"Boule de Suif" is a favourite short story of mine, but I can only read it in translation. The translation of the title varies drastically into English, particularly with regards to its positive or negative connotations ("butterball" is vaguely positive sounding, certainly when compared to "ball of lard").
I'm aware of the literal meaning of suif, though I'm not sure why one would wish to roll tallow into balls, so suspect even an extended meaning here.
But I'm more interested in the general sentiment of the phrase "Boule de suif", after all it is being applied to the principal character. Does it have connotations of homeliness or disgust, or neither, or is it ambiguous?
I don't need a fitting English translation, just an idea I can keep in my head when reading the story.