Guy De Maupassant



Weekly Assignments



Life: Guy de Maupassant, (Henri René Albert)
1850 -- 1893
Novelist, born probably at the Château de Miromesnil, Dieppe, France , where he spent an unhappy childhood (his parents were separated when he was 11), he later served in the Franco-Prussian War, studied law in Paris, and entered the civil service--experiences frequently evoked in his stories. He studied at Rouen, and spent his life in Normandy. After serving as a soldier and a government clerk, he took to writing, encouraged by Flaubert, a friend of his mother's. He is one of the world's most celebrated masters of the short story.

After 1890, Maupassant suffered increasingly from the syphilis that he had contracted in his youth, and he died in an asylum, totally demented, having a year previously attempted suicide.

His stories range from the short tale to the full-length novel. His first success, Boule de suif (1880, Ball of Fat), led to his being in great demand by newspapers. There followed about 300 stories and several novels, including Une Vie (1883, trans A Woman's Life), and the supposedly autobiographical Bel-Ami (1885). His stories "Le Horla' (Hallucination) and "La Peur' (Fear) describe madness and fear with a horrifying accuracy which foreshadows the insanity which beset Maupassant in 1892, when he was committed to an asylum in Paris.


 Read A Piece Of String

 Unlocking Passages
Total possible=30 points
Answer the questions about these quotes taken from the story. Go back to the story if you need more clues. Please write in full sentences with thorough discussion for each.

1. Why does Maitre Hauchecome pick up the string? Why does he disguise his actions?

2. Explain why Maitre Hauchecome is accused of finding the wallet.

3. Explain why Maitre Hauchecome's name is not cleared, even after the wallet is returned.

4. Describe Maitre Hauchecome and Maitre Malandain's relationship. How does this relationship help bring about Maitre Hauchecome's problem?

5. Describe the characteristics of the people of Goderville. How do the characteristics bring about Maitre Hauchecome's problem?

6. Describe Maitre Hauchecome's chief characteristics. In what way do his characteristics prevent people from believing his story?

7. Maitre Hauchecome is upset because his reputation has been destroyed. Discuss why people put such value in their reputations.

8. Find one other stereotype about Normans that Maupassant includes in the story and explain it.

9. Discuss why stereotypes in real life can be dangerous.

10. What do you think the climax of the story was?

11. What is ironical about this story? Give at least two examples.

12. Discuss the theme of the story.

13. The passage below presents a paradox. Explain what it means and how it reveals a truth about life.

"He went home ashamed and indignant, choking with anger and confusion, the more dejected that he was capable, with his Norman cunning, of doing what they had accused him of and even boasting of it as a good turn. His innocence to him, in a confused way, was impossible to prove, as his sharpness was known."

Due: midnight, 11/19