ENG125: Introduction to Literature
Instructor: Concetta Williams
April 15, 2013
In this essay, I would like to compare and contrast gender roles and marriage and initially show through two literary works found in my text the differences and likenesses of each story, as they are being told to the audience. The initial stories that I have chosen to use for this essay are “The Necklace”, by Guy de Maupassant and also “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, by James Thurber. I will attempt to compare and contrast both stories and give the audience a brief synopsis, explaining the likenesses and differences and engaging the reader, whilst doing so.
Gender roles and marriages can play an important role in literature. It can be one of the most influential ways that gender roles are constructed. Works of literature construct images of boys and girls and men and women. These works usually depict the girls and women doing housework, playing with dolls, and cooking. The men are usually depicted as sports players and lovers, providers, and figures that are overall stronger than women. Guy de Maupassant’s, “The Necklace” and James Thurber’s, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” are two works of literature that focus on the themes gender roles and marriage, with some similarities, but with even more differences.
In “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Thurber shows a marriage that is not typical. In this marriage, Walter has a wife who is controlling, bossy, and runs the household. She’s aggressive, overbearing, and condescending. She’s everything Walter, the husband, is not. In comparison, Walter is very passive and compliant. This type of gender role reversal is quite unique considering that Thurber has given Mrs. Mitty the character traits that are generally expected of the man or husband to possess, and Walter has the traits usually given to the woman.
In “The Necklace,”...