One direction that you can follow is that of the author's attitude toward his characters in "A Piece of String" and the effect that it produces upon the narrative. Having served in the Franco-Prussian War, Maupassant, a Norman himself, developed an intense dislike for the peasantry and their abiding distrust of one another after his disillusioning experiences in the army. In several instances Maupassant makes remarks such as "like the true Norman he was," "since they both had a tendency to hold grudges, they had remained on bad terms with each other," and "they slyly watched each other." Repeatedly, Maupassant alludes to the deceitfulness and treachery of these Norman peasants in his recounting of the narrative. His two key phrases, "the tricks of the man" and "the defect in the beast" are pivotal to the plot and theme alike in this examination of the inner workings of the Norman lower-class psyche.