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One theme that emerges from this story that could be considered a moral lesson is not to be ashamed of who you are and what your values are. Hauchecome hides the fact that he picked up the piece of string because he is embarrassed to admit that he saves little things like this.
Another theme that emerges from the story that definitely teaches the reader a lesson is to not judge someone too harshly. Hauchecome is judged to be a thief, and a liar by the village because he is wrongly accused of stealing a purse containing 500 francs.
The fact that M. Hauchecome deliberately behaves in an overstated manner when he stops to pick up the piece of string does not help his case for innocence when accused. By behaving in this way, he draws suspicion from others, particularly, Malandain, his arch enemy.
Hauchecome, once accused, cannot shake the perception of the town that he is a thief, even in the face of proof. The purse is returned, people still believe that he was the culprit.
The author illustrates the inherent distrust that people have for each other in this story. The stereotyping of the lower classes as thieves and liars. Hauchecome is so stricken by the wrongful accusation that it makes him sick. He dies uttering "it was only a piece of string."
Short story analysis: "The Piece of String" by Guy de Maupassant
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