My Uncle Jules Guy de Maupassant

My Uncle Jules 

    Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893) was a great French novelist, poet and short story writer. He is unsurpassed as a short story writer. Described as a great naturalist, he delights in a vivid and accurate reproduction of life in his works. Maupassant is a master observer of human nature and his stories display deep sympathy and tenderness his stories deal with the characters from a wide cross section of social categories including the peasant, the prostitute, and the clerk and so on. Though his stories underscore a sense of futility, compassion is never lacking in them. 

    My Uncle Jules is the story of a family which builds high hopes around one member of the family. Uncle Jules was a worthless young man who squandered the family property and was shipped off to America. The family members waited for his return in Havre. His story is narrated by Joseph Davranche, the youngest member of the family.

The family 

   Members were not rich but managed to make both ends meet . Their meals usually consisted of a soup and beef. They never accepted an invitation to dinner, so as not to have to return the courtesy. All the provisions were bought at reduced prices and the sister made their own gowns. The narrator used to go through terrible scenes on account of lost buttons and torn trousers.

      Every Sunday they would wear their best costumes and go to church. The family anticipated the arrival of their uncle who was away for nearly ten years. They were informed that he had rented a large shop and was doing an important business. Whenever his father saw great steamer from unknown and distant countries he would utter “what a surprise it would be if Jules were on that one!” The family had planned to buy a little house with their Uncle’s money. 

The narrator’s 

   Elder sister was married at the age of twenty-eight. All the family members decided to go on a trip to Jersey. Jersey was an ideal trip for poor people. The much awaited day came and they were travelling in a steamer. They were happy and proud, like all who do not travel much. 

    In the ship there was a ragged old sailor who was selling oysters. The narrator’s father and sisters liked eating oysters on a moving ship and therefore they went near the old sailor. The narrator’s father recognized the sailor who was none other than his own brother, Jules. The whole family was upset. They did not want to talk with him as he was very poor they also did not want their son-in-law to know about it. They reached Jersey. The narrator wanted to talk with him. But the old man left the place as no one was eating any more oysters the family members were disillusioned and frustrated when the reality turns out to be quite different from what they had anticipated. They had expected a bright future but all their hopes were dashed.

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