What could be a great thesis statement in Guy de Maupassant's "The Uncomfortable Bed" and what three main points could I write on to make a three page paper? The homework also says use two...

What could be a great thesis statement in Guy de Maupassant's "The Uncomfortable Bed" and what three main points could I write on to make a three page paper? The homework also says use two sources—which two sources could I use?

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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A great thesis statement for the short story "An Uncomfortable Bed" by Guy de Maupassant would likely include an examination of the role of laughter or humor in literature. The story concerns a practical joke so it is perfect for this. The humor analysis could be contrasted with the opposite emotion of fear (as a second point) as the two experiences are neatly juxtaposed in this story. In fact, practical jokes are only really funny when there is an element of fear, no matter how small. In our narrator's case, the fear is allowed to build and brood slowly so that by the time he reaches his bedchamber he is already in a state of anticipation and suspense that makes his sense of dread even worse. He has known since he arrived at the chateau that a trick will likely be played on him.

You could then examine and explore the exact structures and literary elements in the story which contribute towards the overall humorous effect. Include elements such as narrative, pace, timing and imagery. This could be your second point.

Thirdly you could examine the development of the humor in "An Uncomfortable Bed" to show what you consider to be the story's deeper messages and themes. Consider the idea of the subconscious human mind and how it is triggered by fear or humor. Perhaps allude to the Edgar Allen Poe poem "The Raven" in which the fearful imagination is allowed more free rein causing things like nightmares and ethereal voices. Fear of ridicule is another theme since one of the things our narrator fears most is that he will be laughed at by his friends. Humiliation is an unpleasant experience for anyone and the visitor is afraid of looking stupid when he is at his most vulnerable (for example when he is partially clothed in night garments or stumbling around in a sleep stupor). He seems very unsure of the whole idea of the coming practical joke even though it seems he has participated in them before. Perhaps things feel rather different when one is the victim of a practical joke rather than a perpetrator. As for sources, well obviously enotes is an excellent choice as it has many essays you could research and cite on these themes in literature. It also has useful profiles on Guy de Maupassant and Edgar Allen Poe or Henry James. All of these would be good sources for inspiration.

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