The Devil by Guy de Maupassant

Running head: THE DEVIL The Devil 12th, March, The Devil Honore Bontemps&nbsp.mother aged 92 years was dying from Norman avariciousness. By her deathbed were the doctor and Honore. Honore was going to harvest his wheat even as his mother suffered in her last days on earth as the doctor claimed. The sick mother let her son to go on harvesting but the doctor objected the idea. The doctor sought to have La Rapet, the old washerwoman take care of the sick woman if Honore had to go.
However, the protagonist La Rapet would only agree to the contract on seeing the sick woman. She proposed 6 Francs for the contract as she thought the sick woman would not last for more than two days and hence she would make some profits. Honore had to agree to the proposal and left La Rapet to do her job. La Rapet ironically called the priest to give Honore’s mother Holy sacrament that the priest did. The Priest was respect and equally feared. To the disappointment of La Rapet and fun of Honore, his mother did not die as first as La Rapet anticipated. As a result, La Rapet started narrating and acting devil-like stories to scare Honore’s mother to death. The sick woman was disturbed and died three days and one night since La Rapet started caring for her. As such, La Rapet made a profit of twenty sows out of Honore (Maupassant, 2012).
The most prevalent theme in this story is theme of poverty. It is overwhelmingly evident from the story that the main actors were so poverty stricken that they had to gamble and trade over a life of a loved one. It can indeed be argued that the title, devil, depicts poverty as the real devil. When the doctor asked Honore to stay with his sick and ailing mother, he ironically argued that he must attend to the wheat in the field. He actually asked his mother for permission and the ailing but protagonist woman agreed since she understood the importance of attending to the wheat farm. She knew it was their only source of livelihood. Ironically, Honore could not spare some time with his mother as a show of last respect although he expected her not to last long.
The theme of poverty is best demonstrated in Honore bargain for La Rapet services “How much will you ask to stay with her till the end? You know that I am not rich, and I cannot even afford to keep a servant girl” (Maupassant, 2012). Certainly, this is perhaps the worst it could get for the family. However, it was also ironical that the family could get to such abject poverty after the woman lived and worked hard for 92 years. The protagonist nurse had two prices for her services, one price for the rich and another for the poor. She actually declined to set the price for the service until she saw the ailing woman, which further develops theme of poverty.
The worst-case scenario, depicting theme of poverty, came when the nurse began frightening the ailing woman with stories of the devils so that she would die quickly. Accordingly, “Terrified, with an insane expression on her face, the dying woman made a superhuman effort to get up and escape. she even got her shoulders and chest out of bed. then she fell back with a deep sigh” (Maupassant, 2012). The poverty driven and protagonist nurse had to kill the ailing woman so that she would make profit out of the deal. It was so ironical that the person entrusted to protect the ailing woman at her last hours actually turned a murderer.
A lot can be learned from the story. From the story plot, poverty is the source of all evils since people will do anything to make a living, even when it means to kill a loved one.
Reference
&nbsp.Maupassant, G. (2012). “The devil.” Retrieved from http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/gdemaupassant/bl-gdemaup-devil.htm