Boule de Suif Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe the setting in the opening scene of "Boule de Suif" and its significance.

The story is set in occupied France during the Franco-Prussian war. Worn and tired soldiers wander aimlessly through town, defeated and tattered. The backdrop of war drives the story as it pertains to the lives of the main characters.

2. What are the citizens of Rouen anticipating in the beginning of "Boule de Suif" and how does the atmosphere in the city influence its inhabitants?

The citizens are anticipating the arrival of the enemy, and there is a calm, silent dread that settles on the city. All commerce stops, and the anguish of suspense made people desire the enemy's arrival.

3. What happens once the Prussians arrive in Rouen and why is it significant?

Once the soldiers occupy the city, Prussians often ate at the same table with the inhabitants in their home, expressing sympathy with France and repugnance at being compelled to take part in war. The civil attitude between the enemy and the conquered is a precarious, though necessary alliance to maintain peace.

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