“The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant Essay
Written by Guy de Maupassant in 1881, The Necklace is a captivating short story that ends in a surprise. It is the most eye-catching work of Maupassant with all words contributing to the events that the narrative unfolds. It has garnered him a lot of acknowledgment.
The tale is set in Paris, France specifically covering Loisel’s home and the neighborhoods, ministry of education inclusive. Employing the elements of literature, Maupassant has used characters like monsieur Loisel, a clerk in the ministry of education, Mathilde, Loisel’s wife, Madame Jeanne Forestier, Mathilde’s neighbor and friend, Housemaid, Mathilde’s house servant, among others.
The writer takes the reader through the life of these characters and in particular, the poor family of Loisel and the rich family of Forestier. It unfolds that the kind of life depicted by these two categories of people is far from the reality. This illustration builds up the prevailing theme of the narrative ‘the deceptiveness of appearance’, which the writer employs to show how people are deceived by the appearance of others.
Deceptiveness of appearance
Mathilde is a reasonably attractive girl regardless of her unfortunate family backgrounds. She regrets much owing to this poverty because she always compares herself with the other girls from well up homes. For instance, Forestier’s family is rich. She gets married to a mere government clerk. The ministry of education organizes a party for all its staff members, giving them a chance to invite their wives or husbands.
Ironically, thinking that this would thrill his wife, Loisel on delivering the invitation, realizes that it is more of a stress than joy to her. “Instead of being delighted, she threw the invitation on the table with disdain murmuring…” (Maupassant 39). The reason behind this is that she lacks elegant dresses and necklaces like other women, a case that makes her imagine how odd she can be if she attends the occasion.
They end up borrowing these from Forestier, but unfortunately the necklace gets lost after the event, an incidence that costs Loisel’s family virtually everything as they toil for ten years looking the money to purchase another one. They finally buy 36000 francs worthy necklace but on returning it to Forestier; she reveals its cost as just 500 francs. They are now in a severe financial crisis, though had they realized the truth, this would not be the case.
A major problem that the writer fails to clarify is whether Forestier resells the necklace to refund the extra money in order to reduce the debt incurred or not. This paves way to criticisms of his story, though he has managed to develop the dominant theme of the story. Mathilde stands out in the party as a rich and a high class wife owing to the diamond-appearing necklace that the people fail to realize that it was borrowed.
Still on this theme, Forestier’s family is depicted as financially stable. It can afford some of the expensive things that poor families imagine of. Forestier has, not only one but many of them, unlike her counterpart Mathilde.
She wears them when attending great occasions, a case that earns her a good deal of recognition from other people. This is what Mathilde is yearning for. She wants to appear like her friend. She wants people to view her as rich. The writer shows how she longs for a recognized family name as well as an expensive dowry. By this she feels that she will appear like other rich families.
She is pictured as one, who is ever working towards achieving this reality, though what she publicizes is not what is on the ground. For instance, in the party, she appears the most elegant, a situation that makes all people want to chat with her, owing to what they are seeing, an expensive looking dress and a diamond necklace, but little do they know about the truth of the matter.
Following the issue behind Forestier’s necklace, it stands out that it is not made of diamond as people perceive. Though what appears in their eyes is the diamond look on the necklace, the story ends when Forestier reveals that it is just a mere coating. To strengthen his theme, the writer wants to show how the rich end up deceiving other people through their possessions.
Most of them appear costly before the eyes of people but rarely are they in their real senses. The value attached to some items, owing to their appearance, turns out to be many times different from their real values. For instance, the necklace appears 72 times expensive. The writer succeeds in showing how people mistake the rich people.
They have been portrayed as just appearing as if they are rich, which is not the case. Worthy noting is that the writer does not clarify about the child who appears to walk with Forestier. It is not clear whether he is intending to elaborate his theme further by introducing images of people who are not real characters, or not. This again welcomes criticisms to his works.
Though dead and forgotten, Maupassant works speak volumes of his existence. The ideas behind his Necklace narrative stands out clear today. The issue of appearance is now everywhere with people struggling to hide their real selves in order to mislead others. Items have been manufactured bearing a false identity of others only to trick people. This is the kind of life that the writer was prophesying through the use of his major theme ‘the deceptiveness of appearance’ that he develops through the different characters.
Maupassant, Guy. “The Necklace” France: Word Press, 1881. P. 38-44.
Literary analysis of “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant Essay
There are several characters in the story that the author, Maupassant, uses to build up ideas and contribute to the meaningful flow of the story. The life of the protagonist in the story, Mathilde, is used by the author, Maupassant, to contribute significantly to the overall meaning of the story.
Her character, ambitions in life and her general point of view about various issues in life are used to bring out different themes and also help in the development of the story (Maupassant, pg. 16). Mathilde is also used to help build up suspense in the story.
In this literary analysis, this main character Mathilde will be discussed and her contribution to the overall meaning of the short story ‘the necklace’.
The protagonist, Mathilde and her contribution to the overall meaning of the story
Mathilde’s background and wishes
At the beginning of the story, Maupassant introduces the protagonist Mathilde as a young and beautiful lady who comes from a not so well up family and there seems to be very little change that is going to take place in her life in terms of moving to a higher social class (pg 1).
This is because she is married by a clerk who can not adequately cater for the expensive things she desires to live a satisfying life. Mathilde is introduced as a character that has a great desire for a life that she and her husband Loisel can not afford. This contributes significantly to the development of the plot because it is her behavior that eventually leads to their downfall.
She is not content with the current state of things in her life. The author tells us that the state of their house torments her. The walls, the old chairs and the curtains which are not so beautiful all cause her to be mentally troubled. She strongly believes that she ought to be living a better and more expensive life. She yearns for things that would make her to be admired by many people.
She is so obsessed with the thoughts of a better and more expensive lifestyle that she wastes a lot of time and energy thinking about this. She thinks of how her house would be with expensive furniture and of herself with many clothes and jewelry. We learn that she is very uncomfortable visiting her rich friend, Madame Forestier, because every time she does that, her life is filled with moments of suffering and intense pain (Bloom pg59).
This is because she compares her poor life with that of her rich friend and she is filled with envy and jealousy because she can not afford to live like her friend and yet that is the kind of life she dreams of. Mathilde is completely out of touch with reality and lives a life full of fantasy. This kind of thoughts as expressed by this young lady help in the building up of the plot of the story because eventually, she learns how futile it is to covet what one can not afford.
It is very ironical that Mathilde loves what she does not have (Maupassant, pg. 23). She says that she loves jewels and clothes but she does not actually have any of them. The motive for her yearning to have these things so badly is an evil one. She says that she would love to have these things so that she can be envied by many people. The fact that Mathilde and her husband belong to the middle class shows that they are not very poor and that they are able to get the very basic necessities in life.
Her desire and obsession with more wealth just shows how materialistic she is and her insatiable desire for more wealth which she can not get. The author shows us that they are even to be envied by other people like her servant who is belongs to a lower social class than her but Mathilde is only interested in attaining her selfish ambition in life. Her desire to have more and especially what she can not afford brings problems even to her innocent husband.
The beginning of Mathilde’s problems
Trouble starts the evening when her husband comes home with news that she has been invited to accompany him to a rare occasion organized by the ministry of education. Her reaction to the news is one that her husband did not expect. She is very sad because she does not have a new and expensive dress to wear to the occasion.
Efforts by the husband to persuade her to wear an old but nice dress that she has bear no fruit. He ends up sacrificing the money he had saved to buy a gun to meet his wife’s demand for a new dress. The husband is portrayed as a person who blindly follows the wife’s demands without looking at the long term implications of such decisions.
He fails to act as a guide to the wife who is already too blinded by her strong desire to acquire more than she can afford. The emotional response of the wife when she is told to wear the dress she normally wears to the theatre shows how obsessed she is with living a high class life. The husband is persuaded to give up something very important to please his wife who seems impossible to satisfy because thereafter she still asks for a necklace.
Mathilde cares very little about her husband. She is very selfish and is concerned about her own interests being fulfilled even at the expense of her husband’s little savings. She is not very careful not hurt others as she pursues her desire for more wealth. Instead of being grateful to her husband about what he has already provided to her, she complains about what the husband is unable to do to make her happy.
She therefore lives a very unhappy life full of struggles which can be avoided if only she is content with her current status and works towards improving her life. Moreover, she only says that she deserves to have all the things she spends a lot of time dreaming of but ironically, she does nothing to get them.
After the husband offers to buy her the dress she demands for in order to attend the ball, she again complains that she does not have a necklace and threatens not to accompany her husband if she does not get one. Because the husband cannot afford to buy her a necklace at that moment, he suggests that she borrows it from her rich friend which she agrees. Given a variety to choose from, she settles for one that looks like diamond which she is later to discover that it was not genuine diamond.
She is very happy that she is going to impress people during the ball because she has both the dress and the necklace which are the most important things in her life. Although she ends up achieving what she has always longed for that night, what she loses is of greater magnitude than that short lived achievement.
The necklace ends up getting lost on their way back home despite efforts by the husband to try and recover it. When they realize that the necklace is lost forever, they settle for another option which is replacing the necklace with another that looks exactly like the one they lost.
They incur a lot of debts as they try to raise the amount required to purchase a genuine diamond necklace. The husband sacrifices so much for the sake of his selfish wife who seems to care very little about his interests. Mathilde’s weak point of coveting more wealth is the greatest mistake she makes. The outcome of her actions and desires are disastrous not only to her but to the husband too. She ends up losing everything because of just a night of pleasure.
She wastes most of her youthful life and beauty toiling and laboring to repay the debts they incur when they decide to buy a new expensive necklace for Madame Forestier instead of just telling her that she lost the original necklace. Fusco (pg 28), notes that this incident helps to expose her proud nature. She finds it very hard to just confess and maybe apologize to the rich friend who would have probably heard her and would not have subjected her to the kind of hard labor she and her husband had to go through.
The wasted years that the couple has to go through are because of Mathilde’s assumption that her rich friend could not have possibly bought a cheap necklace and so they have to replace the fake diamond necklace with an original one. She has all along erroneously believed that for anything to be valuable, it has to be expensive.
When Mathilde and Madame Forestier eventually meet after a long period of time, precisely ten years, Madame Forestier fails to recognize her old friend Mathilde. She has grown old and her initial beauty is no longer there. She has lost almost everything that made her beautiful due to ten years of labor. Madame Forestier is still elegant and youthful and pities her old friend Mathilde.
Maupassant uses the necklace that Mathilde is so much impressed by symbolically to show her totally wrong belief. She has all along thought that for anything to be of value, it has to be expensive. She sadly discovers that the necklace that she thought was very expensive and of great value is not worthy. In fact, if she had confronted her friend and explained her case, the couple could have reimbursed her for the necklace without mush strain because they had enough money to pay Madame Forestier.
Lessons learn by Mathilde
By using Mathilde as the protagonist in the story, Maupassant is able to create an ironic ending that the readers do not expect. Several moral lessons can also be learnt when one reads of the calamity that befalls Mathilde and the husband. The character of Mathilde has changed drastically at the end of the story compared with the first time the reader encounters her in the beginning of the story. She no longer complains about life and wanting more wealth as she did in the beginning.
She has learnt to live within her means despite the fact that she is even poorer than in the beginning when she was whining about everything in her life and yet she had enough to sustain her. The troubles she has gone through seem to have taught her a very valuable lesson in life and she even appears to be stronger than she was before. She learns how easy it is to loose what one has because of greed and not being content.
At the end of the story, the question that arises is, ‘who is to blame for the misery that this couple finds itself in?’ the blame seems to be solely on Mathilde because of her irrationality in thought and action. If only she is keener about what she desires and takes time before acting on her wishes, maybe her life and that of the husband would have turned out to be better. She ruins her entire life and that of her husband because of just a single night of pleasure.
She feels good when everybody in the ball envies her and does not even care about her husband when they are at the occasion. The author tells us that the husband had been sitting with three other men for several hours since midnight because their wives had abandoned them and went away to enjoy themselves alone. In the long run, Mathilde’s life becomes worse off than initially when they could afford to live a decent life.
After they borrow money to replace the necklace, they are no longer able to hire a house help, hence she has to do all the work alone. This hard labor is what robs her of her strength and beauty. Mathilde and her husband Loisel may not deserve the kind of life that they find themselves in were it not for her greed and envy.
The husband is also unable to foresee the danger that lies ahead before they resolve to take any action. We are told in the story that when he is borrowing money for the necklace he puts his signature without even caring what he is signing. Although Mathilde is seen as the cause of all their misfortunes, the husband also contributes to it. This family is entirely to blame for the misery that befalls it.
Bloom, Harold. Guy de Maupassant: Bloom’s major short story writers. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2004.
Fusco, Richard. Maupassant and the American Short Story: the Influence of Form at the Turn of the Century. Pennsylvania: Penn State Press, 1994.
Maupassant, Guy de. The Necklace. Washington: Dramatic Publishing, 1969.
Further Study: FAQ
? Who is the protagonist in The Necklace?
Mathilde Loisel is the protagonist of the story. She is the central character whose perspective on life we see and whose journey we follow.
? Who wrote The Necklace?
Guy de Maupassant wrote The Necklace, the short story about a poor young girl who wished for a wealthy life but never attained it.
? What is the theme of the story The Necklace?
The central theme is the connection between illusion and happiness. Striving for luxury life, the main heroine borrows the necklace, which looks expensive. She loses it and goes into debt to replace it. She ruined her life for years, trying to appear someone else, never learning the necklace was fake.
? Who are the characters in The Necklace?
The characters in The Necklace are Mathilde Loisel, her husband Monsieur Loisel, and her wealthier friend Madame Forestier. She gives the main heroine the necklace, which becomes the root of all the problems.
Guy de Maupassant’s “The Jewelry” Essay
In “The Jewelry”, Guy de Maupassant attempts to develop irony using the lives of urban people, especially due to the decline of morals in the society (Bloom 22). Set in Paris, Maupassant’s story revolves around the life of Mr. Latin, a chief clerk at the French Ministry of Interior and his wife, a Mrs. Latin.
However, the actual name of the wife remains unknown to the reader throughout the story. At the beginning, the reader is introduced to the first meeting between Mr. Latin and his wife, which took place at the house of a superintendent. Latin immediately falls in love with the young and innocent women. This short story focuses more on Character and irony than it does to other literary techniques.
The quote: According to Maupassant, the girl first appears “…very ideal of a pure and good woman to whom every young man can entrust” (Maupassant The Jewelry 634). This quote is one of the most important indications of the wife’s character, and is actually an irony because the woman was not pure but a prostitute in disguise.
After the marriage, the couple’s first six years are full of happiness and mutual understanding. However, the wife has a passion for “fake” jewelry and “fake” theatres. Despite this, the wife is a good housekeeper, neat and decent. These characteristics provide Mr. Latin with a luxurious life.
In their sixth year of marriage, the wife went out to the opera one cold night, but later came “back home freezing” (Maupassant The Jewelry 635). She got a bad cough and within one week, she died from pneumonia. Mr. Latin’s was unable to touch or change anything owned by his late wife because they reminded him of her and her love for him.
Due to inability to meet the domestic, Mr. Latin decides to sell his wife’s jewels, but he is surprised to realize that they were genuine and worth thousands of Francs. The reader concludes that she must have been an immoral woman who was ready to betray his husband to get a decent lifestyle. Mr. Latin decides to sell every jewel owned by the late wife, quits his job and uses the money to fund his life.
Irony and Character Analysis
From this story, it is clear that Maupassant focuses on character and irony. First, the character of Mrs. Latin is questionable. While she presents as a decent and loving wife, the author provides the reader with a clue that she must have been cheating on the husband. She is possessed with the love for jewelry, decent lifestyle and entertainment.
After her death, the husband realizes that his little salary could not support such a life, which prompts him to sell the jewelries. In the jeweler’s store, Mr. Latin realizes that the wife must have had another source of income, yet she was not open to him. He realizes that she must have been practicing prostitution, something that could have made her love going out at night.
The character of Mr. Latin is also questionable. For instance, despite spending six years with his wife, he had completely failed to realize or even suspect the other side of his wife. He had not even thought how much the wife was spending to keep the house and purchase her jewelries. In fact, he is presented as a very insensitive but humble person. It would be unrealistic of him to put much trust on his wife.
Apart from character, the story emphasizes more on irony. It is ironic that the wife is first presented as a decent and innocent young woman, whose looks would attract any young man. This is ironic because Maupassant later exposes the other side of her life, which makes the reader suspect that she must have been a prostitute.
Secondly, it is ironic that she lives with a low-income earner, yet she has a high income she keeps as a secret. It is also ironic for the young woman to have massive sources of income, yet she looks simple and innocent, and even uses the benefits of her immorality to please his husband. Finally, it is ironic for Mr. Latin to live with her for six years and fail to note her other side of life.
Comparisons between “The Jewelry” and “The necklace”
Although these two stories are quite different, they are both revolving around the lives of women who are possessed with the love for material things and specifically jewels.
The theme of possession of characters, especially women, is quite similar. The two stories further provide an insight into the ability of women to influence their husbands in an urban setting (Jackson 61). While Mrs. Latin is able to cheat on her husband for more than six years just to obtain jewels and live a decent life, Madame Loisel influences her husband to spend almost every cent on her makeup (Roberts 53).
Finally, the two stories revolve around how women in an urban setting take any risk to find happiness in their lives. Madame Loisel goes out borrowing large sums of money to spend on her necklace and makeup (Maupassant The Necklace 47). In her part, Mrs. Latin takes the risk of cheating on his husband to obtain a decent life and jewels.
Bloom, Harold. Guy De Maupassant. New York, NY: Infobase publishing, 2001. Print.
Jackson, Stanley. Guy De Maupassant. London: Duckworth publishers, 1998. Print.
Maupassant, Guy De. The Necklace. Woodstock, IL: Dramatic Publishing, 2005 Print.
—. The Jewelry. Edinburg, UK: Edinburg University Press, 2007. Print.
Roberts, Edgar. Writing Themes About Literature. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.
Maupassant’s short story comparison Essay
“Boule de Suif” is a short story by Guy Maupassant. Translated, “Boule de Suif” means ‘Ball of Fat’ and it is used in reference to the title characters’ physical characteristics. This short story is often considered to be one of Maupassant’s best works.
The short story was published as part of Maupassant’s “Les Soirées de Medan” short story collection. “Boule de Suif” was published in 1880, the period after the French were defeated in the Franco-Prussian War. “Boule de Suif” is a story about the different classes of the French people at the time and Society’s hypocrisy.
The story is about Elizabeth Rousette, a prostitute who has the nick name of Boule De Suif. According to the narrator, Rousette is “Short and round, fat as a pig, with puffy fingers constricted at the joints, looking like rows of short sausages… much sought after, owing to her fresh and pleasing appearance” (Maupassant 10).
The story is about ten city residents who are fleeing from Le Havre. The group is made up of people from different classes including shop owners, factory owners, and nuns. The respected citizens of the city are not comfortable with the idea of travelling together with Boule de Suif the ‘lowly prostitute’.
However, when the other travelers learn that Boule has packed food, they all warm up to her. The coach is then stopped in a German-occupied village where the top soldier refuses to let it go unless he receives sexual favors from Boule.
Boule strongly refuses this arrangement but she finally agrees just to set her fellow travelers free. However, the rest of the travelers repay her by isolating her and refusing to share their food with her. Consequently, Boule de Suif is outraged by the hypocrisy of the citizens and she is overcome by emotions.
Maupassant’s story features insightful character descriptions and a well laid out dialogue. In addition, the author exhibits great skill when describing scenes in his story. The most dominant themes in this story are hypocrisy, class conflict, appearances, and reality.
The story’s title character finds herself at the receiving end of hypocrisy and class-based judgment. The other passengers feel that Boule’s status does not warrant her the privilege of traveling with their kind. However, when they are in need of food and Boule is the only one who has some, their feelings towards her change.
The narrator of this story remarks that Boule de Suif “felt at once indignant with her neighbors, and humiliated at having yielded to the Prussian into whose arms they had so hypocritically cast her” (Maupassant 40). This happened after Boule had returned to the couch after giving in to the German Commander’s demands.
This line marks the point at which the story turns around. Both Boule and the readers were expecting a different reaction from the rest of the travelers given that Boule had just granted them their wish. However, the author chooses to use this scene to highlight the collective hypocrisy of the society.
All the other travelers represent different classes in the society and none of them expresses a different opinion. According to Maupassant, the society advocates for patriotism but ends up sacrificing the patriots. Boule had just given up her dignity for the sake of her countrymen but they repay her by isolating her.
“Boule de Suif” bears similarities with other Maupassant’s literary works. Most of Maupassant’s works addressed the social and political issues in nineteenth century France. “The Necklace” is a short story by Guy Maupassant that tells the story of an ambitious woman who borrows a necklace from an affluent woman only to lose it.
There are some striking similarities between “The Necklace” and “Boule de Suif”.Both “The Necklace” and “Boule de Suif” were published in the same period. Therefore, both stories were meant for the same audience and addressed social issues that happened within the same period.
When one is reading both “Boule de Suif” and “The Necklace”, several recurring aspects of Maupassant’s literary style are noticeable. The most notable ‘Maupassant factor’ in both stories is the similarity of the stories’ themes. The theme of class conflict is highlighted in both stories.
Madam Loise belongs to the lower bourgeoisie. In the traditional French society, the lower bourgeoisie was better off than the laborers and tradesmen but it was below the ruling class.
The author uses the same approach in “Boule de Suif” where Boule belongs to the lowest class, the merchants belong to the lower bourgeoisie, and the factory owners belong to the upper bourgeoisie.
On the other hand, Carré-Lamadon the Comte and Comtesse of Bréville belong to the aristocratic or ruling class. When the travelers are in the coach, the issues of class keep coming up.
The other similarity in style between the two stories is the heavy use of irony as a stylistic device. In both stories, the use of irony plays a major part in highlighting the main themes in the stories.
Another similarity touches on the use of non-partisan third-person narrator. Both stories are told through the use of an omniscient narrator. The narrators in “The Necklace” and “Boule de Suif” are able to see into the characters’ inner thoughts.
Maupassant, Guy. Boule de Suif, and other Stories, New York, NY: Harper, 1909. Print.
Analysis of The Necklace and The Prodigal Son Essay
‘The Necklace’ and ‘The Prodigal Son’ are both depictions of how materialism can lead to one’s demise. The narratives indicate that covetousness leads to deceit, strained relationships, and misery.
In ‘The Necklace’, the author starts by describing Mathilde Loisel’s social standing. She seems disempowered by the social structures around her. The author notes that Mathilde would never get a chance at meeting a man of a high social standing because she did not belong to an elite family. This reveals that Mathilde had limited control of her life, as a woman in the late nineteenth century.
However, after learning about her goals in life, one immediately realizes that Madame Loisel was still responsible for her circumstances. Although her husband was not extremely wealthy, he was also not poor. He tried his best to provide for his family, and his wife could have chosen to be happy with their modest things.
However, her materialism prevented her from appreciating what she already had. Mathilde and her husband had a comfortable, middle-class status. Her husband earned enough to feed his family and even to save something for his gun (De Maupassant 39). Besides that, the two had a maid and had gone to school. Madame Loisel did not bother about these great qualities in her home.
When she presents dinner to her husband, he seems delighted by the Scotch broth (soup- tureen). However, all Mathilde can think about are the delicate meals, marvelous dishes and the asparagus chicken. She sought after luxurious items such as jewels and fancy clothes, yet they could not afford such items.
Madame Loisel coveted her former schoolmate’s lifestyle, and even avoided visiting her because of this. All she could notice inside her house was “the ugliness of the curtains and the worn out looks of the chairs” (De Maupassant 38).
Similarly, in the story of the prodigal son, the younger son did not appreciate the life that his father provided him. His father had plenty of servants and wealth, and when this young man was mature enough, he would have inherited the wealth.
However, his quest for materialism caused him to ask for the inheritance prematurely. Instead of appreciating the life that his father gave him, he started longing for the things that money can buy (Luke 15:13). If these two characters had looked at all the positive things that were working for them, they would have lived a fulfilled life, rather than one filled with despair and misery.
Mathilde’s relationship with her husband further highlights her obsession with superficial things (Seyler 22). When her husband asks her to go to the ball, she immediately acts unappreciatively. She manipulates her husband into using all the money that he had saved up for his trip. Mathilde did not care that this was a significant event in her husband’s life.
She also did not care that she was taking everything that he had. Furthermore, when her husband bought her the beautiful gown, Mathilde does not even say one word of appreciation; instead, she asked for more. Madame Loisel started fussing and frowning about the fact that she had no jewelry to accompany her dress. Her selfish materialism prevents her from treating her husband in a better way.
It also causes her to think that the world revolves around her. It is almost as if nothing can ever fulfill her longings because should would always find something else to fancy. Likewise, the prodigal son had a poor relationship with his friends and family members. Instead of helping his father out with the estate, and thus expanding it, he chose to take property away from his father.
The inheritance would have been quite useful if he took it for the right reasons. However, he wanted to use the inheritance to accomplish his selfish aims. He wanted to have a fantastic time and impress everyone. Never, at one moment, does he think about the effect of these actions have on his father. He did not appreciate what his father did for him because he would have behaved in a responsible way.
One realizes the fleeting nature of materialism as one reads ‘The Necklace’. This woman would never satisfy her desires no matter what. In one instance, she talks about how she would have loved “To be sought after and to be envied” (De Maupassant 38). In the party, she partially fulfills her wishes when she dances with passion and charms everyone in the room.
However, this condition is never sustainable; no single woman remains young forever. She wanted unrealistic things that could only last for a few hours. Her triumph after the party is superficial and vain. In fact, the author emphasizes this futility by making her excitement quite short-lived. This occurs when Madame Loisel realizes that she had lost her friend’s diamond necklace.
The same thing happened to the prodigal son. Materialism is always so futile because human resources can barely satisfy one’s desires. The young son went to squander his father’s property in a distant land (Luke 15: 14). He had an exciting experience for a short time before the money ran out. The prostitutes and the fake friends abandoned him when his resources dwindled.
This young man was alone in a strange land because he valued temporary things. He did not understand what real wealth was, and this made it quite difficult for him to find happiness. Essentially, the prodigal son illustrates to audiences what can happen to an individual when one holds on to superficial values.
It is crucial to understand why Mathilde was a materialist in the story. When the author wrote the novel, women had limited economic control. Society defined their value on the basis of uncontrollable things, such as beauty, elegance and charm (De Maupassant 38).
However, this does not imply that women could not counter these inequalities in their own way. Other women, in the same position, managed to live within their means. They coped with the limited resources and avoided excesses that they could not afford.
The other valuable thing about these women was that lived in wisdom. They also learnt from their mistakes; sadly, Mathilde was not one of them. She often fantasized about that fateful night when she was the star of the evening. Even after ten years of suffering, poverty and despair, she still thought that there was something valuable about the evening. This woman had learnt nothing from those ten years.
In the prodigal son, materialism probably emanates from the sense of entitlement that the young son developed in his childhood (Linemann & Anderson 55). Older siblings tend to be more responsible than younger ones because they understand what it at stake when they do not behave appropriately. However, young siblings tend to take things for granted because so many relations can take care of them.
The prodigal son’s older brother tended his father’s fields. He was wise enough to know that asking for his inheritance when his father was still alive would only result in poverty and desperation. He understood that one must earn one’s rewards.
The young son had not learnt these lessons yet; he thought that he had the right to own everything he wanted, and no one would deny him this. It was this misconception that brought him all his tragedies. If he had known what his older brother knew, then it is likely that he might have been less materialistic or superficial.
The story of the ‘The Necklace’ also illustrates the fruitlessness of materialism. In other words, it proves that fate will often catch up with people who focus all the energy and attention to these superficial things.
Madame Loisel thinks that by buying an expensive gown and wearing a diamond necklace, she will get a taste of the high- end life. Instead of satisfying this longing, the necklace only dooms Mathilde to a life of poverty and desperation. The necklace only satisfied her for a night but caused her immense suffering for ten years.
When her husband made promises to all sorts of money lenders, he knew that their lives would change from that point onward. In fact, even audiences can forebode the events that will follow later in Mathilde’s life. It is quite tragic when one realizes that Mathilde and her husband had wasted ten years of their life on a fake diamond. The narrative proves that only misery can emanate from an obsession with materialism.
The same thing occurred to the prodigal son; fate conspired against him. When his resources dwindled, a massive famine came upon the distant land that he had visited, and he could not find work anywhere. Furthermore, he lived so desperately that he envied the pigs in his employer’s barn. These assertions depict the fact that materialism has its consequences.
These two narratives serve as valuable lessons today; society still has many Madame Loisels or prodigal sons (Fowler & Aaron 15). In fact, one may argue that there is a small Mathilde in most Americans. People obsess about making money or chasing the American Dream, yet few of them even understand what the American dream truly means. The day of reckoning came in the 2007 economic depression that has persisted to date.
People created this scenario by focusing on fast money and living luxurious lifestyles that they did not earn. Just like the prodigal son, many individuals bought homes and luxuries. They enjoyed this for a while until the economy came tumbling down like a house of cards. One can also liken the problems in the recent recession to Madame Loisel’s situation.
She wanted to live a life that she did not deserve by borrowing things and manipulating her husband. Her experience changed when the same things she wanted, were the same things that trapped her. People who took shaky loans to finance the acquisition of houses did not enjoy their new-found status because the economy plunged.
In ‘The Necklace’, the author also illustrates that materialism and deceit often come hand in hand. Mathilde lied to herself and her friends, and this eventually created an unfulfilled life. When Mathilde realizes that she has lost her friend’s diamond necklace, she does not tell her friend about it. Instead, she chooses to replace it secretly by spending thirty six thousand francs on a real diamond necklace.
Everything goes downhill form there because Lady Loisel could not be honest about her predicament. Since she obsessed about appearing capable to her friend, she was willing to sacrifice anything in order to achieve this. Her suffering emanated from the deceit that accompanied her quest for superficial things.
Similarly, the prodigal son lived in his own version of deceit. He lied to his new-found friends and female companions that he was a wealthy man. This young man lied to himself by thinking that he could buy friends who would stick by him through thick and thin. However, that deceit led him to live an undesirable life because no one wanted to stick by him when they realized that he had nothing.
It should be noted that wanting luxurious things is not necessarily an unwelcome thing. When greed occurs at moderate levels, it can inspire and motivate people to improve themselves. However, when it becomes an obsession, then that is where the problem begins (Anderson 103). Mathilde is willing to do anything to look and feel glamorous. She jeopardizes her whole marriage and life owing to these desires.
The dress her husband bought for her would have been enough had it not been for such an intense longing. The prodigal son also took his obsessions with material things to the extreme by abandoning his family and friends for the high-class life. The two protagonists mirror what goes on in modern societies today.
When individuals become too obsessed with material things, then they might end up committing crimes and shortchanging their values in order to achieve this.
The Necklace and the Prodigal son illustrate how destructive materialism can be. First, Madame Loisel fails to appreciate the life that she already possesses. This means that she created her own misery. Similarly, the prodigal son did not value the extraordinary life that his father provided him because of his obsession with luxurious things.
Materialism ruined the protagonists’ relationships with others. It reduced Mathilde’s relationship with her husband to one of manipulation and dissatisfaction. The same thing happened to the relationship between the prodigal son and his father.
Materialism also caused both characters to live in deceit; it also led to massive harm and misery. Mathilde and the prodigal son still exist today as witnessed through the 2007 economic crash. People obsessed about acquiring material things without working for them, and this led to their demise.
Anderson, Daniel. Writing about literature in the media age. NY: Pearson, 2005. Print.
De Maupassant, Guy. The necklace and other short stories. NY: Dover publications, 1992. Print.
Fowler, Ramsey & Aaron, Jane. Little, Brown Handbook. NY: Longman, 2011. Print.
Linemann, Erika & Anderson, Daniel. A rhetoric of writing teachers. Oxford: OUP, 2001. Print.
New International Version Bible. [Colorado Springs]: Biblica, 2011. Web.
Seyler, Dorothy. Introduction to Literature: reading, analyzing and writing. NY: Prentice Hall, 1990. Print.
Character Change in “The Jewelry”
There have been many times in literature where writers will change the attitudes or beliefs of the main character of their story. Writers can do this a number of ways. They use things like tragic events or a change in setting to be the reason why a character changes. In Guy de Maupassant’s “The Jewelry,” the main character’s attitudes change multiple times throughout the story.
The story begins with the narrator describing how the main character, M. Lantin, fell in love and married the girl of his dreams.
He adores her so much that it is written that, “six years he married her, he loved her even more than he did the first day” (69). In fact, Lantin almost finds his wife to be flawless. The only faults that he finds in her are her love for the theatre and her passion for false jewelry. Lantin never understands his wife’s fondness towards fake jewelry.
They cannot afford real jewelry and it seems as though Lantin wants to save her the embarrassment of parading around with fake jewelry.
He tells her that she is better off wearing no jewelry so that she can show off her natural beauty and elegance. However, she does not listen to him and continues to wear her fake jewelry. At this point in the story, M. Lantin seems to be a stress-free man who is enjoying life with the girl of his dreams. He is not a rich man by any means, but, the love he shares with his wife fulfills his every need. Then, tragedy strikes. Lantin’s wife catches pneumonia one night after the Opera and dies eight days later.
After the death of his wife, Lantin’s character changes from a careless man to a soul in despair. The narrator describes his anguish by saying, “His despair was so frightful that in one single month his hair turned white. He wept from morning till night, feeling his heart torn by inexpressible suffering-ever haunted by the memory of her, by the smile, by the voice, by all the charm of the dead woman” (70-71). hair has turned white in a single month. Lantin suffers day and night and is haunted by the mere memory of his wife. He keeps his wife’s bedroom exactly the same and as time goes by, his memory of her remains strong. Lantin ends up getting into debt and losing all his money.
The first thing that comes to his mind is to sell his wife’s jewelry. The jewelry; which he does not think will bring him much money, has become an object of loathing and distant memories of his late wife. After rummaging through most of her items, Latin finds his wife’s pearl necklace that he thinks might be only worth a few francs. He goes into a jewelry store to sell it. There, he finds out that it is real, and that it is worth a substantial amount of money.
He goes into another jewelry store to receive a second opinion. To Lantin’s astonishment, not only is the necklace real, but the second store that he entered was the exact store where his wife bought the necklace for a substantial amount of money. It is here where Lantin’s character changes from being a sad and sorrowful man to a puzzled fellow searching for answers. This is evidenced in the text when Lantin is pondering to himself how his wife came across the money to buy such an expensive piece of jewelry. Maupassant describes Lantin’s puzzled mind by writing “He tried to reason, to understand. His wife could never have bought so valuable an object as that.
Certainly not. But then, it must have been a present! A present from whom? What for?” (72-73) Lantin is so bewildered by these events that he barely makes it home for the night. The next morning, he goes out and realizes he has no money to get anything to eat. Lantin then remembered the substantial amount of money that the jeweler had offered him for the pearl necklace.
He then returns to the jewelry store to tell the jeweler the necklace. While at the jewelry store, Lantin remembers that his wife had lots of other jewelry that might be worth a lot of money as well. He collects her other jewelry and sells it all to the jeweler. Lantin receives 196,000 francs for all of his late wife’s jewelry.
At this point, Lantin’s mood changes again. He completely forgets his sorrows and no longer questions where his wife got the money for such expensive jewelry. The only emotions that Lantin is experiencing are ecstasy and sheer excitement. The text describes how Lantin’s desire was to “yell out to the passers-by ‘I am rich, too-I am! I have 200,000 francs!’ (74).” Lantin quits his job and dines at the finest restaurant. The story ends with Maupassant describing Lantin’s final mood change. Lantin marries a woman six months later with a terrible temper.
The story ends by saying that Lantin’s new wife, “made his life very miserable. (75)” Guy de Maupassant changed Lantin’s mood multiple times in a short amount of time. From the happiness of his first marriage; to the sorrow after her tragic death; to the bewilderment that he experienced when he discovered that his late wife’s jewelry was real and how much it was worth; to the delight in the riches he acquired from selling it all, and finally to the final misery he lives through because of his new wife.
It was brilliant stories by Maupassant because it showed his character go through so many emotions in such a short amount of time. Maupassant’s readers are bound to relate to at least of these emotions that Lantin experiences. This helps make the story more appealing and relatable. It is the reason why most writers use character change in their stories.
Maupassant, Guy de. “The Jewelry.” In The Norton Introduction to Literature. 10th ed. Alison Booth and Kelly J. Mays. W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. 2011. 69, 70-71, 72-73, 74, 75.
"Gift Of The Magi" And "The Necklace"
The two short stories, “The gift of the Magi” written by O. Henry and “The necklace written by Guy de Maupassant are both composed of two young, beautiful women Mathilde and Della. Even though they are in different composed stories that have similar characteristics that convey throughout the story such as, they are both emotionally and financially depressed, have loving husbands, and both want to achieve something in an extreme manner. Throughout much the stories there similarities interact with each other, however there differences shine as strong as there will to survive through the depths of life.
For example, Mathilde expresses her repetitive unappreciative remarks on life little pleasures. “She grieved over the shabbiness of her apartment, the dinginess of the walls, the worn-out appearance of the chairs, the ugliness of the draperies” is an example of recessive comments in which she complains that she should be treated like gold (de Maupassant 202). Her comments create the fact that her caliber of royalty should not be mistreated.
Though she lives in a filthy cottage, which she calls home. Her emotions on life have gone in a realty world where she should be treated like a king. Her envies of better quality life style have turned into a disease, where she must have the finest jewels, tapestries in the world. Her cravings of excessive attention have made her gone into a state of addiction. Mme. Loisel was greedy, dishonest, and did not love her husband. She was a huge complainer who was always looking for attention, and often used people.
In addition, Mathilde Loisel is a character that has much pride in her. It is her motivation to act throughout the story, and it is the key to her downfall. Mathilde downfall comes into place when she does not tell Mrs. Forrestier that she lost her necklace. Mathilde does not gush out confessions and prostrating herself while pleading for forgiveness, she takes the responsibility for her mistakes by replacing Mrs. Forrestier’s necklace. De Maupassant shows her qualities in the introduction, the incident, and the poverty she endures. At the beginning of the story Mathilde pride is so strong that she does not want to face reality. Reality meaning the husband she has and the small household she resumes in. So in order to reject reality she turns to her dreams in which she has the life of ease and riches. Pride comes to place when she is complaining to her husband about the way hey live and how she deserves more than this. When they discover that they have been invited to a big party, she feels she must live up to her pride.
Knowing without a doubt that they have no money, she wants to have a beautiful dress and along with the dress she gets a radiant necklace from Mrs. Forrestier. The incident in which Mathilde loses the necklace plays an active role in Mathlide’s pride. Mathilde refuses to endure embarrassment by telling Mrs. Forrestier that she lost her necklace, so she goes and replaces the necklace. Her pride will not let her stoop so low into apologizing, pleading for forgiveness for nothing, instead her pride tells her that she is capable of replacing the necklace, and so she does. Her pride dreadfully leads her into destitution lifestyle, something she is not most proud of. The reality of her life becomes more realistic than ever. She is plunged into poverty, and drudgery that will take away her prized youth and beauty, never to return, but yet she still has her pride.
At the end after all the debts are all paid, she sees Mrs. Forrestier, who by the way does not recognize her, tells her about the incident and what she had to do to pay the money, and discovers that the necklace was nothing more than a fake. Mathilde is a character that has a pride so strong that she doesn’t notice until her pride hits her with retribution, by leading her to poverty. She sees her responsibility for losing the necklace, and she had enough sense of self-sacrifice to pay for restoring it. She sacrifices “with pride” not only her position, but also her youth and beauty. Pride plays a crucial role in Mathilde life, role that stands strong and proud, but yet its so crucial that it drives Mathlide’s fate. Furthermore, Mathilde had begun to change. Physically, “she had become the strong, hard, rude, woman of poor households. ” (209).
But also there was a change on the inside, too. Sometimes she still sat and thought about her moment of glory and then thought about what her life would have been like if she would have never lost the necklace. She realized that her selfishness and desire to be “on top” had caused her to experience the major down fall that she did. She also realized that she was at rock bottom now, her and her husband both, and she had put them there. A Mathilde dream of unattainable wealth and comfort yet, fails to see that her dream life ends up harming her real life. Maupassant does and excellent job of showing the transformation of Mathilde’s character from a person who is selfish and ungrateful to a person who realizes that her mistakes and pays for it the rest of her life. Even though the story is fiction, Maupassant has made it believable and lifelike. Someone reading this story could benefit greatly from it. We all must deal with selfishness at some point in our lives. Why not learn from other people’s mistakes, fiction or not.
On the other hand, Della is a thoughtful person, sacrificed their most prized possessions for one another. They did this in order to buy each other nice Christmas presents. Della’s most prized possession was her beautiful hair that she cut off and sold for the money. For example, she uses her time and patience to give a thoughtful present to her loving husband. She is very much appreciative of her husband and is willing to accept him as her confidence and with this time of financial depression she uses him as a guide through the dark times and does not complain at all (203-204). Also, Della does the imaginable by cutting her long, beautiful hair to please her husband so that he can have a Christmas to remember (203).
She is a person who will not let a little downfall get in her way for her husband and her to a have a wonderful and joyous celebration. She a not a selfish person, instead she is magnanimous, and considerate to the fullest extent. Even though her beauty is lost, she gained love and compassionate feeling from her husband, and it what counts more than gifts. Finally, Della is chivalrous and an honorable being. Instead uses all her might and strength to create the best Christmas ever. Lately, she is much deprived of many of her daily things, however her cutting her hair makes her to care for her husband more than she cares for herself. She would rather have her husband have a Merry Christmas, likewise for the husband.
In conclusion, the short stories, “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Necklace”, deal with two women’s struggles to make someone else happy and how fulfilling your own wants can hurt you. The difference between these stories is how when push came to shove, the way the characters chose to spend their money. These two interesting and ironic stories revolve around one main character. They both try to make their lives or someone else’s life better by using money.
Historical and Cultural Stance in The Necklace
Guy de Maupassant’s short story The Necklace is famous in its own way of revealing and illustrating the historical context and situation of women in the 19th century. The author reveals the behavior and restraints of women as they struggle to identify themselves in a male dominated society. This theme can also be observed in the story of The Yellow Wallpaper written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman wherein she uncovers the mental and emotional effects of male dominance and social pressure to women.
Gilman’s work is comparable to de Maupassant’s piece as it both discusses the pressures that the society brings to women. In The Necklace, social status becomes the primary instigator of misery in the character of Madame Loisel while in The Yellow Wallpaper; it is the entire domination and ascendancy of men that causes the mental instability of the narrator. Women restrictions, male dominance, and social class are only several of the thematic elements in The Necklace which makes it a socially awakening piece.
These elements are further supported with a comparative analysis of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. Historical and Cultural Stance in The Necklace in Relation to The Yellow Wallpaper There are undeniable comparisons in the story of Guy de Maupassant’s The Necklace and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper when it comes to the theme of feminism and social structure of the 19th century. Since both stories were published in the late 1800s, it focused more on the social structure of the 19th century when women were unfortunately treated as lesser creatures than men.
In the story of The Necklace, Madame Loisel, a beautiful and ambitious young woman is invited in the ministry’s ball with her husband. However, Madame Loisel becomes hesitant because she knows that many significant and rich people in the society will be present. She and her husband are not in any way, rich. In the introductory part of the story, the author describes her as “one of those pretty and charming girls born, as though fate had blundered over her, into a family of artisans” (de Maupassant).
De Maupassant already provides historical and cultural background in the first paragraph of the story as he literally describes the role of women in the 19th century France. He discusses how Madame Loisel feels miserable with her poor situation society “for women have no caste or class, their beauty, grace, and charm serving them for birth or family” (de Maupassant). This description of women in the story reveals their limited role in the society, thus, presenting the concept of women’s restrictions in the society.
De Maupassant further solidifies this reality by adding how “their natural delicacy, their instinctive elegance, their nimbleness of wit, are their only mark of rank” (de Maupassant). This concept of restriction of women is quite comparable with the description of Charlotte Perkins Gilman in her story, The Yellow Wallpaper. It is a story about the wickedness of confinement. In the story, the narrator’s husband locked her inside the room with the yellow wallpaper because he believed that she would be cured of her post-partum depression due to recently giving birth.
He thought he could cure her by means of rest cure treatment. In result, the wife resorts and depends on the images that the yellow wallpaper provides her. She begins to see images crawling and creeping inside it and starts hallucinating, thus, worsening the mental state of the wife. The story is an entire symbolism of women being manipulated fully by men. The husband’s way of taking charge of his wife’s mental health signifies the concept of male domination in the story.
“If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do? ” (Gilman). The narrator’s question reveals the powerlessness of a woman in her society if a “physician of higher standing” whom she refers as a man has already made a conclusion and solution against her will. In a thorough analysis, the husband symbolizes the patriarchal ascendancy that restricts women’s lives.
They are expected to always follow and obey their husbands and fathers as they are believed to know the best for everyone. The husband’s act of confining her represents male dominance in the society. The woman behind the wallpaper is the narrator herself. Being confined alone in the room only provides herself as the only company that she has. The wallpaper becomes the mirror of the narrator’s situation as she sees her situation and the situation of other women struggling free from the “cage” which has already formed in the patterns of the wallpaper.
In this regard, similar to De Maupassant, Gilman wishes to symbolize the confinement to the current situation of women of the 19th century who are locked up in their role as merely wives and mothers. They are exclusive to domestic purposes only without any right to identify themselves as individual people. The story wishes to open people’s mind in the dangers of restricting women not only literally but also in the sociological and mental aspect.
It aims to convey that this confinement can risk a person’s mental and physical health as portrayed by the psychosis brought about in the narrator’s mind as she struggles inside the room with the yellow wallpaper. In the case of The Necklace’s Madame Loisel, unlike the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper, she is mentally stable however; it can be considered that she becomes disillusioned by her own ambitiousness. She becomes too obsessed with the idea of fitting in the social circle that she goes as far as buying an expensive dress and borrowing a diamond necklace to attract the high-class people in the ministry’s ball.
She danced madly, ecstatically, drunk with pleasure, with no thought for anything, in the triumph of her beauty, in the pride of her success, in a cloud of happiness made up of this universal homage and admiration, of the desires she had aroused, of the completeness of a victory so dear to her feminine heart. (de Maupassant). Simply put, the narrator and Madame Loisel are two different types of women of the 19th century. They are very different in terms of personality and mental state but their similarity lies within the fact that they are the results of a male dominated and pressure-filled society.
The narrator is constrained to obedience because of her authoritative husband while Madame Loisel is pressured by the high demands of social status. It is clear even today that social status is essential to some ambitious women especially with the French women. Social gatherings are very frequent events where women usually dress up to gain attention and increase their popularity. In Madame Loisel’s situation, she becomes miserable because of her dissatisfaction in life. “She suffered from the poorness of her house, from its mean walls, worn chairs, and ugly curtains.
All these things, of which other women of her class would not even have been aware, tormented and insulted her” (de Maupassant). Gilman, on the other hand, uses imagery and psychoanalysis to express her political idealism about the inequality of marriage where women are always regarded as less capable than men are; therefore, it restricts them of self-expression. The aim to go higher and establish a particular identity is the general conflict of women which is both present in the story of The Necklace and The Yellow Wallpaper.
Conclusion The historical and cultural context of Guy de Maupassant’s The Necklace is further supported by Charlotte Perkins Gilman work. The comparisons are towards the main female characters of the two stories and their struggle to find their identity in their society. The Yellow Wallpaper of Gilman is the perfect complement to brace the historical and cultural context of The Necklace. The fact that both stories are published in the late 1800s is an essential element that solidifies the ideas presented in the texts about women.
Despite the differences between the major characters in the stories, several considerations about other aspects such as their mindsets are comparable in some way. They are both disillusioned by a male dominated society that such a culture and tradition regarding women are to be maintained. Works Cited De Maupassant, Guy. “The Necklace. ” Classic Short Stories. 19 April 2009. <http://www. classicshorts. com/stories/necklace. html> Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. 19 April 2009. <http://www. library. csi. cuny. edu/dept/history/lavender/wallpaper. html>
The Diamond Necklace
In The Diamond Necklace by Guy de Maupassant, Matilda one of the main characters is very frustrated with how her life is. She was born a very elegant woman but in here day and age women are not recognized on a social scale. Unfortunately she was born into a family of clerks, no way to become recognized for her true beauty. When old enough she married a petty clerk from the Board of Education. Throughout the story Matilda’s outlook on life and her way of life in general changes.
First, Matilda was “One of those pretty, charming, young ladies” (PG. 1) who was very disappointed because there was no way she could climb higher in the ladder of society. She was capable of much more including all the riches, jewelry, castles, and delicacies of an upper class wife. Unfortunately being born into her lower class family Matilda was stuck in her apartment with “the shabby walls, worn chairs, and faded fabrics” (PG.
11). As she had married a petty clerk her life wasn’t looking to get much better, she would visit one of her former schoolmates who had all the luxuries she desired.
Upon returning she would “weep for whole days afterward, from misery, regret, disappointment, and despair” (PG. 12). Matilda was not very happy with the life she was living. One evening her husband came home with an envelope, Matilda opened it to find it was an invitation to an affair at the Ministers residence. At first Matilda was enraged, as she didn’t have the proper gowns to wear making there no reason for her to be excited. As her husband had not thought of this he asked, “how much would a suitable dress cost? ” (PG. 12). Matilda came to the conclusion that to get something nice enough it would cost four hundred francs.
At first her husband was shocked as this was a lot of money and he had just saved up this amount to go hunting with his friends the following summer. After slight hesitation he insisted she take the money to get a gown. As she was delighted the ball was quickly approaching, as the next issue came up she realized that she had no elegant jewelry to go with her new dress. Distraught and annoyed her husband could sense some was up, they argued a little bit and by the end her husband had the great idea that she “go and find her friend Mme.
Forestier and ask her to lend some of her jewels” (PG. 12). Matilda very excited by her husband’s idea rushed to her friends house the next day, she found a necklace that was so beautiful that it made her “hands tremble” (PG. 13). Matilda then proceeded to go to the ball having the time of her life, “She danced enthusiastically, passionately, intoxicated with pleasure” (PG. 14) afterwards she was rushed home due to the embarrassment of being seen with her everyday wrap around her gown rather then lavishing in furs.
Upon getting undressed and taking one last look in the mirror of herself she realized the necklace was gone. Matilda being to shocked remained at home while her husband went and looked for the necklace, he returned in the early morning hours without the necklace. When Matilda realized she was not going to find the necklace she went around to multiple jewelers trying to find a replica necklace, finally she found one that would cost her thirty-six thousand francs. They did everything they could to get the money and as soon as they could they replaced Mme. Forestier’s necklace.
Upon returning Ms. Forestier was very unpleased saying, “You should have returned it to me sooner. I might have needed it. ” (PG. 15). Matilda now lead a new life, working any job she could to pay off the massive debt she now had, they sold everything she owned and lived with the bare minimum. Now that they were broke she even “clothed like a working-class woman” (PG. 15), changing her whole outlook on life. This life lasted Matilda and her husband a whole ten years, at the end of this decade they were both very weathered as Matilda looked much more weathered then before. Mme. Loisel looked old now. She had become a hard, strong woman, the crude woman of the poor household. ”(PG. 15) One day she was walking in the Champs-Elysees as she came across Mme. Forestier, very excited to see her she approached her.
At first Ms. Forestier didn’t recognize her but as Matilda informed her who she was she figured it out. They began to talk and Matilda decided to explain to her the story about the necklace and all the hardship she had been through. Ms. Forestier in shock then told Matilda that he certain necklace was only worth five hundred francs. Throughout the changes of events in Matilda’s life, Matilda also changes. From the snobby wife who thought she deserved better, to the riches she thought she deserved right back to the other side of the spectrum. Matilda grew to have a different outlook on life and respect what she had a little more then she did before. The events in her life taught her lesson’s, which in turn made her, a different person then she was. Matilda changed throughout the story making her a dynamic character.
Comparing and Contrasting "The Necklace" and "The Gift of the Magi"
The main character in The Necklace’s, and the main character in The Gift of the Magi’s, personalities differ from one another vastly. In The Necklace, the main character Mathilde Loisel is an ungrateful middle class woman who seeks riches and admiration. Alternatively, the main character in The Gift of the Magi, Della Young, is compassionate and works very hard to buy her husband a present, and ultimately, selling the one thing that was more precious to her than anything else, her hair.
Mathilde is selfish, and when her friend, Madame Foreister is sympathetic enough to let her borrow her jewelry, Mathilde asks rudely, “Haven’t you anything else?” (Maupassant, ¶39). In contrast, Della is very appreciative when she receives a hairpin, and is very unselfish when giving away her hair to buy a present for her husband. Mathilde and Della are also both remotely poor. In the beginning of The Necklace, Mathilde and her husband were pretty well off, not too rich, and very simple.
But at the end of the story, they are dirt poor, having spent 10 years paying debts. On the other hand, Della started out fairly poor, only being able to gather $1.87 for a Christmas present, but enjoyed life all the same. These two women are also unlike one another because of how they treat their husbands. When thinking about what to get her husband Jim, Della thought, “Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.” (Henry, ¶6) This quote shows how much Della loves her husband, and how she thinks it is the best thing in the world to be his, and to be married to him. Meanwhile, instead of feeling like her husband “won” her heart, Mathilde feels like she settled for him. She shows these feelings for her husband when O. Henry writes “…and she let herself be married off to a little clerk in the Ministry of Education.” (Maupassant, ¶1).
Madame Loisel also does not show gratitude towards her husband when he acquired the tickets to the party, and when he spent all that money buying her a dress when he really could have bought something for himself. On the other hand, Mrs. Young is very flattered when her husband buys her a present, even one that she has no use for. Both The Necklace’s, and The Gift of the Magi’s, endings are ironic. In The Necklace, Mathilde and her husband spend most of their young life paying off a huge debt because of a diamond necklace that she had lost. 10 years later, she ran into the friend from whom she borrowed the necklace from, and found out that the necklace they thought was thirty-six thousand francs was only five hundred.
The Gift of the Magi ended in a more comical irony than The Necklace’s cynical irony. Della had cut her long, lushes hair to buy Jim a chain for his pocket watch, and Jim sold his prized pocket watch to buy Della a lavish pin for her hair. The Young couple didn’t mind that they both bought something the other one no longer needed, they were just happy to have each other. People are confronted with choices every day, and in The Necklace by Guy De Maupassant and The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry, the main characters make subconscious choices to act selfish, or to act grateful.