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“The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant is a well-known short story that draws attention of ordinary readers as well as professional critics by important themes and unexpected ending. Even though the critics are more aware of different literary movements and techniques used by the writers, sometimes the average reader without previous experience of doing literary analysis is more susceptible to the true essence of the story and its meaning for a person. In order to create the general critical analysis of “The Necklace”, two articles by critics were chosen and compared with my perspective on the story.
The first article evaluating the themes and their meaning in the short story is written by Virginia Brackett. The first aspect of evaluation in the article deals with different techniques that Guy de Maupassant used to make “The Necklace” more emphatic and expressive. Brackett states that the writer adhered to repetition, alliteration, and detailed description in short sentences in order to build “narrative momentum” (Brackett). Even though Brackett focuses more on the literary techniques, I am inclined to support O'Faolain’s opinion regarding the peculiarity that creates the tension of the short story. O'Faolain, the author of another critical evaluation, states that the tension, emphasis, and expressiveness of the story lie in the “realistic portrayal of human relationships and society” (“The Necklace Premium Study Guide” 30). “The Necklace” would have been impressive without unexpected ending that reveals the truth about the nature of the lost piece of jewelry (“The Necklace Premium Study Guide” 30). I strongly support this idea since the relationships described in the work, attitudes of people towards their socio-economic status, dreams, desires, and misdeeds are more significant than literary techniques.
Brackett also reflects on the behavior of the protagonist (Mathilde), stating that it is her pride and greed that turned her family from the middle-class to the servant class. At this point, I have nothing to contradict with because I share the same opinion. Having experienced the situation similar to Mathilde’s, I understood that human pride, selfishness, greed, and inability to value what we have are the major cause of the misfortunes that we encounter in our lives. Poverty contributes to the formation of greedy attitude towards material things, but it does not make us reject people that have low income. Brackett also implies that the Monsieur Loisel accepts his social status and lives as the rest of people belonging to middle class do. In case of the protagonist’s husband, I noticed another thing that in my opinion is more important than the social status. It is Monsieur Loisel’s patience and desire to help his wife feel happier. At this point of my life I understand that love and attitude of close people are more important than anything else, and describing the way Monsieur Loisel acts, Guy de Maupassant proved that he thought just same. O'Faolain claims that the author of the story makes the comment on human relationships, even though in “The Necklace” they are more social than personal (“The Necklace Premium Study Guide” 31). I have no objections regarding this satatement since for me relationships between people in the story are more important than anything else. Brackett also states that some critics mention feminism in the story, however, I think, it is only a secondary subject in terms of de Maupassant’s “The Necklace”.
To conclude, critics have different approaches towards the themes and important aspects in the short story by de Maupassant. Some of the ideas they suggest are secondary from the perspective of an average reader. However, other implications such as the importance of human relationships and their realistic depiction cannot be disregarded since they are significant for the understanding all aspects that the author wanted the reader to pay attention to in “The Necklace”.
Brackett, Virginia. “The Necklace.” Masterplots, Fourth Edition. Literary Reference Center, 2010. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.
The Necklace Premium Study Guide. Farmington Hills: Gale, 2002. PDF file.