Mateo Falcone

7. Mateo Falcone By Prosper Mérimée. Matthews, Brander. 1907. The Short-Story (

Again, a powerful short story that you will never forget.  This time we will read about Corsican culture in the early 19th century.  Corsica is an island in the Mediiterranean Sea, an island controlled by France.  It is located just north of Sardenia, west of Italy and south of France.  It is a picturesque and stunning island with excellent food and wine.  Many tourists visit Corsica every year.  Perhaps you will visit one day.

After reading the short story, you will answer the following questions in the same way that you answered the questions on “The Griffin and the Minor Canon.”  Your answers will be interpretive but again, you must provide evidence (“quotations”) from the text to support your answers.  I will again provide one answer.  Early in the story when the narrator introduces us (readers) to Mateo, we learn that he is a tough guy

Why are we told that Mateo may have killed an unarmed rival (a rival for his wife)?  

          The narrator tells us very early in the story that Mateo is a tough guy.  He says,

Mateo Falcone had earned a great reputation. He was said to be a loyal friend, but a dangerous enemy; in other respects he was obliging and gave alms, and he lived 

            at peace with everybody in the district of Porto-Vecchio. But it is told of him that when at Corte, where he had found his wife, he had very quickly freed himself of a 

            rival reputed to be equally formidable in love as in war; at any rate people attributed to Mateo a certain gunshot which surprised his rival while in the act of shaving 

            before a small mirror hung his window.

           So, we are told that he killed his rival early in the story because we will then know that Mateo is capable of violence when he feels threatened or when he feels his reputation for integrity is at                   stake.  That fact helps us better understand why he did what he did to his son, Mateo, at the end of the story.

Here are your questions:

1. Why does the narrator show that Giuseppa and Mateo have different (opposing) responses to the capture of the outlaw, Gianetto Sanpiero?

2.  Does the narrator want us to believe that hospitality in the maquis overrides any other? (look at the beginning of the story for factual information… it’s there!)

3.  Would Mateo have killed Fortunato if his son had not accepted the watch?

4.  Does the author want us to believe that the claim of hospitality overrides any other?

5.  Are we meant to excuse Fortunato’s greed because he is only ten years old?

6.  Why does the Mateo insist that Fortunato say all the prayers he knows?

7.  Is the adjutant trying to get Fortunato in trouble when he tells Mateo that he wouldn’t have caught the outlaw without the boy’s help?

8.  According to the author, has justice been done when Mateo executes his son?

These questions will be turned in with your final essay.