What was the atmosphere and moods in Maupassant's story: moonlight?

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great short story because of how the mood changes. Brilliant!

In the beginning, the mood is like the priest's heart. Angry, dried up, judgmental, prideful. He thinks that God owes HIM an explanation for why he has created thus and such. And, he thinks God made a huge mistake when he created women. The priest hates women because they are the opposite of what he is -- loving. He has a niece who is demonstrative and loving, and when he learns she has a lover, he resolves to take care of this once and for all. In anger, he strikes his cane and breaks it. The mood for the first part of this story is brooding and almost evil.

Ah..........but as he leaves to take care of the situation with his niece, to surprise her and her lover, he walks out into the moonlight...........

The moonlight is symbolic of God's love. It transforms the priest. At first he wonders why God even wasted his time creating the night -- no work could be done at night, no harvesting -- did God make a mistake like he did when he created women? As he walks out, he really sees the beauty of God's creation for the first time. The mood is totally different in this part of the story. There is beautiful nature imagery as the priest's soul opens up to God's wonderous purpose for the first time. He concludes that the night is for love, and that love is wonderful. When he sees his niece walking with her lover, he has an ephiphany and it totally changes him.