The Kiss (Maupassant)

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The Kiss
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A woman received advice from her experienced aunt on the art of love and the importance of using kisses wisely to maintain a strong relationship with her husband.

A woman sought advice from her older aunt about her failing marriage. She was upset that her husband was leaving her and didn't know what to do. The aunt, who had experience in the art of love, believed that the woman's excessive affection might be the problem.

The Niece — young married woman; seeking advice on love and affection.
Collette — narrator; the niece's older aunt; experienced in love and relationships; wise, observant.

She explained that women have a powerful weapon in love, but they must know how to use it properly. "Man is gifted with physical strength, and he exercises force. Woman is gifted with charm, and she rules with caresses," Collette said, emphasizing the importance of charm and caresses for women.

The aunt went on to discuss the history of love and how it has shaped the world. She emphasized the importance of the kiss as the most perfect and divine sensation, capable of uniting two souls. However, she warned her niece that the value of a kiss is relative and can change depending on the circumstances.

Do you know whence comes our real power? From the kiss, the kiss alone! When we know how to offer and give up our lips we can become queens.

The aunt advised her niece to be careful not to abuse the power of the kiss, as it could lose its value if used inappropriately. She shared examples of when not to kiss her husband, such as in public or when he was busy with a task. She also recalled a specific incident where the niece had demanded a kiss from her husband while he was struggling to carry heavy logs, causing him discomfort and annoyance.

Collette pointed out the common mistake women make in relationships, which is not understanding the nuances of affection and how to use it effectively. "We have the power of making ourselves adored, but we lack one tiny thing, understanding of the various shades of caresses, the subtle feeling for what is excessive in the manifestations of our tender feelings," she said.

The aunt concluded her advice by emphasizing the importance of tact and timing in expressing affection. She urged her niece to be more considerate and mindful of her husband's needs and feelings, as love is a delicate thing that can be easily offended by thoughtless actions.