Literary Analysis Practice – “The Thief” by Guy De Maupassant


This resource is designed as a guided practice activity for students learning the in’s-and-out’s of literary analysis using Guy De Maupassant’s short story, “The Thief.”

With some very brief notes on the central text and some notes on the process of literary analysis, this is a resource that explains itself to the student – which makes it a good resource for independent study, early college homework assignment, home school course work, or supplemental summer reading for high school students.

The text for this resource is a 1,900 word story by 19th century writer, Guy De Maupassant. This is a nearly ideal story for teaching literary analysis skills because (1) it’s very short yet complex in its themes and (2) it’s just challenging enough in its vocabulary and syntax to stretch some students without breaking them or boring them. The center of the story is an illicit love affair and that’s always great for generating student interest.

The full text of the short story, “The Thief,” is included here and in the resource (it’s in the public domain, so no copyright issues).

The resource is designed and formatted to be used electronically, though much of the content can be used in the classroom on a projector or printed out.


· Notes

— A brief background on the author and story

— Tips on Reading Strategies

· The Literary Analysis Process – A Concise Overview

· “The Thief” – Text of the Story

· Study Questions

— Comprehension

— Literary Analysis Terms: Allusion, Figurative Language, Frame Story, Irony

— Analysis and Interpretation

· Reflections on De Maupassant’s “The Thief” (An 800 word analysis of the story for students to read to help trigger some interpretive ideas and push students past the initial, first-read interpretation of the text)

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