The False Gems Discussion Questions

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Are your students reading Guy de Maupassant's 'The False Gems?' This is a moving literary piece that can get a good discussion going. Here you will find questions that will help your students work through the text together.

Reading The False Gems

If you are teaching a unit on short stories or stories with morals, Guy de Maupassant's The False Gems might be a good work to consider incorporating into your unit. This short story gets at themes such as the nature of authenticity, what it means to care about wealth and status, and the impact that loss can have on a person's life.

The False Gems is a short but complex tale, and your students will get more out of it if you give them a chance to discuss it with each other. A good literary discussion will help students learn from one another and make more meaning overall from their relationship to a text.

The questions in this lesson will help guide your class as they discuss The False Gems. The questions are intentionally open-ended and may not have right or wrong answers; their purpose is to get students going in a meaningful conversation together.

Questions About Characters

These questions will help your students talk meaningfully about the characters in The False Gems.

  • What do you think about Monsieur Lantin at the beginning of the story? What stands out to you about him and what do you like or dislike about his character?
  • How does Monsieur Lantin change and stay the same after his marriage? What do you think about how he treats his wife? What do you see happening to him within the marriage?
  • Talk about how Monsieur Lantin is impacted by his wife's death. What can we learn about his character from the way he responds to this loss?
  • What is the role of money, status, and wealth in Monsieur Lantin's psyche? How does he think about these phenomena? How does his status and profession impact the way he behaves and relates toward others?
  • How would you describe Monsieur Lantin's wife as a person? What are some of the major characteristics comprising her personality? What is your own personal reaction to her and why?
  • Who are some of the important secondary characters in the story and how do they respond to the main characters? What can we learn about the story and its messages from looking at some of these less important players?

Questions About Plot

Here, you will find questions oriented toward helping students work together to untangle the story's plot.

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