Rhetoric of Pessimism and Strategies of Containment in the Short Stories of Guy De Maupassant
|Author: ||Bryant, David|
This study proposes an overall interpretation based on an analysis of three constants. First, Maupassant accepts that man lives in an objective, contingent world in which he has no purpose, and elevates the notion of chance into an explanation of the human condition. Secondly, this awareness explains the adoption of a view of the world as farce. Thirdly, in order to shape and mitigate the consequences of these positions, Maupassant elaborates a rhetoric of pessimism and strategies of containment. This triple approach enables Maupassant to rise above the evidence of his experience and gives the reader access to a work that otherwise might appear inconsequential and disparate. Maupassant's three hundred and six short stories represent a unified series of variations on three constants and offer a coherent, tightly structured response to a very personal dilemma that nevertheless has universal application.