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The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

By M-bone Dec 01, 2013 938 Words
Prescribed Question: How does the text conform, or deviate from, the conventions of a short story and for what purpose?
Guy de Maupassant has a dark humor and likes to see Mathilde and her husband struggle. In The Necklace a women named Mathilde is lended a diamond necklace for a ball by a women named Madame Forestier. When she and her husband get home from the ball, they realize the diamond necklace is missing. Instead of telling Madame Forestier she lost her necklace, Mathilde and her husband decide to buy her a new one. When they finally tell Madame Forestier they lost her necklace, she told them it was fake. The Necklace conforms to the conventions of a short story by its structure, its storyline, its characterization, and its mood. This essay claims that Guy de Maupassant demonstrates the shortcomings of an average couple hitting a rough patch using humor to show they are not worthy of sympathy.

The storyline adds to the conformity of the conventions of a short story because there is a protagonist which is Mathilde, an antagonist which is Madame Forestier, a climax and an ending. Endings that are funny and unexpected are often characteristics of a short story. Guy de Maupassant tries to show humor in the story by showing Mathilde and her husband running around like chickens with their heads cut off i.e. “ He went to the police station, to the newspapers, to offer a reward, to the cab companies, everywhere that a ray of hope impelled him.” (4). There is humor in this because they do all this work to find and replace the necklace to find out it was fake and all that time and stress was for nothing. Even though Mathilde and her husband take a very pragmatic approach to the situation they still come up short and Guy de Maupassant tries to use this to make readers laugh even though it might be in poor taste to laugh. There is humor in this but it is a sort of dark humor i.e. “She remained in her evening clothes, lacking the strenght to get into bed, huddled on a chair, without volition or power of thought. This is dark humor because Mathilde is in complete shock about losing this necklace and you can imagine the priceless look on her face.

The mood in The Necklace is one of stress and urgency. Stress because they lost the diamond necklace, which they borrowed. Urgency because they are trying to find a replacement before Madame Forestier realizes it is gone. Guy de Maupassant demonstrates Mathilde and her husband being in distress and the urgency in which they search for the necklace i.e. “I . . . I . . . I've no longer got Madame Forestier's necklace....” (3). “I'll go over all the ground we walked, “he said, “and see if I can't find it.” (4). This supports my thesis because this is when they hit the rough patch. Another mood that is expressed in the text is optimism. When Mathilde and her husband first realize they lost the necklace there was a slight moment of anger but they did not dwell on that anger. The first thing that is asked is “Are you sure that you still had it on when you came away from the ball?” (3). They immediately tried to solve the situation when they realized they lost the necklace. This is also teamwork to the utmost extent. The mood of The Necklace would mostly conform to the conventions of a short story because there is a feisty and uneasy main character that has an interesting personality that makes you want to keep reading.

Mathilde in the beginning is characterized as ungrateful, stuck up, and overly dramatic. An instance of this kind of behavior occurs almost immediately for example, “One evening her husband came home with an exultant air, holding a large envelope in his hand. “Here's something for you,” he said... Instead of being delighted, as her husband hoped, she flung the invitation petulantly across the table, murmuring: “What do you want me to do with this?” (1). This shows that Mathilde is ungrateful and stuck up. Guy de Maupassant is letting Mathilde go through this trouble to teach her a lesson. The lesson Mathilde learns is be contented with what you have. I believe this also to be the moral. This conforms to the convention of a short story because most short stories have a moral. Mathilde's antics do not end yet, “She looked at him out of furious eyes, and said impatiently: “And what do you suppose I am to wear at such an affair?” (1). This demonstrates that Mathilde is filled with anxiety regarding this ball because of the way she responded to this seemingly delightful news.

For structure, The Necklace would deviate from the conventions of a short story because there is a lot of dialogue and usually there isn't a lot of it in a short story. Guy de Maupassant uses dialogue so we can, as readers; see first hand what this couple is going through and how they are going to resolve their issues. The author gives us this front row seat so we can possibly share the same laugh as he did when this short story was written.

The Necklace, written by Guy de Maupassant, is written to satisfy the part of us that wants to laugh. The author does this through the structure, the storyline, the characterization, and the mood. Guy de Maupassant enjoys watching Mathilde and her husband struggle. By creating the story using the four aspects talked about in the essay, he seeks our laughter as well.

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