Yvette is the daughter of a courtesan who serves men of wealth and status. She seems to be oblivious of how her mother makes money and why they are always in the presence of princes, dukes and barons. Only when she goes away to a holiday at the river, she realizes that the Baron Saval is engaging her mother in such activities and she suddenly feels dirty. She wants to get away from her fate and so tries to inveigle her mother into the idea of living as honest women. However, the Marquise refuses, and explains that they would never be able to survive as working women. That their life of luxury would be so horrifically reduced. Yvette seems to suddenly have no choice. She must kill herself.
A protege of Flaubert, Maupassant’s stories are characterized by their economy of style and efficient, effortless dénouements. Many of the stories are set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s and several describe the futility of war and the innocent civilians who, caught in the conflict, emerge changed. He authored some 300 short stories,…
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