A Report for an Academy, by Franz Kafka, and Boule de Suif, by Guy de Maupassant

These two short stories came in the same little book. I was actually just interested in Boule de Suif, so Kafka’s was a bonus. Boule de Suif is a short story I wanted to read for a while, because, apparently, is a must for every naturalism enthusiast as myself. Placed in France right after the end of the French-Prussian war, we found a group of characters that were trying to run away from their town, before the Prussian arrive and take control of it. Those characters are three wealthy marriages, a couple of nuns, a fervent admirer of the Revolution and Boule de Suif, a prostitute, which for the three “respectable” ladies, was quite a scandal and an offense to travel in such company. Boule de Suif came in help of the group in two occasions: the first, when she offered her food to her starving companions, in a journey that was much longer than expected. Everyone was very grateful and seemed to finally came to terms with her presence. When they arrived to the next town, it was already occupied by the Prussians and they’re forced to stay there until Boule de Suif agrees to spend the night with an official. She refuses, being a fervent French patriot and publicly opposed to the Prussians. Her companions don’t understand her point of view. What difference does it make for a prostitute? Well, I’m not going to spoil the end for you, but after I read this story, which present such a complex matter in such a short presentation, I quite understood why is such a classic.

In A Report for an Academy, an ape named Red Peter, who has learned to behave like a human, presents to an academy the story of how he effected his transformation. For me, it was a “meh” reading, I was not really interested in it.