Pierre and Jean is a naturalist or psycho-realist work written by Guy de Maupassant. Pierre and Jean are the sons of Gérôme Roland, a jeweller who has retired to Le Havre, and his wife Louise. Pierre works as a doctor, and Jean is a lawyer. It recounts the story of a middle-class French family whose lives are changed when Léon Maréchal, a deceased family friend, leaves his inheritance to Jean. This provokes Pierre to doubt the fidelity of his mother and the legitimacy of his brother. Pierre discovers that his theories about his brother's illegitimacy are correct when he finds and reads old letters that his mother and Léon Marechal had been sending to each other. This investigation sparks violent reactions in Pierre, whose external appearance vis a vis his mother visibly changes. In his anguish, most notably shown during family meals, he tortures her with allusions to the past that he has now uncovered. Meanwhile, Jean's career and love life improve over the course of the novel while Pierre's life gets significantly worse. Provoked by his brother's accusations of jealousy, Pierre reveals to Jean what he has learned. However, unlike Pierre, Jean offers his mother love and protection. The novel closes with Pierre’s departure on an oceanliner. Thus the novel is organised around the unwelcome appearance of a truth (Jean’s illegitimacy), its suppression for the sake of family continuity and the acquisition of wealth, and the expulsion from the family of the legitimate son.
Yvette is the daughter of a courtesan who serves men of wealth and status. She seems to be oblivious of how her mother makes money and why they are always in the presence of princes, dukes and barons. Only when she goes away to a holiday at the river, she realizes that the Baron Saval is engaging her mother in such activities and she suddenly feels dirty. She wants to get away from her fate and so tries to inveigle her mother into the idea of living as honest women. However, the Marquise refuses, and explains that they would never be able to survive as working women. That their life of luxury would be so horrifically reduced. Yvette seems to suddenly have no choice. She must kill herself. Through chloroform. So, she goes from pharmacist to pharmacist and collects small vials of it and eventually has a sufficient amount. Before she commits the act, she runs around the town with her mother's guests, making them silly things such as pretending to go to war, riding children's horses, making army noises. Instead of killing herself through chloroform, she accidentally induces a psychedelic trip, and she decides not to kill herself, but keeps on inducing trips instead. It was greatly described, the way she was so resolute on dying, and how quickly she changed her mind to just get high.