Maupassant references the Western European frame-narrative genre quite broadly in "Boule de Suif," but the most fruitful comparisons to be made are with the three most influential avatars of that genre, namely Boccaccio's Decameron, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Marguerite de Navarre's Heptameron.
Maupassant's "Boule de Suif" recalls this frame-narrative tradition in a number of ways.
While Boccaccio, Chaucer and Marguerite de Navarre all stage the collaboration of their respective societies through storytelling, "Boule de Suif" suggests the disintegration of French collective identity precisely through its evocation of frame-tale structure.
"Boule de Suif" begins in a Rouen ravaged and humiliated by the Prussian forces.
Finally, we meet Boule de Suif, only later to be identified by her given name, Elisabeth Rousset.
Boule de Suif takes place immediately after the Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War.
Bottle de Suif is the only one who has had the foresight to bring provisions, which she shares with the other passengers, whose hunger overcomes their reluctance to enter into relations with such a fallen creature.
Although they have prior authority from a Prussian general to continue their journey, the local officer refuses them that permission, unless Boule de Suif agrees to submit to his amorous advances.
In the end, Boule de Suif submits to the Prussian officer's demands, and the next day they are all able to continue on their journey.
It is all so brilliantly done--a triumphant vindication of Flaubert's intense tuition of Maupassant--that you cannot help but be outraged on Boule de Suif's behalf.