Imagery in Bel-Ami

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The Importance of Foreshadowing and Visual Imagery in Bel-Ami

Guy De Maupassant’s novel, Bel-Ami about a disheartened, poor former French soldier who becomes wealthy and powerful through corruption, coercion and most importantly exploitation of women presents the reader with a look in to the future from the very first chapters. Through close examination

Bored, discontented and feeling unfulfilled by his time as an NCO, Georges Duroy journeys to Paris in hopes of finding a better future. Although his parents wish for him to return to their countryside home, Georges has dreams of a fortune in Paris. He is not worried about how he will go about achieving such a fortune, for he knows that women are unable to resist him and it is evident in a several key passages how he will achieve this fortune. Exploitation as a means of success is appealing to Georges and only becomes more so when women are used as a means of exploitation

On page 62 Maupassant writes, “He was full of vague ideas of success, even though he could dimly imagine how he would achieve it; but he felt certain he would be given an opportunity and show himself able to exploit it.” This passage foreshadows Georges’ future ad rise to power. The exploitation which is mentioned early on is entirely embraced by Georges by the end of the novel, as we see him corruptively coerce his way to the top of the socioeconomic ladder by nothing more than pure exploitation.

In addition to having his sights set on a fortune, Georges also has hopes and dreams of falling in love with a beautiful woman of importance. Maupassant writes on page 63, “He used to imagine having a splendid love affair which would realize all his hopes at once. He would marry some banker’s or nobleman’s daughter whom he would meet in the street and sweep her off her feet on the spot.” Once again, we see the notion of exploitation and a search for a mobile socioeconomic ladder from early the novel.

In addition to the importance of...
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