother Sauvage; Epiphany; The Moustache; Madame Baptiste; The Question of Latin; A Meeting; The Blind Man; Indiscretion; A Family Affair, and Beside Schopenhauer’s Corpse. The plot of the stories are set in different places in and about France, and the author ingeniously develops the stories paying fanatical details to the very simple things about life, thus making his stories vivid in description, design, and characterization bringing out pure realism at its best.

Maupassant has managed to develop his characters extensively, making him a master crafter of short stories. Through his work, we are exposed to the ennui of the working class in France; the miserly of the wretched poor peasants, who live parsimonious lives; the upheavals of marriage that lead to a life of desolation and pain; the challenges of the crippled, who are trampled on and made a fool of by the society therefore leading to their demise; the pain of the dying, as well as the position of the self.

Brief overview of Guy De Maupassant Original Short Stories Vol. 2 Book Reviewimages

 The Colonel’s Ideas

A group of French soldiers are retreating from a war with Prussians at night determined to reach to Bar-sur-Tain, which is ten leagues away, before the morning light strikes. The night is cold, dark, and frosty. The soldiers are hungry, tired, and wounded from the battle. The men are stiff from cold and hunger, and can barely able to walk. However, Colonel Laporte driven by the idea of the purity, chasteness, and beauty of a woman holds a gun to their heads, and threatens to shoot any soldier who does not walk in the frozen snowy ground.

 

At length the soldiers walk until they meet up with an old man in company of his pretty daughter. Upon the sight of this girl, their strength is renewed and all of them including the old man and his daughter continue on with the journey in the freezing snow falling night. After walking for some distance, the young girl becomes so tired, that the already hungry and tired soldiers are inclined to carry her for the rest of the journey, until they meet up with a group of Prussians on horses, whom they shoot dead. They carry on with the journey until they reach Bar-sur-Tain, with the idea of a women pushing them all through.images (1)

 Mother Sauvage

Mother Sauvage lives alone in a house near the edge of the forest, far off from the village of Virelogne after her son Sauvage leaving for the war. She is a window having lost her husband at war. She goes to the village once in awhile to buy food, wearing a forlorn face hardly talking to anyone.

One day four Prussian soldiers come to the village, and each house is stationed different men, to which Mother Sauvage is given four soldiers, for she is believed to be rich. She hosts the four men, and together they live like a mother with her four sons, cooking for them, and they helping her to do various chores in the house.

Their lives are happy and full of love, until one day Mother Sauvage receives a letter of her son’s death in the war between the French and the Prussians. She suffers immensely, but she does not show off her grief to the soldiers, who come in the evening with a rabbit for dinner. The old woman cooks the rabbit, but does not eat a thing. She prepares the beddings for the soldiers and when they are soundly asleep; she moves out of the cottage and sets it on fire. All the four soldiers die. When the villages, plus the other Prussian soldiers come to inquire what has happened, Mother Sauvage confesses her crime. She is thrown against the wall and shot. The bullets cut her into two as she sinks into the abyss of death.

Themes of Love, Women, and Death in Guy De Maupassant Original Short Stories Vol. 2 Book Review

In the story of The Colonel’s Ideas, the woman is depicted as the giver of strength, hope, and the restorer of faith. She is the supreme reason why men must strive to conquer adversities, especially if she is beautiful. Colonel Laporte in the beginning of the story says how if a pretty woman was to tell him to do the improbable, he would certainly do it. He further adds that when they stumbled onto the old man with his beautiful daughter, strength, courage, and passion to move on overcame him along with his men.images (2)

 

Guy De Maupassant portrays Woman as the source of happiness for men. In Epiphany, Marchas advices Count de Garens; the army captain to go look for beautiful women, so that their Epiphany dinner can be complete. He goes to a lot of trouble to get the women to come for the dinner, but he is disappointed when the Priest comes with old women, who can barely walk straight due to old age plus injuries of war. Yet in spite of this, together they have a merry dinner, but it is cut shot by gun shots at a distance, and the whole affair turns out to be tragic.

 

The theme of love and marriage is expostulated effectively in this collection of stories, and the author has brought out the absurdities that befall marriages, which kill love and in the end bring up miserly. In the stories of Mustache, Madame Baptiste, the Question of Latin, A Meeting, and Indiscretion, love is vindicated as being necessary for any marriage to be possible, however due to follies that enwrap the concerned parties, it does not flourish, and consequently the union comes to an end.

 

Death is something that one has to encounter, if one is living: it is part of life. Maupassant has ingeniously brought this out in different stories including The Blind Man, Mother Sauvage, A Family Affair, and Beside Schopenhauer Corpse. Death is a result of life, and whether we are rich or poor, healthy or sick; we have to come into terms with it. Sometimes death brings us together, other times it brings out our true character, in that we cannot pretend to be what we are not like in the case of A Family Affair. It is in death that we realize that life is not permanent, rather it is a period to which we collect all sorts of experiences, and for that we should live it to our best ability.images (3)

 

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