Short Story in Focus:A Piece of String by Guy de Maupassant

A Piece of String

The Author

Henri Rene Guy de Maupassant, a famous 19th-century French writer, was born on August 5, 1850, near Tourville-sur-Arques in Normandy France where he spent most of his early life. He lived a life full of twists and turns. Among his popular works are “Boule De Suif” (“Ball of Fat”, 1880), Une Vie (A Woman’s Life, 1883), about the frustrating existence of a Norman wife and Bel-Ami (1885), which depicts an unscrupulous journalist. To read more about the author just “Click Me”

The Story

A Piece of  String is probably one of the greatest stories ever crafted by a writer.The  story is about a man (Maitre Hauchecome) who was judged wrongly or was charged for something he didn’t do,because of someone’s false account. He lived in great shame and carried it to his grave, for no one believed the words of a man who’s living a rat’s life.

He died in the first days of January, and in the delirium of his death struggles he kept claiming his innocence, reiterating:

“A piece of string, a piece of string–look–here it is, M’sieu the Mayor.”

In addition, the story touches one of the social problems that is very evident here in our country, discrimination. Read the story if we share the same perspective.

Strategies in Teaching a Short Story

Have you experienced having students sleeping while discussing a story?If your response is yes. We’re sharing the same sentiment. Before, I am scolding the student who slept during discussion . I just realized that maybe am part of the blame. The reason was  sticking to the old ways that bore the students. So, I  adapted the following strategies:

  • Accelerated or individualized math: a system of having students work at different levels individually in  one classroom. They progress by passing tests for each unit and move at their own pace.
  • Acting out a story: Having the students act out a part of a story. Using physical movement to demonstrate and improve comprehension of the story. Could also be used on a smaller scale with puppets, etc. but includes physical movement of some sort.
  • Adjusted speech: teacher changes speech patterns to increase student comprehension. Includes facing the students, paraphrasing often, clearly indicating most important ideas, limiting asides, etc.
  • Book on tape: Using books on tape to enhance reading development in some way. Having students use the tapes to go over the story after partner reading, to make sure they
    have not missed a vocabulary word, etc.
  • Chunking and questioning aloud: The process of reading a story aloud to a group of students and stopping after certain blocks of text to ask the students specific questions about their comprehension of the story and some key features of the text.
  • Collecting anonymous student generated questions: During, or at the end of a lesson, have students write any questions that they might have on a card. Collect the cards and answer the questions without identifying a student. Students might be more willing to ask questions they have anonymously, instead of in front of their peers.
  • Combine kinesthetic and phonemic awareness: Associating different movements with phonemes in order to anchor sounds during practice drills in order to build phonemic awareness and remembering of sounds by the students.


Glossary Of Teaching Strategies


~ by ischoolsjapeth on November 19, 2009.

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