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The Irony in Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace"

  • Date Submitted: 07/12/2010 08:44 AM
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The Necklace

Part II   Fiction  
The Irony in Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace"
Ambush By Tim O’Brien
Comparison/Contrast   Essay

Stephanie Ramsey
English   101
Professor Sturibant
July 12, 2010

The Necklace   1

The Irony in Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace"
Guy de Maupassant’s short story “The Necklace” weaves a tale about Madame Mathilde Loisel who dreams of the finer things of life and is not content with her secure, middle class lifestyle. The price she pays for a single evening of elegance turns into years of drudgery and despair. This is a story that has stood the test of time and is as relevant today as when Maupassant wrote it in the late nineteenth century.
The Plot Begins
The plot begins with a description of the protagonist, Mathilde, a young lady born into a family with little means, and who marries a gentleman who is employed as a clerk. The setting of this story is late nineteenth century France. Maupassant employs the limited omniscient narrative perspective and utilizes third-person narration in this short story that allows his readers an intimate look into Mathilde’s life. Utilizing this point of view enables his readers to appreciate the changes that take place in her character. The narrator’s tone in this piece is unsympathetic towards the protagonist.
Mathilde's Life
Mathilde is unhappy with her lot in life. She is portrayed as someone who believes she deserves a better life than the one she has; she wants to “please, to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after”. The shame that she feels about her own financial and social status is something that many people can understand. The difference is that most people are unwilling to make the sacrifices made by Mathilde and her husband for one night of pleasure.
The Necklace   2
Masterfully Portrayed
Maupassant masterfully portrays the depth of emotion of this character throughout this story especially in the scene when her husband comes home with an...


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