1. At the beginning of the story, what does the narrator tell us about Mme. Aubain's history?
At the beginning of the story, the narrator tells us that Mme. Aubain married a handsome man who was not good with money. When he died, he left her with substantial debts and she was forced to sell several properties to meet his debts, retaining only two. She was also left with two children. She spends every day now sitting in her chair in front of the window.
2. Describe the impression that the narrator gives you of Mme. Aubain's house.
Mme. Aubain's house is described as standing between an alley and a narrow street, which gives the impression of it being squeezed into its location and somewhat cramped. The floors are at different levels, which make it easy to trip. This suggests that the house itself is not a large or very fancy house, but one that was built to meet only more necessary needs. Inside the house, however, there are several things that Mme. Aubain brought with her from her former home or homes and which reflect her more affluent history. The impression that the house seems to give is of a fresh poverty.
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