Two Little Soldiers
Exercise: Question & Answers
Understanding the text
Answer the following questions.
a. Why do the two soldiers spend their free time on Sundays away from the barracks out in the countryside?
→ There is no other place that makes them feel like home for these two soldiers. So every Sunday, they spend their free time outside of the barracks in the countryside.
b. Why does the girl become the topic of conversation for these soldiers?
→ Due to the fact that two soldiers have fallen in love with her, the young girl becomes the topic of conversation for them.
c. Why does deception enter into their friendship?
→ Luc pursues the girl, who is unknown to Jean, with vigour. Their friendship became deceptive as a result of this.
d. Do you think that Luc is a betrayer of friendship?
→ Luc, in my perspective, is a traitor for betraying Jean’s trust. He goes out of the barracks twice without informing Jean, all to meet the rural girl that he and Jean both love. Jean is devastated by Luc’s behavior. So Luc is a betrayer.
e. What is the cause of suicide of Jean? Do you think that it was the only release of his love?
→ Jean was jealous of Luc’s relationship with the milkmaid. Jean committed suicide as a result of being betrayed by his buddy Luc and losing his love.
Reference to the context
a. What is the central theme of the story?
→ The central theme of the story is love- friendship incompatibility. The plot revolves on a triangle romance that ends in an unexpected way. Transformation, unhappiness, struggle, betrayal, and jealousy all go hand in hand in this story.
b. “What are you doing here? Are you watching the grass grow?”
i. Who is the speaker?
→ The speaker is the milkmaid.
ii. What does the word “here” indicate?
→ “Here” means the place where the two soldiers visit every weekend.
iii. Who does “you” refer to?
→ “You” refers to two soldiers.
c. “He leaned–he–he was leaning–so far over– that his head carried him away–and–he–fell– he fell—-“
i. Who is the speaker?
→ The speaker is Luc.
ii. Why is the speaker speaking with interruption?
→ Afraid about Jean’s death, the speaker speaks with interruptions.
iii. What does he mean when he says “he–fell–he fell—“?
→ He means that Jean fell into the river.
d. Two Little Soldiers can be viewed as a series of dramatic scenes. Describe the story as a tragedy.
→ There is a terrible event that ends the short story “Two Little Soldiers,” a strange and dramatic love triangle story. Two close friends are at odds because of the milkmaid. Own friend’s unethical and deceptive behavior has caused Jean to suffer greatly.
In the story, the tension occurs when the girl embraces Luc passionately, without paying attention to Jean, without even realising that he is present. At this time, Jean learns the reason why Luc takes leaves frequently and borrows money from Jean but provides no explanation. Luc and the girl disappear into the woods for a long time after they go to care for the cow. There is another passionate kiss when they return and the girl has refused to give him any milk that day. This makes Jean very sad as he lost both his love and betrayed by his own best friend that he commits suicide. Luc stays in sorrow as his close friend dies. Hence, the story ends with tragedy.
e. What is the setting and style of the story?
→ ‘Two Little Soldiers’ takes place in France’s rural town of Courbevoie. A mental and emotional war is ongoing despite the absence of an external war. In this story, the author employs a highly realistic writing style. Because he had spent much of his life in the military, he had a strong interest in love and relationships.
f. How would you describe the conflict between the friends?
→ Conflicts occur often in love triangle relationships. There are a variety of types of conflicts. There are occasions when disagreements go too far, and there are instances when disagreements develop into long- term jealousy and hatred. Here in this story, we discover tension from person to person. Milkmaid’s affinity to both little soldiers is palpable. They start talking about her all the time.
Deception enters the friendship between the two friends. This dispute is solely the result of Luc’s deceitful behaviour and the actions of the milkmaid. When Jean learns of their relationship, he becomes enraged and envious of both partners. In his opinion, his close buddy Luc has deceived and betrayed him. The tension is shown in this scene in an understated manner. It’s easy to see Jean’s internal struggle. The underlying tension ultimately led to Jean’s demise.
Reference beyond the text
a. Is it good to have conflict between friendship and love? Is it morally good that a person and his best friend can love the same person?
→ Having friendship and love at conflict isn’t healthy since friendship and love really are crucial relationships for a person. Laughter and good times are fostered through friendship, which helps to ease tension and pain. Friends are invaluable because they colorify one’s life. They make one more self aware because they shine a light on positive and bad characteristics. Similarly, loved ones will be there for one another no matter what.
If two people are madly in love with the same third person, problems are almost certain to arise. If their intentions are sincere toward the person they are interested in, two individuals communicating their feelings is not immoral. But, they should openly communicate and confess about it in a frank manner in order to come up with a solution while controlling their emotions. Otherwise, the result could be as hazardous as in this story.
b. How would you describe the triangular love?
→ Triangular love, as the name implies, occurs when three individuals fall in love with one another or two at one at the same moment. In such a love triangle, one person’s dishonesty generates problems for the other two people. Such love can be described using the characteristics like friendship, ardent love, unhappiness, betrayal and jealousy.
Two Little Soldiers is a tragic story written by Guy de Maupassant. Luc Le Ganidec and Jean Kerderen are two French soldiers who habitually spend their free time on Sundays away from the barracks, in the countryside.
One Sunday, they meet a kind village girl who gives them cow-milk. After that, they meet her every Sunday and they also bring gifts for her. Both of the soldiers have fallen in love with her.
But one day, Luc Le Granidec borrows money from his fellow soldier Jean so he can take a day off. The next Sunday, the other soldier, Jean, sees that the girl and Luc’s relationship is much more than just friends. Jean feels extreme heartbreak and sadness due to friend’s betrayal and their relationship and he eventually suicides. After a close friend’s death, Luc feels hopeless, and he became emotionally unstable.