The Odyssey of a Prostitute (Maupassant)

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The Odyssey of a Prostitute
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man saved a young prostitute from a police roundup, and she shared her tragic life story with him, revealing the harsh realities of her existence.

One evening, a man was walking down the street when he noticed prostitutes waiting in the shadows, trying to attract clients. As he continued walking, he saw a group of them running away, fearing a police roundup. Suddenly, a young woman grabbed his arm, begging him to save her.

The Narrator — a man who saved a young prostitute from a police roundup; compassionate, curious.

Save me, sir, save me, don’t leave me.

He agreed to help her, and they managed to avoid the police.

The Prostitute — young woman forced into prostitution; not yet 20, fading beauty, desperate, and sad.

The woman asked if he would go home with her, but he refused. She became emotional and started to cry, so he asked her about her life.

It’s not very pleasant, if you only knew.

She told him her story of how she ended up in this situation. She had been a servant in a small town, but after an incident with her employer, she fled to a larger city. There, she struggled to find work and eventually turned to prostitution to survive.

She explained how she initially targeted older men, as they were more likely to provide her with money and gifts. However, her luck took a turn for the worse when one of her clients, a wealthy older man, died during a dinner with her. She was sent to prison for a short time and then moved to Paris, where she continued her life as a prostitute.

After hearing her story, the man felt sympathy for her but still refused to go home with her. They parted ways, and he watched her disappear into the shadows, feeling a deep sadness for her and the life she was forced to lead.