Two Little Shoulder Summary

“Two Little Soldiers” was written by a famous French writer, Gay de Maupassant. In this story, he shows a triangular love with a completely unexpected twist at the end. This story shows the compatibility of friendship and romantic love with change, dissatisfaction, conflict, betrayal and jealousy. There were two little soldiers named Luc Le Ganidec and Jean Kerderen. They went for a walk on their weekends to be fresh. They went to the spot at the entrance of the little forest of Champioux because that

place reminded their home and they did not become happy in other places. They carried a piece of bologna, bread and a quart of wine to have together. They talked and had their stuffs and enjoyed their free time over there. On the way, they enjoyed the scenic beauty and thought that was like their village. The river which they crossed also reminded their village river and they stopped and leaned on the railing to see the river. They found two bricks, which they had hidden in a shrub. They made a little fire of dry branches and roasted their sausages on the ends of their knives. They enjoyed a lot in their companionship.

One day, they saw a milkmaid passing in front of them. They did not speak with her but they were very glad to see her. She also walked in front of them every Sunday. She noticed them to be on the same spot every Sunday and asked them whether they always came there. Luc replied her with interruption. So they met her weekly. Both Luc and Jean started attracting with her unknowingly. She also allured with Luc. One day, she gave milk to Luc only and she even kissed him before Jean. Luc even on his working days, Tuesday and Friday went to meet her. He sometimes asked money with Jean and took presents to her which he kept secret from Jean. Jean also loved her but he could not express it. It was his one-side love and the milkmaid did not know about it.

These all activities made Jean unhappy, frustrate and jealous. He even did not express his feelings with his friend, Luc. So he could not tolerate it. Like other days, that day also, they were returning to the barracks. Like every Sunday, they stopped on the bridge to see the flowing water in the river. Jean leaned his body over the railing of the bridge farther and farther as if he was going to drink water from there bending his head towards the river. Jean fell in the water and he was flown with the current water. Luc looked at him as far as he could see; finally, Jean was disappeared. At last, with interruption, fear and shock, he told all about the accident in the barracks. Then he could not speak any more because his throat choked with emotion.

The story presents a triangular love among Luc, Jean and milkmaid which causes an unexpected tragic twist at the end that makes us sympathize Jean for his decision.

Two Little Shoulder Questions And Answer: Understanding the text

Answer these questions. 

a.Why do the two soldiers spend their free time on Sundays away from the barracks out in the countryside?

Ans: The two soldiers spend their free time on Sundays away from the barracks out in the countryside because the place reminds them of their home and they can spend their weekly holiday peacefully.

b.Why does the girl become the topic of conversation for these soldiers ?

Ans: The girl becomes the topic of conversation for these soldiers because both of them like the girl and fall in love with her.

c.Why does deception enter into their friendship ? 

Ans: Deception enters into their friendship because both of them start falling in love with her. Luc starts

visiting the girl even on Tuesday and does not return until ten O’clock. Similarly, on Friday also he borrows some money from one of his friends and goes to visit her. His activities make Jean worry and jealousy. So, he thinks that his friend is deceiving him.

d.Do you think that Luc is a betrayer of friendship ? 

Ans: Yes, I think Luc is a betrayer of friendship because if he is not a betrayer, he will share everything with his friend, Jean that he loves the girl and he goes to meet her even on the working days, i.e. Tuesday and Friday. Or No, I don’t think that Luc is a betrayer because love is not the matter of reveal to everyone. It is the matter of secrecy. Moreover, Jean also loves her and he has not shared it with Luc, either.

e.What is the cause of suicide of Jean? Do you think that it was the only release of his love? Ans: The main cause of suicide of Jean is the betrayal nature of his friend, Luc. The love affair between Luc and the girl creates deception and it enters into their friendship. I don’t think it was only the release of his love but also the release of his jealousy, unsuccessful condition and frustration in his one-sided love.

Reference to the context

a. What is the central theme of the story ? 

Ans: The central theme of the story is about a bizarre triangular love among Luc, Jean and Milkmaid which brings an unexpected, unpredictable and tragic consequence at the end. This story shows the compatibility of friendship and romantic love with change, discontent, conflict, betrayal and jealousy. So, love always does not bring a positive change and result; but it also brings a negative change and result. Love is not only the romantic way to be together. At the same time, it is a curse which can cause an unfavourable incident which is happened in Jean’s life.

b. “What are you doing here? Are you watching the grass grow?”

i. Who is the speaker? 

Ans: The milkmaid is the speaker.

ii.What does the word “here” indicate? “”?

Ans: The word “here” indicates the place where the two soldiers visit weekly.

iii. Who does “you” refer to? 

Ans: “You” refers to the two little 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?

Ans: Luc Le Ganidec is the speaker.

ii. Why is the speaker speaking with interruption? 

Ans: The speaker is speaking with interruption because he has faced an unexpected and tragic situation of his friend, Jean. He cannot speak smoothly because he has a pain and fear in losing his friend.

ii. What does he mean when he says “he–fell– he fell—” ?

Ans: When he says “he-fell-he-fell” means his friend, Jean fell in the river. Or, it means his friend commits a suicide falling in the river.

d. Two Little Soldiers can be viewed as a series of dramatic scenes. Describe the story as tragedy. 

Ans: The story “Two Little Soldiers” can be viewed as a series of dramatic scenes. The story has presented a bizarre dramatic triangular love story which has been ended with an unexpected, unpredictable and tragic incident. Luc and Jean are good friends and work together in the same barracks. They go to visit the same place weekly because the place in the countryside reminds of their home. Entrance of the milkmaid in the place makes a turning point this story. Both of them start attracting and falling in love with her. She inclines towards Luc but he does not share it with Jean: So, we find jealousy, betrayal, romantic love with change, discontent as well as mental conflict in the story. Deception enters into their friendship. The milkmaid has created enmity in them. Luc goes to meet her even on working days, Tuesday and Friday keeping the matter secret with his friend. She has also ignored Jean. She serves milk to Luc and gives a sweet kiss to him in front of Jean which becomes the reason of jealousy, enmity and frustration in Jean. He cannot tolerate these all things occurring before his eyes. At last, being intolerable with the situation, he commits suicide falling in the river. It is unexpected, unpredictable and tragic demise of Jean even for the readers at the end of the story and they have the’ feeling of consolation and condolences upon him.

e. What is the setting and style of the story? 

Ans: The setting of the story is barracks from where the two little soldiers go to visit a place called Courbevoie every weekend, a town in the countryside of France. Most of the scenes are occurred there. From the background of their job, we can guess that there can be a killing or tragic momentum. The fight is not shown in the story; yet, the war is going on.

The author has used a reality-based style. The story sounds natural too as we may have seen and experienced this type of incident even in our life. As an ex-army, he wrote the stories related to the soldiers and war. He preferred to write about love affairs; may be an army, most of the time, has to be involved in wars rather than love affairs. So, he also prefers love.

f.How would you describe the conflict between the friends ?

Ans: The two friends, Luc and Jean were good friends. They used to talk informally. They went to spend their weekly holidays in the countryside. They used to take alcohol and other stuffs to have there. They enjoyed a lot in their friendship.

There came a twisting point in their friendship when the milkmaid appeared in the place. Both of them attracted to her and she also showed her inclination towards them. But she inclined more to Luc. Then Luc also became crazy in her love. He started meeting her even on working days Tuesday and Friday. He gave her the things but he did not share his love affair with his friend, Jean. Even the milkmaid also ignored him very much as she served milk to Luc. She kissed Luc before Jean. Jean thought that they were too much indifferent to him. Deception entered into their friendship. There raised the feeling of jealousy and enmity between them. They did not reveal their conflict; instead, they scorched in them, because of which Jean became restless and discontent with them. Jean could not tolerate his friend’s betrayal acts and commit suicide rather than having such a friend. Good friendship turns into betray because of the entrance of a girl. Generally, in triangular love, such a case can occur which is happened in this story, too.

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? 

Ans: It is definitely not good to have a conflict between friendship and love because friendship is a kind of relation with a person whom we can trust by our heart and can share our feelings like happiness, sorrows, and so on and so forth. That is why, it is said that a friend who helps in need is a friend indeed. Likewise, love is also a kind of feeling in which two hearts smear. Both relations have a kind of bonding of caring, loving and understanding each other. Actually, these relations are very necessary in one’s life because the friend and the lover can be a guide, adviser, source of inspiration and happiness for a success in our life. So, there should not be conflict between friendship and love. It is again definitely not morally good that a person and his friend can love the same person. For the sake of friendship only is good but if that is about love affair it is not good at all. This type of incident can occur in our life; in this case, we must understand the feeling of the person whom we love. If that person also has the same feeling towards us; then, we can build up our relation as the lovers. Otherwise, it is better to limit it only in friendship so that there will have a good relation with the both persons and will not occur any unfavourable situation in the future. It is better to be careful that triangular love can bring something unfavourable in the affairs.

b.How would you describe the triangular love ? 

Ans: The story “Two Little Soldiers” has shown about a bizarre triangular love with a completely unexpected twist at the end. The story has revealed the compatibility of friendship and romantic love with change, discontent, conflict, betrayal and jealousy. Deception enters into their friendship and turns their relation into silent and unexpressed enmity. The lovers become indifferent to Jean. An entrance of a girl/boy can be a matter of a seed of deception and enmity in friendship and that can create an unfavourable incident in one of the three’s life. Jean has also the same condition in the story. When two lovers are in romantic days, he is suffering from jealousy, discontent and restlessness and it leads him to commit suicide.

There is a rare case of successfulness in triangular love. It seems to be dangerous as it can take life. Thus, it is better not to involve in this type of love since deception and enmity can enter into the relationship anytime and anywhere.