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    Does anyone have any notes on l'aventure de walter schaffs? - Maupassant. Studying this story but don't really understand it.

    Is it meant to be funny? What is Maupassant trying to convey?

    Thanks if anyone has any info
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    (Original post by chica111)
    Does anyone have any notes on l'aventure de walter schaffs? - Maupassant. Studying this story but don't really understand it.

    Is it meant to be funny? What is Maupassant trying to convey?

    Thanks if anyone has any info
    Yes, it's meant to be funny. Not very subtle, either - Walter Schnaffs is a likeable character but rather ridiculous with his flat feet, fat belly and obsession with food. The French army towards the end of the story are ridiculous in that they are all overcome with the emotion of catching and tying up one single Prussian soldier who was fast asleep when they found him! They then also lie about the events by saying that they captured "several" prisoners and that the enemy even suffered fatalities.

    Two main themes:
    - hypocrisy (particularly in the French)
    - the stupidity of war (W.S. is a conscript and has no desire to be in France)

    Maupassant is trying to convey his criticism of the French lack of resistance in the Franco-Prussian war. The Prussian army was mainly made up of conscripts like Walter Schnaffs and Maupassant was furious that the French were too weak to resist such an unprofessional army. So he's showing the French as being even more ridiculous than the enemy.

    We are meant to feel a lot of sympathy for Walter Schnaffs who is a very human character: he loves his wife and children left behind in Prussia and misses them terribly; he has taken out loans for them to live on while he is away with the army; he hates everything to do with the army and particularly bayonets. He has a wonderful imagination, too - just look at the pictures he visualises when he imagines being caught by the irregular army (les francs-tireurs) or even by peasants; or when he imagines lying dead in the ditch.

    Hope this gives you a few ideas to work on!
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    (Original post by Anna Schoon)
    Yes, it's meant to be funny. Not very subtle, either - Walter Schnaffs is a likeable character but rather ridiculous with his flat feet, fat belly and obsession with food. The French army towards the end of the story are ridiculous in that they are all overcome with the emotion of catching and tying up one single Prussian soldier who was fast asleep when they found him! They then also lie about the events by saying that they captured "several" prisoners and that the enemy even suffered fatalities.

    Two main themes:
    - hypocrisy (particularly in the French)
    - the stupidity of war (W.S. is a conscript and has no desire to be in France)

    Maupassant is trying to convey his criticism of the French lack of resistance in the Franco-Prussian war. The Prussian army was mainly made up of conscripts like Walter Schnaffs and Maupassant was furious that the French were too weak to resist such an unprofessional army. So he's showing the French as being even more ridiculous than the enemy.

    We are meant to feel a lot of sympathy for Walter Schnaffs who is a very human character: he loves his wife and children left behind in Prussia and misses them terribly; he has taken out loans for them to live on while he is away with the army; he hates everything to do with the army and particularly bayonets. He has a wonderful imagination, too - just look at the pictures he visualises when he imagines being caught by the irregular army (les francs-tireurs) or even by peasants; or when he imagines lying dead in the ditch.

    Hope this gives you a few ideas to work on!
    Thanks so much for your ideas! Which other stories are you doing?
    I just think the character of WS is just so unlike Maupassant's other descriptions of Prussian soldiers, who are described as ruthless. I don't really understand the stupidity of WS, is Maupassant mocking him? And his obsession with food? Maybe depicts his desire of survival and he's not a typical soldier since he's not really patriotique and wants to die in honneur of his country, he'd rather be a prisoner and live? Also, what do you think Maupassant is trying to show via his character?
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    (Original post by chica111)
    Thanks so much for your ideas! Which other stories are you doing?
    I just think the character of WS is just so unlike Maupassant's other descriptions of Prussian soldiers, who are described as ruthless. I don't really understand the stupidity of WS, is Maupassant mocking him? And his obsession with food? Maybe depicts his desire of survival and he's not a typical soldier since he's not really patriotique and wants to die in honneur of his country, he'd rather be a prisoner and live? Also, what do you think Maupassant is trying to show via his character?
    Walter Schnaffs isn't that different from, for example, the young conscripted Prussian soldiers in La Mère Sauvage. It's the Prussian officers - part of the regular, professional, army - who are depicted as ruthless in Maupassant's stories; the conscripts are dealt with much more sympathetically.

    Walter Schnaffs is fundamentally a very likeable, and even credible, character. For example, the main reason why he wants to survive the war is so that he will be able to provide for his wife and children. I think the only reason why WS is depicted as being slightly ridiculous is to make the French "victory" over him seem even more absurd. So while Maupassant is mocking Walter Schnaffs he is, at the same time, making the other point that the French must be truly incompetent if they cannot defend themselves against someone like him!

    I also think that WS is a much more typical soldier than you say. In La Mère Sauvage, there is a parallel between the Prussian conscripts who are in France against their will, and the French conscripts who are fighting the Prussians against their will. Maupassant shows sympathy for both and the mère Sauvage's heroism is described as atroce.

 
 
 
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