Maupassant wrote this story set in a present that he knew and had lately lived: Paris in 1880. There, a Breton could find honest labor as a government clerk, and people of modest means or desperate straits could see the jeweled rich living in luxury just out of reach.
By Maupassant's descriptions of Madame Loisel's envies and daydreams and one glorious ball at the house of the Minister, readers get a picture of what Paris looked like for the wealthy, and how elegant and comfortable their lives must have been. By his descriptions of the Loisels' modest and economical apartment,...
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