The phrasing of the second example showcased above provides clues as to how we’re supposed to view this particular chapter in the eternal struggle between student and professor — we’re supposed to applaud the brilliance of the essay the “smiling” student used to put into his place the snooty professor who by addressing his charges “coldly” had implied the assigned task was at the limit of their capabilities. College lore is replete with wish fulfillment legends in which clever students one-up their instructors by taking advantage of semantic ambiguities in the instructions given to them. (Our “ Prime Choice “ page details another legend that invokes this theme.) In real life, an “essay” such as the smiling student had taken such pride in would likely earn him nothing other than a kick in the pants: Grades aren’t awarded for cleverness; they’re earned by performing the required task well.
In the short story “An Adventure in Paris” by Guy De Maupassant an unnamed woman seeks for adventure, love, and excitement. An unnamed narrator starts to explain the inner nature and curiosity of a woman. The story transitions to the point of view of an unnamed lawyer’s wife which allows us to see her deepest desire to travel to Paris and be part of the lavishing life she has seen in the magazines. To escape her regular routine she makes a plan to go to Paris; however, her family members are only middle class and cannot help her fulfill her desire to live the life of a celebrity, fame, and fashion. Just when her trip seems to be monotonous she comes across the chance to live the life of an extravagant person. This chance happens when she meets Jean Varin, a wealthy author, in a store wanting to purchase a Japanese figurine. When Varin decides that the figurine is too expensive the lawyer’s wife steps up to buy the figurine which causes Varin to notice her. She flirtatiously invites herself into Varin’s daily activities which intrigue Varin. As the day closes she invites herself to Varin’s house and has an affair with Varin; however, she doesn’t feel she is satisfied because of his many needs. She anxiously waits till morning to come so that she can leave which only confuses Varin. When Varin asks her why she is leaving after all they have been through she states that she wanted to know what depravity felt like; however, it was not what she expected. The central idea of the story is about a woman’s psychological desire for romance, adventure, and an opulent lifestyle that leads to curiosity and the immoral act of adultery.
There are two central characters to the story that relate to the central idea. These characters are the unna...
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...a because she is longing for a romance that she feels she can only get from Paris.
The central characters, setting, and tone of the story help create the central idea of the psychological and internal desires of a woman. Through the view of the central characters it is established that the lawyer’s wife wants more than her average day and is searching for more to life than the daily routine of a house wife. Jean Varin is believed to be the desire she is looking for; however, she is not fulfilled or happy with the outcome of her choices. The setting and the tone reveal the psychological need for the wife to have an adventurous, lavish, and opulent lifestyle that she feels can only be achieved in Paris.
Maupassant, Guy De. “An Adventure in Paris”. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Cassill, RV. New York: Norton & Company, Inc. 2000. 511-516 Print.
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