The Repreentation Of Women In Still I Rise By Maya Angelou And The Necklace By Guy De Maupassant
The portrayal of groups of people in the media has consistently changed with the times. ‘Still I Rise’ and ‘The Necklace’ are both forms of writing that were written during contrasting periods and by two contrasting people. ‘The Necklace was written during the ‘Belle Époque’, which in France was a time of art, economic optimism and regional peace, partly fueled by France’s many colonial ventures. It was a time when the need for more labour jobs increased, which meant that much of the population was given low paying jobs and kept grouped together. This created large class disparities between both the rich and the poor. This topic is prevalently mentioned in ‘The Necklace’. ‘Still I Rise’ was written during 1979 which was a time of poverty and racism in America – mostly directed at the African-American community – despite bills like Affirmative Action as well as the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, ‘64 and ‘68. Black people were still shunned by the majority and were not given equal opportunities. Yet in both these pieces of literature they show people not backing down from when there is hardship ahead of them. They demonstrate the wonder of human spirit.
The main message of ‘Still I Rise’ is about outsiders’ prejudice against the African-American community, especially African-American females. The Poet uses lines like “Does my sassiness upset you?” and “Does my haughtiness offend you?”. Sassiness and haughtiness were seen at the time as mainly female qualities. Maya Angelou uses them to say that she isn’t apologetic or insecure about her femininity. The main message from this quote is that ‘you should be comfortable in your own skin’. Don’t apologize for your bold and unique laugh or your opinionated personality. This gives the reader an understanding of a sense of pride and inner strength. It allows anyone to relate to the message. The writer points a positive light on the hatred against her. She uses sarcasm, and writes in a determined manner to express her strength at always ﬁghting back, no matter the obstacle.
The phrase “Still I Rise” is constantly written in the poem. This line is used to denote that despite all the hardship that African-American women faced at that time they will rise above the hatred. This gives the audience courage to stand up against people who oppress them or send hatred towards them. That feeling that this poem gives the audience is the reason why it was so successful. It gave hope towards a group that needed it the most. One thing you notice when you read Maya Angelou’s poem is the repetition of the phrase “I Rise”. The phrase is used three times before the last two stanzas, which helped present a theme within the piece as well as a rhythm. This also gives the poem a sense of order. All the different topics intertwine through the phrase “I Rise” and this translates to the audience being able to understand the theme easily. In the last two paragraphs the word is used a lot more prevalently, often used to separate different statements. The poem eventually ends with a trio of “I Rise”. This rapid use of the word drills home that phrase “I Rise”. This summarizes the main moral of the story for the reader. The moral that African-American females will not be pushed over despite the hardships they face.
The Poem “Still I Rise” and the short story “The Necklace” both connect through a similar struggle. Which is that both characters fought through through adversity, Maya Angelou did this by not listening to the hatred and animosity. Mathilde Loisel does this by putting her head down, working hard and paying off her debts. In the past both of these things were vital for women to even want to be able to climb the social ladder. This helps give a reader in the past an example and a call to action for people to emulate them. ‘The Necklace’ is set in 19th century France in which the population was divided into different sects. During this time women had a lot less power than men and usually relied on men. There was little chance they would marry above their own class and even less of a chance that they would marry below it. During this time women wouldn’t work and would rely on men to provide the income for the family. This story is about a women named Madame Loisel who is sick of being part of the middle class and dreams of being part of the upper Echelon of society. Madame Loisel talks about “the large parlors, decked with old silk, with their delicate furniture, supporting precious bric-a-brac, and on the coquettish little rooms, perfumed, prepared for the five o’clock chat with the most intimate friends, men well known and sought after, whose attentions all women envied and desired. ” This shows that she doesn’t like how she was born into a certain group due to her gender. She feels, due to her beauty she deserves to have all the riches in the world and because of this she tricks herself. This sends the character down a spiral of desire which leads to self loathing. This ends up being her downfall in the story. When goes to the ball she is so overwhelmed by the fact that she is being treated as upper class she forgets about her necklace and ends up losing it. This leads to 10 years of hard labour which ends up being a wake up call to her that she should accept her place in society.
The worst part is that Madame Loisel always dreamt of the luxuries that come with being high class but never got around to trying to get the kind of money needed for that kind of lifestyle. But when the necessity for money is there her and her husband are able to earn enough. This teaches the audience that there is no point in dreaming about something but not actually doing anything with it. If you try your goals seem more attainable. The writer is able to get across the character of Mathilde to the reader in the first few paragraphs. Though most of the story concerns the events surrounding the ball, the narrator recounts Madame Loisel’s birth into a humble family and marriage. born, as if by an error of fate, into a family of clerks. “She had no dowry, no expectations, no means of becoming known, understood, loved or wedded by a man of wealth and distinction; and so she let herself be married to a minor official at the Ministry of Education”. The fact that the writer wrote this at the start of the story shows how much he wanted to get across this fact about the main character. The reason the reader feels like this character could be real is because of how the writer depicts the plight of the middle class. The lack of demand for money but the longing for it was depicted perfectly in the first few paragraphs in which the narrator of the story talks about how Mathilde dreams of being part of the high class. The story ends with Mathilde, after paying off her debts, going up to Madame Forestier and confessing how she had lost her necklace. Madame Forestier returns with this line “Oh, my poor Mathilde! Mine was an imitation! It was worth five hundred francs at most!. . . “. The surprise ending unhinges the previously implied premise of the story. Until this point, the reader has been able to interpret Mathilde’s ten years of poverty as penance for her stolen night of pleasure at the party and for carelessly losing the borrowed necklace. The ending shatters that illusion, revealing that the ten years of misery were unnecessary and could have been avoided if only Mathilde had been honest with Madame Forestier. Losing the necklace had seemed to be Mathilde’s fatal mistake, but it was actually Mathilde’s failure to be truthful with Madame Forestier that sealed her fate. This shocking realization sheds new light on the previous events and suggests that Mathilde’s future — even though her debts are now repaid — will be none too rosy. This creates even more empathy within the reader for Mathilde.
In conclusion my personal take on both the works is that they both talk about how women were not able to contribute to society or go up the social ladder. “Still I Rise focuses on how black women should keep their head held high even when they face hardship. And ‘The Necklace’ talks about how detrimental giving places in society to different groups are. Both of these Pieces of literature brought light to bad parts of the society during their respective times.
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