A Simple Heart and Other Stories Literary Elements

A Simple Heart and Other Stories Literary Elements


Short story, Realism

Setting and Context

A French servant girl in the late 1800s goes from working on farms to working for a well-off woman and her two children.

Narrator and Point of View

An omniscient third person narrator who describes many characters yet does not delve deeply into their emotions. Emotions are described more through actions than thoughts.

Tone and Mood

Calm, simple, uneventful, plain, normal, realistic, unexciting

Protagonist and Antagonist

Felicite is the protagonist and while she has no real antagonist, Mrs. Aubain seems at times to be her opposite. However, Felicite’s real enemies are the various losses she faces throughout the story, such as many deaths and the loss of opportunity.

Major Conflict

Felicite is a simple, hard-working servant who goes to work for a well-known woman. After many years, her mistress dies and Felicite is left alone in a degrading house and she does not know what to do with herself. At this point, we start to see serious physical and mental degradation of Felicite.


Felicite’s pet parrot, Loulou, dies. Felicite becomes more unhinged after this and at her death sees a parrot in the gates of heaven.


Felicite's bony, stiff physical appearance is described before we learn about her poor, troubled youth.


The relationship that Felicite has with her parrot is never fully relayed. We do not know if Felicite has had sexual thoughts about her pet parrot, Loulou.


Loulou becomes a religious idol for Felicite, acting as the Holy Spirit would for the average Christian worshipper.


The entire story is heavy with imagery. Nature plays a large part in this story, as does Felicite's physical depiction throughout the story. As the story progresses, Felicite, who already look as if she is made of wood, begins to limp. With the physical degradation of the house comes Felicite's physical and mental degradation, as well.


A common bird is the means by which Felicite is able to grasp the concept of religion.


Loulou, the parrot, in a way acts as Felicite's pet, lover, and child all in one.

Metonymy and Synecdoche



A flame is used to describe how Felicite views God's presence.

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