Guy de Maupassant is quite possibly the greatest French short story writer of all time. Much of the material that helped inspire his pessimistic writing came from the many events in his life like his overbearing mother, his Norman peasant life, the Franco-Prussian War , his time working as a public servant,and the fashionable life of Paris.
According to his mother, Maupassant was born at the Chateau de Miromesniel, Dieppe in 1850; however, these claims are often times disputed. The marriage between his parents was very unstable, and when Maupassant was eleven, they separated. At this time, he lived with his mother, who was a controlling and overbearing woman. She was always concerned about social appearances and had enduring self-delusions about the past. Her personality and character helped Maupassant create a typical woman archetype and many recurring themes in his writing. He grew up in Normandy,and his time here helped influence his writings about the Normandy people and the peasant lifestyle.
In 1869, Maupassant studied law in Paris, the fashionable lifestyle there affected his writing. Many people say that all of Maupassant’s fictional writing was influenced by his life. Paris is also the setting of The Necklace where the fashionable and vain lifestyle plays a major role in the story. At the age of twenty, Maupassant was enlisted in the Franco-Prussian War , and after this embarrassingly short war, he returned to Paris.
In 1872 Maupassant served as a civil servant for the Ministry of Martine affairs and the Ministry of Education for eight years. It was during this time that he published his first stories. In the 1880’s, he prodigiously wrote about 300 short stories, six novels, three travel books and a book of verse.
When he was twenty-six, Maupassant acquired syphilis from a prostitute, which made him crazier and crazier as years went by. He used to be an athletic and attractive young man, but after acquiring syphilis, it caused hair to fall out and gave him open sores on his body. Maupassant tried to kill himself by cutting his throat in 1892, and after that incident, he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for the remaining year of his life.