His famous stories include "Boule de Suif" (about a stagecoach of refugees in the Franco-Prussian war), "The Necklace" (about a woman who loses a borrowed diamond necklace), and "The Horla" (a horror story which was an inspiration to H. P. Lovecraft).
Works by Guy de Maupassant with their own trope pages include:
Other works by Guy de Maupassant provide examples of:
- Ambition Is Evil: Bel Ami
- Big Beautiful Woman: The title character of "Boule de Suif".
- Bury Your Disabled: The title character in "The Blind Man" freezes to death after being abandoned in winter by his family.
- Cosmic Horror Story: "The Horla".
- Creepy Souvenir: "The Hand" is about a hunter who cut off the arm of his enemy, dried it in the sun, and hung it in his living room. Later, the man is found dead, with marks on his neck showing he was strangled... and the hand in the living room is missing.
- Food Porn: "The Legend of Mont St. Michel" and every other short story.
- Helping Hands: "The Hand", maybe.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: The title character in "Boule de Suif".
- Kill It with Fire: At the end of "The Horla", the narrator sets his house on fire to get rid of the invisible creature. He then feels that the creature is still there.
- Knife-Throwing Act: "The Artist" concerns a circus knife thrower who wants to kill his wife. It is hinted that he might do this by feigning an accident while she acts as his target girl. The twist is that he finds this impossible because he has trained himself so well that his reflexes prevent it.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane
- Nothing Is Scarier: Invoked in many of his stories like "The Fear".
- Rape as Drama: In "Boule de Suif", Boule de Suif is forced by the other passengers into sleeping with the officer so he will allow the coach to continue on. No one so much as thanks her for this.
- Self-Plagiarism: He wrote two versions of "The Horla" and the severed hand.
- Shotgun Wedding: In "Les Sabots" ("the clogs" — "mixing our clogs" being an euphemism for "having sex"), a young naive servant is pregnant of her fifty-five years old master. The story ends with the announcement of their wedding.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: "The Horla".
- Ungrateful Bastard: All the other passengers in "Boule de Suif".
- Unreliable Narrator: "The Horla".