Reading Mindfully: male de Maupassant’s “The item of String”

September 9, 2016|Capria Jaussen, Cecily Erin Hill

You are watching: A piece of string short story


Each month, we stop for a minute to check out mindfully, using literature to think around our perceptions and also reactions to the people in which us live and work. With these brief texts and accompanying questions, we hope to offer you a little taste of Books
Work. We hope you can share and also discuss them with others – or send us your thoughts.

The prolific French author, male de Maupassant, is generally remembered for his mastery the the quick story, although he wrote novels and travel memoirs together well. Maupassant released his an initial short story, “Boule de Suif,” in 1880 in ~ the period of thirty.

A realist author, Maupassant’s stories tell the story of common civilization permanently altered by larger forces at occupational in the world. “The item of String” is no exception. The story was published in 1884, within Maupassant’s larger collection, miss Harriet. “The item of String” follows the suffer of Maitre Hauchecorne, a peasant and also farmer, together he is accused that theft.

As you read “The item of String,” think about these questions:

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Cover Image, 1900 via

“The piece of String” is predominantly came to with the physical human being – the story is full of physical details and physical description: the peasants’ bodies, the pets they carry with them to market and also the garments they wear, the details movements Maitre Hauchecorne renders as he choose up the string and then realizes someone has seen him execute it. This physical markers room important hints into the characters’ course status and also to the differences between people in nineteenth-century France. In what means do we still use physical characteristics to division or hold together us?Picking increase a item of cable seems like an chaste enough activity – and also yet, Maitre Hauchecorne feeling ashamed that it. Later, we find out that his an ideas and actions are misunderstood by basically everyone else in the story. What go the clash the perspectives – Hauchecorne’s and the various other character’s – reveal around the an obstacle of being understood? have actually you had comparable experiences being misunderstood or misinterpreting rather actions in your very own life? This story hinges top top a lie, and yet it’s never ever clear even if it is Maitre Malandain knows he has told a falsehood. What we do recognize is that Maitre Hauchecorne and also Maitre Malandain have actually a long-standing enmity, and that the lie is ultimately an ext believable 보다 the truth. What walk this problem say around our inherent biases, particularly when we already have enmity in a relationship? In what methods does this conflict – and also the fallout from that – reflect real-world relationships on both big and little scales?

The piece of StringBy man de Maupassant

It to be market-day, and from every the nation round Goderville the peasants and their wives were coming toward the town. The guys walked slowly, throw the entirety body forward at every step of their long, crooked legs. They to be deformed from pushing the plough which makes the left shoulder higher, and bends their numbers side-ways; indigenous reaping the grain, once they have to spread their legs so regarding keep on their feet. Your starched blue blouses, glossy as though varnished, ornamented in ~ collar and cuffs with a small embroidered design and blown out approximately their bony bodies, looked really much favor balloons about to soar, whence issued two arms and two feet. Save Reading

Image: Eugene Boudin, sector Day at Trouville, Normandy, 1878, via

Further Reading

The element of Surprise: What Stories aid Us SeeOn War, Dancing and also Light: Why Metaphors MatterReading Mindfully: Katherine Mansfield’s “The Doll’s House”