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Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (5 August 1850 – 6 July 1893) was a French writer, considered one of the fathers of the modern short story.

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:

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See also

  • Le Plaisir, French film anthology of three of his stories

Other works by Guy de Maupassant provide examples of:

  • Ambition Is Evil: Bel Ami
  • Big Beautiful Woman: The title character of "Boule de Suif"; the unnamed Italian woman in "Idylle".
  • 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.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The protagonist of "The Horla" eventually sets fire to his house while the titular creature is "trapped" inside. He believes he's won against it, but then feel its presence again...
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  • Driven to Suicide: The protagonist at the end of "The Horla"
  • Eldritch Abomination: The titular Horla. It's an invisible being that drains human vitality, causing intense fevers and insomnia, with the protagonist experiencing a chilling feeling of Being Watched and having something sit on his chest. It's later revealed that Brazilian peasants are experiencing the exact same things and are desperately fleeing their homes.
  • Food Porn: "The Legend of Mont St. Michel" and every other short story.
  • Franco-Prussian War: The setting of some stories, like "Boule de Suif".
  • 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.
    • The title character of "Mother Savage" sets her house on fire to kill the young Prussian soldiers quartered with her after she learns of her son's death in the war.
  • 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: A trademark of his horror stories, whose protagonists are often Author Avatar (such that the Reality Subtext of them losing their grip of reality as they succumb to mental illness is really severe). Indeed, many critics interpret them as straightforward psychological studies where the notion that the ghosts and creatures are literally real should not be seriously entertained beyond a surface reading.
  • Must Be Invited: The protagonist of "The Horla" waves to a Brazilian three-mast ship, kickstarting the plot by inviting the Horla into his house.
  • 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.
  • Real After All: It's heavily implied the Horla is real and it's not just the protagonist going insane.
  • 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". Except that the protagonist's experiments to determine if he's insane or not, and the reports of Brazilian peasants experiencing the same symptoms, imply that the protagonist might not be mad.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: All the other passengers in "Boule de Suif".
  • Unreliable Narrator: "The Horla".

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