Introduction & Overview of Boule de Suif

This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Boule de Suif.
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Boule de Suif Summary & Study Guide Description

Boule de Suif Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reading and a Free Quiz on Boule de Suif by Guy De Maupassant.

"Boule de Suif" was first published in 1880 in the anthology Les Soirées de Medan. Often considered his greatest work, "Boule de Suif" was published the same year that Guy de Maupassant made his poetic debut with Des Vers. The theme of the anthology of short stories was the Franco—Prussian War from a decade earlier. Other writers contributed, including Émile Zola and J. K. Huysmans, but it was Maupassant's short story, often considered the best example of naturalism, that has reigned as the most famous.

Maupassant is known for his insightful descriptions of characters and their actions and dialogues. His ability to capture a scene and recreate it in literary form has earned him a notable place in the history of naturalists. Maupassant's "Boule de Suif" is not only a sound reflection of retreating France during the Franco—Prussian War, but a resounding exploration of morality and ethics in a divided society. The title character is caught in a repetitious cycle of self-examination that has forced her into a circular ethical conundrum. All the while, her position is created not on her own accord, but through the manipulation of spiteful members of the respectable social order. The complexity that lies beneath Maupassant's imagery, his representation of humanity, and his ability to convey vibrant humor separates him from his contemporaries, placing him in a class only matched by Gustave Flaubert.

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This section contains 228 words
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Short Stories for Students
Boule de Suif from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.