Boule de Suif
Boule de Suif is the title character of Maupassant’s short story. She is one of ten passengers in a coach, bound for Le Havre, which is leaving Rouen to flee from the advancing German army. She is traveling alone. Her birth name is Mademoiselle Élisabeth Rousset; however, it is her appearance that has earned her the nickname, Boule de Suif, or in English ‘‘Ball of Fat.’’ Boule de Suif is a short, perfectly round, fat little woman with plump, sausage-like fingers, shiny skin, and enormous breasts. Her face is reddish and round with black eyes and large lashes, a small mouth with nice lips, and tiny teeth. Boule de Suif carries herself with dignity and a freshness that makes her attractive and desirable. It is well known that she is a prostitute, and although she is sought after, her seemingly honorable travel companions deem her an immoral woman, even though she helps them on several occasions. Without Boule de Suif as their companion, the entourage would have suffered greatly, as they all forgot to bring provisions for the long trip. During the first leg of the journey, the sophisticated prostitute provided her condescending companions with food and drink when the group was near fainting from hunger. Next, in Tôtes, which was already occupied by Germans, Boule de Suif compromised her own categorical imperative—not to have sex with a man against her own wishes—and slept with the Prussian commandant to free herself and her...
(The entire section is 2200 words.)
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