Can you give me some background and a synopsis of "Boule de Suif"?
Maupassant was one of the world's greatest authors of short stories. He published over three hundred of them in his brief lifetime. "Boule de Suif" was one of his earliest stories and one of his most characteristic. It shows his bitter hatred of the Prussians, who defeated the French in the Franco-Prussian War. It features a prostitute, one of the types of lower-class characters Maupassant was so fond of portraying. It shows the meanness and selfishness of the human race in the prostitute's traveling companions. This cynicism about humanity was one of Maupassant's favorite topics. It has a moving ending, leaving the reader feeling pity for the unfortunate girl called Boule de Suif who has been humiliated and then rejected. "Boule de Suif" is one of Maupassant's most frequently anthologized short stories, an excellent introduction to this great French writer.