Sunday, October 18, 2015

Femme Fatale - Guy de Maupassant

Maupassant is a mischievous soul and his stories normally involve some affairs of passion. This theme pervades all four stories in this book. 'Cockcrow', 'Femme Fatale', 'Hautot and Son' and 'Laid to Rest'.

In 'Cockcrow' a hot blooded man chases a married lady. She flirts with him, her husband being a boring type, and finally throws him a challenge - if he hunts the beast - she says she may have something to give him. The man is beside himself and gives it his all, and succeeds. But the poor fellow is so tired when they go to bed that he falls asleep as he waits for the lady to return to bed and wakes up only in the morning.

In 'Femme Fatale' the rich son of a powerful senator falls hopelessly for a woman whom many think controls him and is not worthy of him. But he is totally under her spell. She goes to a party with a bunch of people he does not approve of. He follows her, beside himself with the thought that she is cheating on him. But when he finds her, she is not in the arms of a man but worse, she's with a woman. The poor chap drowns himself even as the bi girlfriend and her lesbian fiend shrug it off and move on. 'It's not your fault,' says the girl friend.

In 'Hautot and Son' senior Hautot dies in a hunting accident but before he breathes his last tells his son to give his young mistress a share to take care of herself. The obedient young son goes to meet her, tells her that he has come to give her a share and that his father is no more, finds a half brother of his there. The lady is a good host, feeds him, gives him wine and provides cmpanionship and comfort. So Hautot junior starts visiting her every day off of hers. It all happens without skipping a beat and it does seem so practical and convenient.

In 'Laid to Rest' (nice title) the protagonist finds a young lady mourning at a cemetery and offers help. One thing leads to another and she draws him into a short term arrangement before he moves on. But when he sees her there again on another day with another man he is shocked - it seems to be her hunting ground.

Another theme of Maupassant - hunting.

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