Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Literature, Life, Necklace, Family, Women, Husband, Character, Guy De Maupassant

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/01/11

Analysis of “The Jewelry” by Guy de Maupassant

Guy de Maupassant is a recognized master of short stories, counting as many as three hundred and six (Encyclopedia Britannica). Written in 1884, "The Necklace", also known by the title “The Jewelry”, became a fine example of a short story with an unexpected ending, forcing the reader to rethink the narrative on receiving the last bits of information. The writer became what would be now called a trendsetter, as this ending became a kind of a benchmark for many other short stories. In “The Necklace” Maupassant raised several vital issues, such as conflict of desires and capabilities, the discrepancy between spiritual organization of a human being and the social conditions of their existence, the detrimental impact of bourgeois society to the soul by provoking moral weakness and fear of the socially superior people.
The composition of “The Necklace" is based on the classic short story principle. In the exposition the author introduces the reader to the circumstances of life and the nature of the main character Mrs. Mathilde Loisel. She is depicted as a weak, but beautiful woman reaching out to a better life, that, as she sees it, of being surrounded by exquisite things and people. The entanglement of the novel is a natural extension of the exposition, and an independent element of the plot. Mathilde, who strives for everything expensive and fashionable, becomes bitterly aware that she has nothing to wear for an evening party in her husband's ministry. The conflict of the story is bidirectional: constantly struggling with herself, Mrs. Loisel is forced to stand up to adverse external circumstances, which is a lack of decent attire, in the beginning, and when it’s found, there’s no jewelry to underscore it. Mathilde gets the money for the dress from her husband and borrows a diamond necklace from a rich friend of hers, Mme. Forestier. The happy heroine goes to the ministerial ball and overshadows all those present ladies and fully enjoys the attention, which she dreamed of all her life. The culmination of the novel strikes at the time the heroes return home, where Matilda and her husband find out that the necklace is missing. Further events develop as a downward spiral. First the couple is looking for original jewel, and then decides to compensate the owner by ordering a replica from a jeweler. Giving the necklace back to Mme. Forester, husband and wife are immersed in a miserable life for the next ten years. One evening of happiness is paid for by ten years of hardship and poverty. A chance meeting of Matilde and Mme. Forester meets on the Champs Elysees surprises everyone and, first all the reader by an unexpected ending: diamond necklace was a fake, like the rest of the world, which the main character was so enthusiastic about at the beginning of her life.
Semantically "The Necklace" is split (and graphically divided by the author himself) into three parts: in the first, the biggest, Maupassant draws a quiet and secure life of Mrs. Loisel as a clerk’s wife; in the second, midway by the volume, comes the ball that is followed by misadventures of the main characters; the third, and the smallest, describes heavy workdays Mrs. Loisel, forced to eke out a miserable life of a people woman.
The character of Mrs. Loisel is psychologically calibrated and volatile: delicate, fragile, with a subtle perception of beauty and wealth, grievously tormented by being left out the circle of things and people, which her soul desires to possess and by in company of, she eventually turns into a strong woman, seasoned by work and the common life. Former modesty (reluctance to appear in public in a dress with live flowers, the fear to admit to the loss of valuables best friend) is replaced in Mathilde by simple, working honesty of a person who already paid their dues.
Her husband Mr. Loisel is a solid character from the beginning of the narrative from the beginning of the narrative: he is proud of his work, he is comfortable in their environment (he has friends with whom he wants to hunt in the summer; he happily eats cabbage soup, which revolts Matilda), he loves his wife and is ready to give her everything he's got. Mr. Loisel perceives the losing of the necklace with due humility and, as a man of exceptional integrity, solves the problem by giving away his inheritance and ordinary life in an apartment with a maid for a momentary pleasure of the woman he loves. Volatility of life, impermanence and irony of life’s changing situations is one of the main themes of the story, which is conveyed by this literary form. The story is concise, with abrupt turns and the uneven leaps of the narrative. One paragraph is dedicated to ten years of hard labor necessary to pay up for the necklace, which is preceded by detailed scenes of preparation to the ball and the description of the ball itself
Mme. Forester is a distinct bourgeois character. She is rich, condescending and always good to her friend. But her wealth is not what it seems, at least to Mathilde. The necklace was made of fake diamonds, and she was so used to this deception, that she did not consider it necessary to tell Matilda about it. Guy de Maupassant, the French short story giant, shows us the Nietzsche's "will to power" that suddenly emerged in a simple, socially unremarkable woman. We can feel it in her persistence with the husband, at Mme. Forrester’s, when she’s picking jewelry to be at the ball. She’s going to dress and act to kill and we later learn that she succeeds, but only for one evening.
For Maupassant the life is a playground of the chances. Nobody forced Mathilde and her husband to be so brutally honest. But one is always a prisoner of their character. They can do otherwise, but then they will not be able to continue to live with this. We are naturally sorry for the heroine, since she lost 10 years of her life. She lost even more than 10 years – it’s her beauty and attractiveness that are gone forever. That is the cost of one single day of her feminine triumph. But this is not enough for Maupassant. The ruthless author finishes her as she learns from her former friend that the missing diamonds were a fake. The ending of the story is open: Matilda’s friend who is touched by the sad story of injustice can return the jewelry as a certain consolation. But the life of the heroine, regardless of this, and her highly esteemed youth is, in fact, already gone And there's nothing anybody can do about it. This type of pessimism is characteristic of Maupassant’s short stories (Bryant 19). The reader feels defenseless and vulnerable, afraid of what life has in store for the future.

Works cited

Maupassant, Guy de. The Entire original Maupassant Short Stories. Translated by Albert
M.C. MacMaster et al. Project Gutenberg EBook. 2004. Web. Accessed at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3090/3090-h/3090-h.htm
Bryant, David S. The Rhetoric of Pessimism and Strategies of Containment in The Short
Stories of Guy De Maupassant. New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1993. Print.
Encyclopedia Britannica. S.v. Guy de Maupassant. Accessed at
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/369995/Guy-de-Maupassant

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