‘The Adopted Son’ by Guy de Maupassant

The Adopted Son by Guy de Maupassant, 1882

The magic trick:

Dramatically shifting vantage points on the story at the end

Back to France this week.

Today’s story features a high-stakes plot akin to the Bible. People buying babies. Neighbors casting stones. It’s definitely old-school.

The ending provides a dramatic perspective shift worthy of the plot.

And that’s quite a trick on Maupassant’s part.

The selection:

“Oh, look at all those children, Henri! How pretty they are, tumbling about in the dust, like that!”

The man did not answer, accustomed to these outbursts of admiration, which were a pain and almost a reproach to him. The young woman continued:

“I must hug them! Oh, how I should like to have one of them–that one there–the little tiny one!”

Springing down from the carriage, she ran toward the children, took one of the two youngest–a Tuvache child–and lifting it up in her arms, she kissed him passionately on his dirty cheeks, on his tousled hair daubed with earth, and on his little hands, with which he fought vigorously, to get away from the caresses which displeased him.


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