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The Vendetta Short Story Analysis

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A Vendetta English Literature Coursework The short story 'A Vendetta' was written by Guy de Maupassant in the 1800s. It's the story of an old mother relentlessly avenging her son's death and the moral implications that her actions impose. It raises some important points for consideration regarding the notion of vengeance or revenge. Maupassant prepares us for the violence of the act of revenge and allows us to understand the actions of the mother in a number of ways. Firstly, he deliberately creates a harsh and violent atmosphere in the opening paragraphs. He uses the phrase 'deadly straits' to describe the landscapes, which gives the reader a picture of bleak and depressing scenery. Other phrases such as 'precipitous', 'barren coast' and 'desolate view' all work together to create the overall atmosphere of a particularly dreary day. The people of Bonifacio have to live and survive each day in these conditions. It indicates to the reader that the story will be dark and full of drama. Maupassant uses the simile 'like torn shreds of linen' to describe the foam on the sea. The word 'torn' is quite dramatic and indicates to the reader that the ocean surrounding Bonifacio is violent and encases the residents. ...read more.


The author uses sound to build a suitable atmosphere of sadness and despair. For example, he says that the dog gave a 'long, drawn-out wail, heart-rending and terrible'. In literary tradition, howling is very conventional in horror novels as it signifies evil and danger. In the context of this story, it prepares the reader for an unnerving read. Another possible reason for the author to emphasise the howling could be that the dog is shown to vocalise his feeling of loss whereas the mother remains silent and focuses all her internal pain on the vendetta. Maupassant portrays the mother in a such a way that the reader automatically sides with her, regardless of the fact that, as humans, we are taught that two wrongs don't make a right. This is a very clever thing to do as it engages the reader to experience an emotional response mirroring the widow's. This makes us feel sorry for her loss and understand her deliberation and final decision to carry out the vendetta, even though it goes against all moral and religious guidelines. The reason the author shows her as going to church is to impress on the reader that she isn't as cold and ruthless as she seems from the text. ...read more.


She only has one chance and if her plan goes awry she could be killed or imprisoned and then she would have broken the promise she made her son. Maupassant only hints at the widow's feelings because he didn't want the reader to get the impression that she took pleasure from the sight of Ravolati's horrific death. That could potentially have removed any compassion felt by the reader for her. The last line 'that night, she slept well' describes her emotional state as relieved that the whole ordeal is over and comforted by the fact that she has fulfilled the final promise she made to her son. In conclusion, I feel that Maupassant succeeded in challenging the reader to empathise with the widow Saverini, despite their own moral and social reservations. He did this by understating the emotional side of the events that took place and by allowing the reader to imagine their own emotions if they were in the same circumstances. This forces them to experience the same moral and social dilemmas that the widow went through. Personally, I understand the widow's motives because it's possible that I would do the same thing in the same situation, even though I've been brought up to believe that taking a life is wrong. ?? ?? ?? ?? Charlotte Donovan Centre Number: 68303 Candidate Number:4334 ...read more.

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