Boule de Suif

by

Guy de Maupassant

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Cornudet, a traveler in the carriage to Havre, is a ruddy, red-bearded French democrat. He is the only single man traveling from Rouen to Havre, and the only politician, openly opposing Napoleonic imperialist rule and excited for the return of a French Republic. Maupassant shows, though, that although Cornudet is supposed to have a revolutionary mindset, he is still opportunistic and selfish like many of the others. He did assist in building defenses around Rouen, but then he retreated into the city as soon as the Prussians came (he never fought). He loves to drink and talk politics, but he has never really sacrificed anything for his country. He neither stands up for Miss Rousset nor shares food in the carriage with her once the trip recommences. Ultimately, Cornudet is a narcissistic character, full of hot air.
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Cornudet Character Timeline in Boule de Suif

The timeline below shows where the character Cornudet appears in Boule de Suif. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Boule de Suif
Gender, Power, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
...lung disease. Besides these nuns, there are two single travelers: a man and a woman, Cornudet and Miss Elizabeth Rousset. Cornudet is immediately identified as a democrat, angering and irritating the... (full context)
Class Division in Wartime Theme Icon
Exploitation and Class Hierarchy  Theme Icon
Cornudet, too, draws the married men together against his rabble-rousing democratic ideas. The Count discusses the... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Cornudet, however, at least has rum. He offers it to the group, but everybody coldly refuses... (full context)
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Miss Rousset then offers her food to the two nuns, who also eagerly accept. Cornudet decides to join in and they enjoy a sort of picnic in the carriage while... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
Class Division in Wartime Theme Icon
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Hearing her story, Cornudet adopts a smug smile, as though he himself had fought a Prussian. He gives a... (full context)
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...who looks right through him. Although they are closest to the door, Miss Rousset and Cornudet leave the carriage last. Miss Rousset is dismayed and even a little “disgusted” at her... (full context)
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...initial alarm, the travelers enjoy a merry meal, full of cider and wine and, for Cornudet, beer—the drink of revolutionary democrats.  (full context)
Class Division in Wartime Theme Icon
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...a point about how countries, when at war, treat soldiers “as if they were game.” Cornudet and Mrs. Follenvie agree on something substantial: that the kings and rulers of empire who... (full context)
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...gone to bed. Mr. Loiseau sees Miss Rousset appear in the corridor—then, he also sees Cornudet. The two are outside Miss Rousset’s room, and she seems to be pushing Cornudet away.... (full context)
Wealth and Hypocrisy  Theme Icon
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...that the Prussian officer wants to sleep with her. The group responds with total indignation. Cornudet even breaks his glass. But the next morning, everyone’s shock has worn off and the... (full context)
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...admires each other, and starts to drink heavily. Even the nuns share in a toast. Cornudet is the only traveler not wildly partying, and he leaves the room in a huff... (full context)
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Mrs. Loiseau mutters that Miss Rousset “weeps for shame.” Then Cornudet begins to hum the French national anthem. The carriage grows dark, as nobody is interested... (full context)