“Mother Sauvage” by Guy de Maupassant

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Strength in Mother Sauvage


In “Mother Sauvage”, Guy de Maupassant systematically describes the characters such that the audiences are presented with a strong character sketch. The most prominent example of a strong character in the play is Mother Savage. Maupassant uses simple words to describe the physical appearance of the mother. For instance, he states that she was a hardy and tall woman who hardly ever laughed nor cried affirming that she possessed superb ability to control her rage (Maupassant n.p). According to the author, Mother Savage was made of similar stuff as those that made the country side men. Often, individuals avoided annoying her because she never liked to be teased. This paper aims at reviewing “Mother Sauvage” poem by Guy de Maupassant by examining Mother Savage’s character while at the same time exploring the explicit examples that exemplifies her strength.
Mother Savage, depicted as a tall woman lived with her son after her husband, an old poacher was killed by the police force. She was however left in isolation when her son agreed to join the army to fight for French during the 1870 Franco-Prussian War. People considered her to be wealthy and thus did not show any form of sympathy when she was left alone (Maupassant n.p). Soon, the Prussian invaded her village where the residents were obligated to provide them with accommodation. Due to the fact that Mother Savage was financially stable, she was entrusted with 4 Prussian soldiers in her house where she cared for them as if they were her own children by for instance preparing good meals for them. Regardless of the fact that the Prussian soldiers belonged to the opponents, they took a liking towards Mother Savage as she mostly reminded them of their mothers whom they had left aside. However, one day, Mother Savage received news that her son had been killed by the Prussians. These sad news triggered her to murder the young soldiers in vengeance owing to the fact that they belonged to the same race with the people who had her son killed. As the poem ends, Mother Savage also succumbed to the wrath of the Prussians when she admits to having set the young soldiers on fire.
First, strength is apparent in Mother Savage’s character in that after the death of her husband and the son volunteering to join the war, she managed to live alone without sympathy from her fellow village mates for the mere reason that she was rich. Her exceptional ability to live alone on the suburbs of the village and often protecting herself as evidenced in carrying her son’s guns as she visited the village to get bread demonstrates her remarkable strength considering the fact that she was just an old woman. It is also amazing how she had the strength to cope with the strides of the snow considering. Additionally, as Western Argus (1) reveals, Mother Savage deemed herself as being in the same battle as that of the husband and the son. She believed in showing toughness as supported by the fact that she did not laugh often and that not one of the villagers dared to tease her.
Mother Savage’s act of strength is strongly evidenced by her ability to cope with the sad news she received of the demise of her son. The poem describes her feelings when she discovered that her thirty three year old son had been murdered by the Prussians. She did not react by crying like most people do upon receiving such news; rather she stayed quiet without wiping. Even as she thought of the idea of never getting the chance to hug her again, she managed to keep the grief to herself. Her absurd strength to not show any form of emotion displays herself as a dynamic character. The poem further reveals that she had managed to endure the pain of losing her husband in the hands of policemen and now the son, who is murdered at war. All these deaths were at the hand of governmental authorities and individuals under power. Her inner strength is confirmed through her ability to calm herself especially in the eyes of the Prussian soldiers as demonstrated in the act where she greeted them unemotionally regardless of the fact that she knew that it was the members of their crew who had murdered her son. She even cooks them dinner. However, the climax of her strength is demonstrated when she plans to kills the Prussian soldiers with the main objective of revenging the death of her son (OverDrive 1). As she prepared them dinner, she carefully watched them while thinking of the best way to exert the revenge to an extent that she asked for their names so that their mothers could also know that their dear ones had been murdered and feel the same pain she felt.
Mother Savage strength is also proven by the fact that she did not fear for the magnitudes of her acts as regardless of the fact that her actions were severe, she openly admitted to setting the soldiers on fire. The physically and psychologically strong woman as portrayed in the beginning of the poem turns out to be deliberate being fully blinded by grief and sorrow that triggers her to dwell on vengeance. This is evidenced by the fact that after the act, the old woman sat down calm very satisfied with her acts as people came to witness the causes of the fire in her cottage. Even when she understood the consequences of her actions, she still stayed calm and awaited her death peacefully having the satisfaction that she had been successful in her endeavor of revenging the death of her dear son (Maupassant n.p). The will to take her last breathe for the honor of her son does not only demonstrate a mother’s love but also extreme strength in that she is willing to undergo the wrath of execution.
This paper aimed at examining Mother Savage’s character and the same time exploring the explicit examples that exemplifies her strength. There are various instances in the poem that reveals Mother Savage’s strength. For instance, her ability to live in isolation after the death of her husband and even after her son joined the army without empathy from her neighbors shows a lot of strength especially when one considers her age. Additionally, Mother Savage demonstrates admirable strength when she copes well with the death of her son. Regardless of the fact that she loved him so much, she did not cry upon receiving the sad news. Rather, she stood motionless and plans on the best way to avenge his death. Her strength is also confirmed when she enthusiastically proclaimed murdering the four young soldiers living in her house. Even though she knew the rage awaiting her, she still had the strength to articulate her actions calmly.
Work Cited

Maupassant Guy De “Short Stories,: Part14”. Ebooks.adelaide.edu.au. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.retrived from: https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/maupassant/guy/m45s/part14.html
Maupassant, Guy . Mother Sauvage. , 2014. Internet resource.
Maupassant, Guy . The Entire Original Maupassant Short Stories. Lanham: Start Classics, 2012. Internet resource.

OverDrive “Mother Sauvage”.. N.p.. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.retrieved from: https://www.overdrive.com/media/1678439/mother-sauvage
Western Argus,. “Woman’s Revenge. – Clever War Captures. – Western Argus (Kalgoorlie, WA : 1916 – 1938) – 2 Jan 1917”. Trove. N.p., 1917. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.. Retrieved from: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/33800948#

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“Mother Sauvage” by Guy de Maupassant. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from https://essaylab.com/essays/mother-sauvage-by-guy-de-maupassant

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