Maupassant’s The Horla is a Portrayal of Human Frailties and a Critique of Anthropocentrism: An Ecocritical/Deep Ecological Perspective

Anthropocentrism, Anthropomorphic, Ecojustice, Guy de Maupassant, The Horla, Ecocriticism, Ecosophy, Deep Ecology, Nature Writing.


  • Mohammad Afzal Hossain
    Lecturer, Department of English, Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University (MBSTU), Bangladesh
June 30, 2021


This research analyzes how nature, human and non-human, have been represented in Guy de Maupassant’s short story The Horla through an ecocritical lens. In its fundamental form, the ecocritical theoretical framework investigates how nature, landscape, and places have been represented in a literary text and explore how human and non-human interrelations have been portrayed. In this story, Maupassant has portrayed nature as a positive, healing force and delved into the anthropocentric and anthropomorphic constructivist attitude to non-human, invisible, emergent being, in this context, the Horla. The narrator’s anthropocentric world view has denied justice toward Horla to exist, fearing he will shake the human-centred ecological hierarchy. According to the Deep Ecological philosophical position or ecosophy, all things, including spiritual being that cannot be seen, are interconnected and have their necessary position in various modalities of Nature. Denial of the existence of a new emerging entity and the inability to schematize and adopt it will destroy the new being and the human race itself. The paper has deployed two major research methods; textual analysis and archival method. Apart from these two methods, discourse analysis method has also been used where deemed relevant and necessary. The paper finds that The Horla is not merely a generic horror story that has portrayed the inner psychological state of the narrator in a fantastique manner but also an expository one of human frailties and human denial of a being that deemed more intelligent and perfect than the human being, fearing to lose the anthropocentric dominance.