The two writers Isabel Allende and Guy de Maupassant both use the theme of revenge in many ways in their short stories ‘The school teacher’s guest’ and ‘Vendetta’.
Vendetta’s key theme appears to be revenge because of the title, the word Vendetta meaning ‘A bitter, destructive feud.’ Where as “The school teachers guest” seems, from its title, to be a pleasant story about a school teachers guest. The opening paragraphs of the stories are also different. The school teacher’s guest introduces the murder straight away by the schoolteacher Ines entering the pearl of the Orient and announcing to the character Turk that she had just cut off the head of one of her guests, Allende then goes back to explain why this happened. This is different in Vendetta as the murder does not happen until the very end and it isn’t until the middle of the story that we learn who the vendetta is for.
The revenge in Vendetta is also build up in a different way by setting a depressing scene and working gradually into the son’s murder and the widow’s grieving. It also builds up the widow training the dog Sï¿½millante to kill. This is different in the school teacher’s guest, as the murder is announced at the beginning, there is no build up and the killing of the man is more of an act of fate. The reason for the act of revenge is also described more thoroughly in the school teacher’s guest. The accidental murder of Ines’s son is told in lines 24-35 in great detail using phrases such as ‘drilling a black hole in the middle of his forehead through which his life rapidly escaped’. In Vendetta, Maupassant simply states ‘one evening, Antoine Saverini was treacherously stabbed in a quarrel by Nicolas Ravolati, who escaped that same night to Sardinia.’ This is a much shorted but not as thorough way to describe the main reason for the climax of the story.
One thing similar between the two stories is the scene in the aftermath of the son’s murder being described in great detail, although in the school teacher’s guest the act of revenge is almost committed by the towns people rather than swore by the victims mother. The aftermath in the school teachers guest is also more of a community parade, throwing mangoes and marching rather than weeping by the dead boys bedside as the widow does in Vendetta. We are also told more about the murder despite not knowing his name. We know that he is a truck driver and an outsider of Agua Santa. In Vendetta we know nothing of Nicolas Ravolati but his name which does not give him much character to hold a vendetta against.
Both Maupassant and Allende use revenge in different ways in their short stories but Allende describes the characters and the reasons for revenge more thoroughly even if she doesn’t set the scene as well. In this way I found the school teachers guest used revenge in better and more high-quality ways.