1. Describe the physical setting of the story as found in the exposition of the story. How is the reality of Madame Loisel’s physical surroundings in contrast to those in her fantasies?
2. How does the time period affect the real life and the fantasy life that Madame Loisel lives or would like to live?
3. The exposition also provides much characterization of Madame Loisel and her husband. List two adjectives to describe an essential part of Madame Loisel’s personality and an example for each to support it. Do the same for her husband.
5. When does the rising action of the story begin? List events that occur as part of the rising action.
6. Part of the author’s style is to write with parallel structures, a repetition of grammatical structures. In the third paragraph second line, the author uses a parallel structure to list the items Madame Loisel grieves over. Find two other sentences in the first five paragraphs that contain a parallel structure.
7. What types of things does Madame Loisel seem to value in life? What do these things motivate her to do?
8. Describe Madame Loisel’s character transformation that occurs at the dance. Why does this happen?
9. What is the crisis of the story? How does this crisis affect both Madame Loisel and her husband? Provide proof for each.
10. What motivates the Loisels to go into debt instead of telling the truth?
11. A contrivance is an illogical or unlikely action or event in a plot. What is a contrivance in the story?
12. What is the climax of the story?
13. Describe the falling action and resolution.
14. Situational irony occurs when something turns out the opposite of what is expected. Describe the situational irony that occurs in this story.
15. This story has a moral or a lesson to be learned. What type of lessons do you think the author is trying to teach us about life?
16. Madame Loisel transforms throughout the story. Describe how she was at the beginning, at the end, and what made her change.
17. The author, Guy de Maupassant, has been called a misogynist by contemporary scholars. What evidence in the story supports this idea?