Be Careful What You Wish For
English 125 – Introduction to Literature
Dr. Jennifer Wells
September 1, 2014
Be Careful What You Wish For
This essay is to compare and contrast the two short stories “How I Met My Husband” and “The Diamond Necklace”. The theme in both of these stories is the fact that you should appreciate what you have and not wish for what you can’t have. As the title hints at, in both of these stories there is the desire for something that leads to a life changing situation. For one person the ending is a good one but, for the second story, the ending shows by wishing for something that you do not have can lead to a change in your whole life’s situation. There is love in both stories with the contrast being that in the first story the love is for a man; the second story’s love is for the material things that a woman believes is what would make her happy. This all ties in to the idiom of “be careful what you wish for, you just may get it” (Idioms and Phrases, n.d.). This phrase means that sometimes “if you get things that you desire, there may be unforeseen and unpleasant consequences” (Idioms and Phrases, n.d.). In the two stories of this essay, there was something unforeseen that happened in one and very unpleasant consequences in the other. The authors in both stories have used imagery to show the consequences of wanting something you can’t have. In “The Diamond Necklace” the imagery shows where a young beautiful lady who was never happy with her life ends up looking and feeling much worse. “Her hair was badly done, her skirts were awry, and her hands were red” (de Maupassant, 1884). In the story “How I Met My Husband”, the imagery is more subtle and has a happier ending than the first story. The author describes how the girl in the story feels when she realizes a letter will not be coming from someone who she believes she loves. “One day walking back with the hydro bill stuck in my hand, that was all, looking across at the fairgrounds with the full-blown milkweed and dark teasels, so much like fall, it just struck me: No letter was ever going to come” (Munro, 1974). The setting for these stories, one in the city and one in the country, show it doesn’t matter where you live or how you live, everyone is human and we wish for things that just don’t work out the way we think they should. “How I Met My Husband”, is set out in the country. You can tell this by the imagery that the author uses to show what the landscape is like and also by the telling of where the story takes place, “bought an old house out on the Fifth Line, about five miles out of town…. town people buying up old farms, not to work them but to live on them” (Munro, 1974). The story is told with a first person point of view, with the main character, a 15 year old girl, telling the story of her life. Using the first person point of view tells the readers that this is how the girl feels what happened in the story but we need to keep in mind that the facts could be different by embellishing them or to even be hiding something that would make her not look as innocent as the story portrays, she is wishing for a relationship with an older man whom she believes she is in love with. This appears to be taking place in the late 1950’s to this reader. Times were innocent and that is when people wanted to live in the country since cars were more available so they could get to town and be away from the traffic and population. The time is shown by the lines, “Peebles had an automatic washer and dryer, the first I ever saw….not having to struggle with the wringer and hang up and haul down”. I can remember my mother having a wringer washer, putting clothes through the wringer when I was young. That is why I believe this story takes place in the 50’s. The image in my mind of that makes me think that while the young girl isn’t wishing for a better life, she did live a...
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