51 pages • 1 hour readGuy de Maupassant
A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.
The tone of de Maupassant’s story is objective and neutral, expressing his literary realism. Realism seeks an almost scientific perspective on human nature, and de Maupassant achieves this aim by not allowing the narrator any judgment about the characters in the story. Instead, the narrator described the Loisels and Madame Forestier in detail without any subjective judgment passed on them. The mood of the story is likewise neutral and seemingly natural, although it shifts slightly once the Loisels take on their enormous debts. The mood at the beginning of the story is somber despite the detailed description of Mathilde’s daydreams. De Maupassant provides vivid images of sitting rooms and dinner parties, yet the feelings these daydreams give Mathilde are sadness, anger, resentment, and humiliation. These emotions contrast with the beauty and luxury that de Maupassant describes, making the tone rather ironic. By the end of the story, the imagery shifts, describing poverty instead of wealth. Instead of lavish furnishings and décor, de Maupassant describes “greasy casseroles and the bottoms of saucepans” (Paragraph 101).
By Guy de Maupassant