Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant
Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was a famous French writer who was the father of the modern short story. As he was a follower of Flaubert, he could show his talent and writing skills through the economy of style. One volume of verse, three travel books, six novels, and 300 short stories proved his endless desire to write masterpieces. Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was born in 1850 in the modern Seine-Maritime. He came from the prosperous bourgeois family. When his parents separated, his father did not participate in his raising up. Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant has received his love for books from his mother who was a highly educated woman. Besides, the countryside where he spent his childhood influenced his literary way. De Maupassant had transformed the primitive folklore into the realistic story with the psychological depth. His life was a unique experimentation and trial. As a result, his short stories are also unpredictable, full of the sharp issues, psychological depth, and the total irony. This essay intends to depict the writing style of Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant and prove that negativity towards women, irony, and greed are the leading questions about the short story The Necklace.
Negativity Towards Woman in the Story The Necklace
The short story The Necklace by de Maupassant reveals the negative attitude of the author to female behavior. One cannot say that the writer has a hostile opinion about women. On the contrary, through his character Mathilde Loisel, de Maupassant shows passion of women to materialism and massive efforts to richness. Mathilde’s using of the borrowed necklace to look prosperous is the action condemned by de Maupassant. It is impossible to pretend rich and prosperous if you are not so. “I used to hope that some day I would live in a huge mansion. I'd have vestibules hung with Oriental tapestries and lighted by tall lamps of bronze,” says Mathilde (de Maupassant. It means that the author is not negative towards the woman, but he does not approve her desires, dreams, and behaviors. Mathilde does not pay attention to the inner qualities of her husband, his character, and feelings. On the contrary, she cares about material and financial merits. As a result, it is her tragedy as she thinks that borrowed necklace can provide happiness and satisfaction. “No; there's nothing more humiliating than to look poor among a lot of rich women,” says Mathilde. The negativity of de Maupassant towards Mathilde is seen in his irony and mocking at her aspects of happiness. One should say that this protagonist has a false image of her life principles. Money and esteem are her priorities that drive her to borrow the necklace as well as find a nice dress to wear and jewelry. The materialistic interest of Mathilde is accompanied by her deception that soon works against her. It is evident that the unity of such qualities as vanity, proud, and materialism makes Mathilde a negative character who complicates her life with her empty and useless ambitions. Mathilde does not understand the value of her life and her family stating: “All my life I have dreamed of dining in famous restaurants – Maxim's, Fouquet's – of dancing among the rich, but you see where I am. What have I to look forward to?”. De Maupassant depicts the prototype of the woman of his time who is high-maintenance and materialistic preferring life of ease and comfort, notoriety, jewelry, and parties to love, happiness, and family joy. “Maupassant's clever narrative device allows him to lay bare his character's inner life, or what he calls the “ossature invisible” of individual psychology. It means that the author was like a psychologist who penetrated into the mind of the character. Mathilde is depicted as a negative character as she is longing for nice parties, jewelry, clothes, house, and servants. She is resentful and bitter because her dreams about wealth and fame darken her reason, logics, and moral principles. Shallow and rich people are not always happy. False vision of happiness and satisfaction leads to the tragedy of Mathilde, who is deceived by the people with the same principles. One should also state that the negativity of Mathilde was related to her deceptive beautiful appearance that contradicted with the beauty of her soul.
Greed in the Story The Necklace
Another theme depicted by de Maupassant in The Necklace is the theme of greed. Envy and greed do not allow Mathilde to live happy and rewarding life. She desires for more things than she has. Her insatiable need for the luxury and richness is destructive and self-serving. Mathilde cannot satisfy her greed as it is constantly increasing. The capacity of the greed of Mathilde is endless; it changes her character and leads to the poor consequences. Her modest life is disgusting and strange for her. She always underlines the smallest details of the luxurious decors and clothes. The characteristics of greed of Mathilde are related to her visions of another life, parties with celebrities, charming rooms, priceless ornaments, vast saloons, and Oriental tapestries. Her desire to belong to the upper class makes her lonely. “Mathilde suffers endlessly, feeling herself born for every delicacy and luxury,, writes de Maupassant in The Necklace. Her concentration on possession only reinforces her greed making her overly concerned, self-centered, angry, and never satisfied. The necklace is the symbol of her social status, which she has lost at the end of the story. De Maupassant wants to show that the life of Mathilde is as unimportant and fake as the jewelry that she wore. Being miserable and unhappy, Mathilde has become a tragic character who suffers from poverty of her values, lack of the moral principles and love for her life. Greed is the main reason for her unhappiness and life dissatisfaction. “I danced with every-one-all the most distinguished men! The Count de Brisaille, the Marquis Saint-Challet, Monsieur Deveau – ven the Minister himself, says Mathilde. It is evident that Mathilde is a victim of her greed that destroys her inner world, making it disgusting, selfish, and limited. She supposed that her attractive appearance was the main weapon of winning of the upper class. Her living in an illusory world served a bad joke for her life, as she started to hate it. As a result, she did not live belonging to the lower class and could not enjoy belonging to the upper class. She was on the border with her dreams and hopes that lead nowhere.
Irony in the Story The Necklace
The total irony is the basis of the short story The Necklace. One can distinguish three key aspects of irony of de Maupassant. Firstly, Mathilde spent 10 years of her life lying, deceiving, and pretending that she had lost that legendary necklace. Secondly, the irony of Madame Loisel was that she had borrowed the fake necklace. Therefore, her rich friend was not as prosperous as Mathilde thought. It means that this short story is a total irony concerning the upper class who is not as rich, prosperous, and sophisticated as they show themselves. Thirdly, the irony was related to Mathilde's desire to look rich with the help of that fake necklace. “Save the speeches for the other poor fools you deal with. Now, go. I'm busy”. These words prove that Mathilde had an ironical attitude to the people of the lower class supposing herself different and forgetting that she had the same life but other ambitions. The irony of de Maupassant was cruel as it had led to the tragedy and moral decline of the personality. A worthless necklace was the irony of women who strove for the better life and belonging to the upper class. Mathilde did her best to get into the attractive world of the rich and prosperous people. As a result, she had lost her beauty that was her only weapon. Another irony was that the character thought that fake necklace could reinforce her beauty and raise her social status. Without doubt, de Maupassant applied an irony. However, it was the only way to reveal how such women were miserable. De Maupassant used the dramatic irony so that readers can learn about negative behavior of Mathilde and her tragedy. However, the character did not know about that. As a result, readers are the observers of the story. Besides, in this short story, one deals with the situational irony, as from the beginning, readers do not know that the necklace was fake. The woman believed that the borrowed necklace was expensive and fancy. She worked hard to pay for its replacement. One can name this irony situational one because Mathilde’s materialism resulted in her tragedy Kapogianni. Irony in The Necklace served as a climax of the depicted events. De Maupassant did not criticize Mathilde. He mocked at people who did not belong to the very distinct classes at birth but strove for becoming members of them. Ironical words or phrases penetrated merely every sentence of the story The Necklace. As a result, the readers know everything from the very beginning. However, they hope that Mathilde would wake and forget about her obsession with luxury and richness. Mathilde accused fate of her poor and miserable life. The most ironic part of the story was related to the unnecessary sacrifice of Mathilde when she replaced the fake necklace. “In a shop in the Palias-Royal, they found a necklace that seemed to them exactly like the one they were looking for”.
In conclusion, one should say that Guy de Maupassant was the master of the short stories that could depict any issue in few laconic sentences. Sharp social problems were the leading aspects of his short stories. Irony was his weapon for the condemning of the negativity and greed of his characters. Realism and psychological depth of his short stories differed him from other writers. Negativity to woman in The Necklace was revealed through her reliance upon the beauty, attractiveness of appearance, and desire to join the upper class. The negative attitude to woman was seen in her preferring of materialism to the moral principles. The theme of greed in The Necklace was revealed through the obsession of the main character with the smallest detail of luxury and richness. Mathilde had become the witness of her endless and hungry greed that made her even more miserable than she was before. Her visions of another life, parties with celebrities, charming rooms, and priceless ornaments only reinforced her thirst for the luxurious life. This story appealed to me because it reflected the real consequences of materialism and desire for richness and luxury. I have chosen the story The Necklace because it is ironical, sharp, realistic, and psychologically deep. I have learned that materialistic values are empty, useless, and can lead to tragedy and greed. After all, happy and rewarding life are not defined by the luxury.