Having live a short life (1850-1893), Guy de Maupassant’s has been unsurprisingly remembered for its economy of his writing. It is clear that he is praised for the structure and form in his stories as opposed to his shortened career. Moore in his articles examines him as an example of naturalistic author, whose reactions to Romanticism included a disdain for fantastic plots, making of their works “merely a series of scenes” (Moore 96). In Shire's work, she also discusses de Maupassant's relationship to naturalism, particularly in the characters' relationships to animals (p 48). The most remarkable thing in his writing is their ability to create place, time and character in concise but rich in detail. Despite being majorly celebrated for his engaging short fiction and clever novels, which majorly had war featuring as their main themes, he also wrote a scholarly book of poetry and extensive travelogues. The most important aspect of his life that majorly impacted on was the fact that he was widely travelled. He travelled throughout the continent, which greatly affected both his nonfiction and fiction writing. This marked him a true regeneration man.
There are certain events and facts about Guy de Maupassant that may be considered influential to his effective writing. First, while he was still a young man, he met with Flaubert, the author of classic Madame Bovary. This writer was influential to Guy de Maupassant’s development as a writer. Secondly, early in his career, he began the development of his own short stories and novels. During this period, he was working as a journalist for several newspapers. This also assisted in the development as a writer. It is also remarkable that his work influenced the careers of several later writers including W. Somerset and O. Henry. The final years of his life were with little developments since he suffered from syphilis for quite a long time, which slowed the writer’s contribution.
His cynicism regarding marriage can be related to the nature of the family he was brought up in. he was forced to live with his mother following a family separation, which was triggered by his father resorting to other women for comfort because his wife was prone to neuroses. His bitterness with life saw him expelled from a catholic boarding school following his writing of a poem, which he entitled “imprisonment” (Maupassant viii). Additionally, his experiences during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, which made him drop out of his law studies in Paris, show his disregard for the degradation and folly of war. His experience in the ministries of navy and education are also evident in his writings in which the major setting was reflecting on the hopeless lives of civil servants.
His writings, which were generally shaped by his experiences in life, have become influential to the readers who also suffer the same consequences he underwent during the period of his life. Readers get informed, for instance with the injustices in the civil service, where he served for a better part of his career. Additionally, as a writer, he had been so confined to himself with the problems he faced, however, through his writings, he got a perfect platform to release his stress and explain himself though in an artistic manner.
The deceptiveness of appearance
This is one of the issues that I could draw from my point of view while going through this piece of writing. Mathilde’s real is situation shows that she is neither rich nor part of the social class she wishes to be a member. She strives very hard make this a reality; she works very hard to make her life appear in the manner that she wishes, which is not the actual situation of her life. She lives in an imaginative world where the life ideal life she would have wished to live in does not conform to the real situation that she is facing. She is persuaded by her instincts that her beauty and charm can make her worthy of the great things she desire (Supriyanto 11-68).
In this piece of work, the party becomes a triumph since for the first time; there is a perfect match of her appearance and the reality. Considering that she is prettier than other women are, she is sought after by men, admired by many and generally flattered by all. During the few hours of the party, she is satisfied that her life is exactly as she expects it to be. However, the reality behind all the match in her beauty and the life she wishes to live is just a scheme. From this point of view of this character, it is very evident that her class and wealth that all believed were simply illusions and deceptive. Her appearance swayed many people to realize that she is only living in an imaginary world; her real is far from the ideal (Maupassant 14-32).
Madame Forestier’s necklace highlights the deceptiveness of appearance. Her necklace, which is nothing but costume jewelry, appears deceptively to be made of diamonds. Considering that it came from Madame Forestier’s jewelry box, it gains the illusions of richness and value. If Monsieur Loisel suggested that Mathilde wear fake jewel, she would have jeered at this idea the same way she did to the suggestion of wearing flowers. The thing that instills even more confidence in Mathilde is the fact that she regards Madame Forestier as one of the wealthiest and of the class that she desires to belong. Therefore, if Madame Forestier had fake jewels, this meant to her that even the rich members of the society are not as rich as they actually appear to be, they might just be exaggerating, but their real wealth could be less than the ideal situation depicted to the public, which is the same case with her (Maupassant 21-40).
Both women in this writing by Guy de Maupassant are deceived by appearance: Madame Forestier does not inform Mathilde that the diamond necklace is fake; ironically, she also fails to inform Madame Forestier that she exchanged the necklace. These occurrences in this writing show that value entirely depends on perception and that appearances are easily deceiving. This conforms to the saying that goes; not all that glitters is gold.
The perceived power of objects
This is also another evident issue in the ‘necklace’. According to Mathilde, objects have the power to transform her life. Her happiness is fleeting at best when she finally hands two of her most desired objects – a dress and a necklace. In the begging, she lists the objects that she lacked and would have loved to posses. She feels as an outsider by comparing the objects that are missing in her home, but present in the homes of other women, this makes her envy other women. She lacks respect for and fails to recognize the pleasant things that she has – a loving husband, a comfortable home, a hot soupMathilde only gains comfort from the objects that she does not possess. Mathilde is finally happy when she finds the dress and necklace, which finally transform her to the happy, envied and admired woman she has always wished to be.
As opposed to Mathilde, Madame Forestier steeps objects with little power and value. She uses her wealth to purchase the things she desire and she realizes that objects are not the important things in the world. She appears to be careless with objects. The fact that she owns fake jewels also suggests that she is aware that appearance is only value according to people’s perceptions.
The danger of martyrdom
Mathilde who is unable to accept reality try to imitate the life of the class she wishes to belong. After losing the ‘diamond necklace she borrowed from Madame Forestier, she sacrifices her ten years in repaying the debt she took to replace it. This even intensifies her feeling of being a martyr. She is even more determined in the hard work and depicting a martyr behavior than ever before. The worst part of this is the fact that her beauty is being wasted by the hard work she does. However, she fails to recognize the fact that she is single handedly responsible for her failure and the consequences of her life. Her sacrifice becomes even worthless when Madame Forestier reveals that the necklace was counterfeit.
Even though Mathilde views herself as a martyr, the martyr here is Monsieur Loisel, who sacrifices his well-being for the sake of Mathilde. He sacrifices buying a gun to buy Mathilde a dress.
Finally, the author of The Necklace indicates that pretence is as expensive as ignorance. He explains how expensive it takes the main character to keep up with the desires of her life. She tries very hard to impress the people with whom she interacts and does not appreciate the actual things that she owns. She even fails to recognize her loving husband, but instead compares herself to other women and the possessions in their homes.
Moore, Olin H. "The Romanticism of Guy de Maupassant." Publications of the Modern Language Association of America (1918): 96-134.
Supriyanto, Bambang. "Mathilde’s Internal and External Conflicts as Reflected in Guy De Maupassant’s The Necklace." Students' Journal of Language & Culture 1.11-68 (2012).
Shire, Kathryn. "Guy de Maupassant’s Characters and their Relationship to Animals." German Romanticism, the Sociology of Knowledge and Identity Crisis in Wolf’s Unter den Linden 48: 267.
Guy de Maupassant. The Complete Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume 13. Rockville, Maryland: Wildside Press LLC, 2010. Print.
Guy de Maupassant. The Necklace. 311 Washington St; Woodstock, IL: Dramatic Publishing, 1969. Print.