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Do you agree that Maupassant sometimes makes us consider our normal ideas of what is good and what is bad?

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Introduction

Do you agree that Maupassant sometimes makes us consider our normal ideas of what is good and what is bad? Maupassant uses unusual situations in his stories that raise conflict and might not always be accepted in society. This is shown in his stories "Life in the Country" and "Mother Savage" where we are forced to question our normal ideas of right and wrong. Maupassant's own life influences his stories in the moral content. He was not a man of high morals and would often visit prostitutes once he regained his wealth after the war through his short stories. He had suffered, from his 20's, from syphilis which later caused increasing mental disorder. On January 2nd, in 1892, Maupassant tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat. He was then sent to Dr Esprit Blanche's private asylum at Passy, in Paris, were he died the following year. It is also claimed that all Maupassant's fiction came from his own experiences. "Life in the Country" is about two families, one who sold their child and one who did not. At the beginning we are expected to think that selling a child is wrong. This is shown by the fact that Madame Tuvache, who refused to sell he son, was admired by society because of this and that Madame Vallin was shunned. "The farmers wife rose to her feet like a fury, `You want us to sell our Charlot? No. Never! It's a think nobody's got no right asking a mother to do. I won't have it! ...read more.

Middle

"She came back the following week, sat herself down on the ground with them, took the little boy in her arms, stuffed him full of cake and handed sweets to all the others...She...began putting in an appearance daily, her pockets bulging with sweets and pennies." She grows attached to Charlot in particular and seems to have a special bond with him. If it is really because she has grown to love him as she would love her own son then her reasons for wanting to adopt him would be sincere and almost acceptable. How when the Tuvaches turn her down she simply turns around, and like a spoilt child determined to get what she wants, heads for the other little boy Jean. All she wanted was a child and she did not care which one. Her bond with Charlot was nothing more than giving him the first chance to be bought rather than actual emotion. "As she was leaving, Madame D'Hubiere recalled that there were two little boys and asked, through her tears, and with the persistence of a headstrong spoilt woman who is not prepared to wait: `The other little boy isn't yours, is he?` Monsieur Tuvache answered, `No. He's next door's. You can go see them if you like.` And he went back into his house where his wife could be heard complaining indignantly." But then, upon the return of Jean, we see how well he has turned out, that he is not spoilt at all like his adoptive mother was, and he knew were he came from. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sympathy is raised for Mother Savage however because of the insensitivity of the letter telling her of her sons death and also because of the fact that after she had burnt down her house and killed the soldiers she tells the truth to the Prussian soldiers even though she knows that the consequences would be death. She also makes sure that she has the names of her soldiers so that their families can know what happened and would not be left in doubt. "She told the story from beginning to end, from the arrival of the letter to the last screams of the men who had been burnt with the house. She didn't leave out a single detail of what she had feel or what she had done." In both these stories Maupassant does make us question our views on different situations, because of the circumstances of the characters of the consequences of their actions. Still it would not make to want to buy or sell a child if you believed it to be wrong in the first place or murder anyone, even if you are over come with grief. Maupassant makes us understand what the characters are going through and not condemn them for what they have done. The ideas of what are good and bad really do depend on what has happened before and what will happen after, only then can you judge a situation, if you are close enough to see the full picture. ?? ?? ?? ?? Stephanie Moore 17/03/05 ...read more.

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