Analysis of Guy de Maupassant's "Old Mother Savage"

Essay by riverofjadeUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, September 2004

download word file, 6 pages 0.0

Analysis of Guy de Maupassant's "Old Mother Savage"

We are all taught that our identity lies in the roles we play throughout life, in other words, in our actions. William Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage / And all the men and women merely players. / They have their exits and their entrances..." (As You Like It, II, vii). Whenever people act outside of their parts; whenever we miss our entrance, our identity is challenged. This can be seen everyday in all walks of life and in all arenas. For example, a teen father who takes responsibility for his child is look upon with surprised admiration while a teen mother is look up with distain for becoming pregnant in the first place. Placing standards and expectations upon people can be a vastly good thing, but what happens when those standards and expectations become too rigid--to all consuming?

Rigid, all-consuming, roles have been required of women since time remembered.

Even in the twenty-first century, the career woman is still expected to maintain a family. Gloria Steinhem puts it succinctly; "I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career." Men are expected to place high priorities on their careers. The implication is that a man will receive less criticism for neglecting his family for his career, while a woman will be criticized sharply for having a career without also being an excellent wife and mother. Many of these identity feminine roles have been so inflexible that many women cannot break free in order to discovery the woman inside. When circumstances force them out of their traditional roles, they find themselves wondering, "Who am I? What is my purpose?" Guy de Maupassant in his short story "Old Mother Savage" (1885) depicts a...