Boule de suif to The Necklace and Deux Amis


Art and literature has gone through a number of revolutions since its inception in Western Europe. The initial elements of art are defined by traditional aspects which were limiting as time passed. A number of styles were introduced marking the introduction of modern art. Realism was one of these art forms started in France during the mid nineteenth century. Realism rejected the tenets from the Romantic Movement making it one of the revolutionary discoveries in the world of art and literature. Realist literature focuses on aspects of society making Boule de suif and Mathilde ideal examples for realism. This kind of literature is most concerned with portraying their actions and their consequences with little or no subjectivity.

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The focus of this paper is to provide an analysis of the two novels that observe the use of realism. The books in this case are Boule de suif and The Necklace and Deux Amis. The paper compares and contrasts the books on different elements. This brings out the use of realism which is one of the most recognized forms of art in France. The paper provides a concluding paragraph that summarizes the contents of the analysis.

Guy de Maupassant is a French writer known for his emphasis on realism. Some of his famous representative works include Boule de suif, The Necklace, and Deux Amis. As a Realist, most of his writings emphasized the idea that fiction should convey a significant element of realism. All of his novels display psychological explorations or romantic descriptions. He structures his stories and novels with clearly defined plot lines and specific, observable details.

Guy de Maupassant’s ensures that he includes realist features in a majority of his work. One of the primary factors is his use of objects which enhances symbolic meanings in his novels. These objects are metaphoric in nature in that they have hidden meanings which in turn educate the reader. The writer’s major characters represent influential spokesmen that satires Maupassant’s living era. Maupassant uses his experience of the Franco-Prussian War as a background for most of his literary work. He joined the army right after the Franco-Prussian War occurred making his characters subject to war. His use of realism is combined with his approach on Pacifism giving his work different from other writers.

A hero is defined by a person who sacrifices oneself for the better good of the society. Communities create provisions on how to award outstanding members of society. This varies in each culture in that some heroes receive more recognition. The lack of recognition makes people act in their best interest as opposed to that of the environment. This brings about egoism which has taken over the modern society. In Boule de suif, Maupassant satires social problems derived from egoism. Wagon constitutes of a small society and is composed of different social classes such as the nobles, merchants, conservatives, republicans, nuns, and prostitute Boule de suif. The wagon cannot cross the border because of the greedy Prussian general. An immense amount of pressure is placed on Boule de suif to sleep with the general in order for them to pass the boarder. Boule de suif succumbs to this pressure making her vulnerable to the judgment of her peers.

The society tramples on prostitutes and insults her even though she sacrifices herself for the greater good of her community. Maupassant uses satirizes bourgeois and the religious men due to their display of hypocrisy.

“Now, it fell out that many of these had committed acts which would be crimes in our eyes, but the Church readily pardons such deeds when they are accomplished for the glory of God or the good of mankind”. The passage clearly shows the lack of morality in religion during this period. Prostitute rank the lowest in most societies making them subject to discrimination and neglect. The author displays how society forces people to sacrifice for others and do not appreciate to people’s sacrifices. Maupassant satirizes French society by using matters like appetite and libido to reflect on their day to day lives.

In The Necklace, Maupassant uses vanity as one of his themes to showcase fiction. He uses Mathilde’s character to display the dangers that come with obsession and envy. Society is classified by the use of expensive materials. The diamond necklace in this case is a commodity that represents high society and class. Maupassant seeks to educate his readers on placing value on material things. He does this by providing a surprising ending that makes Mathilde’s obsession somewhat stupid.

The use of illusion essential to the theme of the book in that Mathilde’s loss of the “Diamond necklace” results in the poverty of her and her husband. They manage to accumulate a substantial amount of money in a period of ten years so as to pay their debt. They later find out that the necklace was worth nothing in that it was face. People form illusions of their lifestyles so as to fit into certain classes. Most of them turn up to live a lie in the case of Mademe Forester.

The use of irony brings out the element of realism in the book. Mathilde spends her life longing for a life that is out of her element. She wants what she cannot have which results in her downfall.  She ignores the real assets that God gave her such as her beauty and charisma. Society places emphasis on the need to form a perfect impression in the community. This makes people lose track of their priorities such as the family and friends making their life have less meaning.

The novel Deux Amis is one of Maupassant portrayal of pacifism. Morissot and Sauvage usually go fishing on every Sunday. After the Franco-Prussian war occurred, they planned to go fishing to escape from the stuffiness of their house. They become bored with their wives making fishing the only solution to relieve their stress. While fishing the two encounter a tragic experience in that they lose their lives. Morissot and Sauvage have no fault except they got bored from their daily routine. In Deux Amis, there is also the use of food such as Boule de suif to satirize humanism. After the German general commanded to kill Morissot and Sauvage, he orders his men to cook their fish. Maupassant creates awareness about the harsh living conditions during his era. The foods of Boule de suif and Deux Amis were commonly used to ridicule the modern society.

Without eating, people cannot sustain their lives. If people do not eat, they cannot work. Food is thus essential for the growth and sustainability of any society. Guy de Maupassant mentions many foods in his works. In Boule de suif, there were lots of people trying to beg for food from prostitutes. The Nobles’ appetites were contradictory to their pretentious elegance when in times of famine. Food brings out human nature; Maupassant makes his readers think outside the box. Starving causes people to lose their humanity and we become predators. Predator-prey interactions, men and women, and the strong and the weak this kind of relationships explain his novels. In the wagon scene of Boule de suif, the prostitute is the weak, while all the others including the nuns represent predators.

As a naturalist the writer uses characters like Prussian general and Cornudet to display predators who desire Boule de suif. Maupassant tried to use metaphors to exemplify the prostitute as a product. She is used as prey eaten by men (predators) so as to satisfy their temporary appetite. In Deux Amis, the final part of the book shows the general ordering for the victim’s fish to be cooked. Morissot and Sauvage are symbols of meat that is consumed to satisfy the needs of the influential. The author uses such examples to show the social abuse that the community faces. Maupassant uses his influence as a writer to bring out the oppression faces at the hands of the people in power. A majority of the population do not have the voice to talk about their grievances. Naturalist writers make this possible through their work that relates to the real life situation of society.

Guy de Maupassant main characters like Boule de suif, Mathilde, Morissot, and Sauvage have the same characteristics.  They act as mediums for satirizing the absurdity of society. They display the product of an unjust society; in the case of “The necklace”, Mathilde’s behavior is triggered by the divide of social classes.

In conclusion, Maupassant uses his novels to create awareness of particular situations in the community. Most of the communities are prone to a number of injustices due to the corruption of the people at the top. The three books are different in that they all portray a different message. Despite this, they all manage to bring out particular themes which talk of the same situations. The use of surrealism is evident in all the books that the writer has written. Realism is essential in the display of circumstances that are contrary to ordinary life. The use of both realism and naturalistic ways of writing exemplifies all aspects of life which can either be real or surreal. Maupassant one of the most influential writers of his time; most of his work has influenced upcoming writers to get into the industry with ease. It is safe to say that he is one of the advocates for the change in art and literature form the initial work to modern work. Literature continues to develop due to the discovery of new and innovative methods. This challenges the readers to learn more about the novels they choose to read. This is significant in that the books are reflective of the society. Society continues to change due to the change in culture. It is thus ideal to learn about different societies so as to educate oneself of the world’s history in general.










Work Cited

“Guy De Maupassant Criticism.” ENotes – Literature Study Guides, Lesson Plans,

and More. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. <


Maupassant, Guy De. “Boule De Suif by Guy De Maupassant @ Classic

Reader.” Free Classic Books Online at Classic Reader. Web. 18 Nov. 2011.


Maupassant, Guy De. Guy De Maupassant: The Best Short Stories. Herts:

Wordsworth Editions, 1997. Print.



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