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The Piece of String

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Length: 839 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)
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The Piece of String

The story is about a man called Maitre Hauchecome. He is an economical
man who picks up anything useful on the ground. Whilst he is walking
in the market he finds a piece of string on the ground and picks it
up. On the same day Maitre Fortune looses his pocket book in the
market and one of Maitre Hauchecome's rivals accuses him of stealing
the pocket book. As news gets around more people believe the story of
the stolen pocket book and Maitre Hauchecome is branded a rascal, he
tries for years to proclaim his innocence and the people of Goderville
still don't believe him even when the pocket book is returned. He
proclaims his innocence until his death at the end of the story.

The male inhabitants of the town of Goderville are mostly farmers and
all have strange characteristics. "The men were proceeding with slow
steps, the whole body bent forward at each movement of their long
twisted legs deformed by their hard work, by the weight on the plow
which at the same time, raised the left shoulder and swerved the
figure, by the reaping of the wheat which made the knees spread to
make a firm 'purchase', by all the slow and painful labours of the
country." This description of the men in the town of Goderville
suggests that the families in the town struggle on farms and at the
market to make a living.

The women in the town work on the markets selling the produce from
their husbands and are also described in detail. "They carried large
baskets on their arms from which, in some cases, chickens and, in
others, ducks thrust out their heads. And they walked with a quicker,
livelier step than their husbands. Their spare straight figures were
wrapped in a scanty little shawl pinned over their flat bosoms, and
their heads were enveloped in white cloth glued to the hair and
surmounted by a cap. This paragraph also suggests that the general
population of Goderville were poor farmers, the sentence beginning,
"Their spare straight figures." also suggests that the families don't
eat very well. There is an obvious contrast in the way the Men and
Women of the town look and behave.

The town of Goderville has many different sights, sounds and smells
especially on a market day. "In the public square of Goderville there
was a crowd, a throng of human beings and animals mixed together."
This puts a picture of a bustling market street and also suggests the
smell of sweat and grime from all the tightly packed people, as does "
the long lowing of a cow tied to the wall of a house."

There is a sentence in the story "economical like a true Norman." This
sentence is highly stereotypical because it says that all Norman
people are tight with their belongings. There are many examples of
stereotyping in the UK today for example, the people of Liverpool are
said to be thieves.

The moral of the story is that Honesty is the best policy this is
shown when Maupassant talks about Hauchecome's past antics of lying
and over exaggerating his stories and when he comes to tell the truth
people are reluctant to believe him.

Maupassant uses several literary techniques to get across the meaning
of the story:

He uses some irony in the story this is that Hauchecome is really
telling the truth but, because he has failed to do so in the past and
so gained a reputation for inflated storytelling and dishonesty, he
finds that people are reluctant to believe him. He makes matters worse
by continually exaggerating his tale.

After reading both stories I have found many similarities between 'The
Piece of String' and 'A Vendetta'. Both stories are highly descriptive
especially when describing the settings of the stories e.g. in 'A
Vendetta' Maupassant uses similes like "Patches of whitish foam round
the black tips of the countless reefs like torn sheets drifting on the
surface of the water." When describing Bonifacio and in The Piece of
String uses descriptive language like "All that smacked of the stable,
the dairy and the dirt heap, hay and sweat giving forth that
unpleasant odour." When describing Goderville. As well as description
being a similarity there is also death in both stories, in 'A
Vendetta' the death of Antoine and Nicolas and in The Piece of String,
the death of Maitre Hauchecome. There are hypocritical characters in
both stories, Maitre Hauchecome and Widow Saverini. Both stories have
a moral, there is irony present in both stories and both stories are
set in small towns, Bonifacio and Goderville.

I also noticed many contrasts in the story. The two stories are set in
different countries, The Piece of String being in France and A
Vendetta being set in Sicily. In A Piece of String the key character
is a man whereas in A Vendetta it is a woman. The stories have
different resolutions; Widow Saverini achieves her goal but Hauchecome

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Piece of String." 19 Apr 2014

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