Duchoux – Summary | Major (Optional) English Class 12

Guy De Maupassant

Duchoux

Maupassant’s story “Duchoux” is about a self-centered old man named Barone Mardiane who values position more than family. This story implies that modern civilization has separated man from his true self or nature. Modern men only crave for comfort, money, and sex. They have forgotten the values of family bonds and love.

Barone Mardiane, an aristocratic old bachelor is fed up of with his monotonous life. He feels lonely and sad because he is bored with the same friends, gambling and the same activities. In loneliness, he is haunted by the memory of his illegitimate son. He wishes to spend the rest of his life with him and his grandchildren. In his young age, he had a short romantic relationship with the wife of the governor of a colony. A son was born secretly.

The mother died of tuberculosis after three years. Baron had secretly arranged for the boy’s education and marriage. Barone goes to meet his son’s house. When he reaches there, he meets a boy, lifts him and tries to kiss him. But the smell of garlic coming out from his mouth prevents him. Barone notices that everything the son has does not suit his standard. The servants are dirty, the room is dark and dirty, his son Duchoux is bald-headed, shabbily dressed and even daughter-in-law is dirty and shabbily dressed. The room is filled with the odor of garlic. Though Duchoux resembled in many ways with his mother, Barone dislikes him. When the boy comes and calls Duchoux ‘father’ in a Southern tone, Barone is struck by the word. He hates the rural and uncultured environment of his son’s house and returns to Paris.

Important Questions:

  1. What is the reason behind the Baron’s rejection of his son, whom he had longed to see so much?
  2. What is a son according to the story?
  3. Does the story imply that modern civilization has alienated man from his true self or nature? Give reasons for your answer.
  4. What is the theme of this story?

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