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I Do Not Want, What I Cannot Have

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Introduction

I Do Not Want, What I Cannot Have Immediately when reading "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant, the reader is introduced to Mathilde Loisel. The reader is led to believe that Mathilde Loisel is living in poverty, without the comforts of the modern world. However the story is not one of poverty. The setting is Paris in the late 1800's, a time period where a women's role was not one of control and was usually under the control of her husband. Mathilde Loisel and her husband live comfortable, they are not endowed with riches but they are by no means poor. The story is one of greed and being materialistic, as the reader learns by the end of the story. Maupassant achieves his goal of creating an interesting story with a social context by using several literary elements. The character development, symbolism and the use of irony play's a vital part in revealing the story's theme. The opening paragraph of the story set the mood for the first half of the story. Maupassant presents the reader with a description of Mathilde that creates the impression that she was raised in poverty. The reader cannot help but feel sympathy towards Mathilde. "She had no dowry, no expectations, no means of being known, understood, loved, wedded by any rich and distinguished man." (177) ...read more.

Middle

The reader at this point begins to have a change of heart towards Mathilde. The feeling of sympathy begins to change to a feeling of dislike. The tone that Maupassant sets in the first part of the story is important because it challenges the readers' feelings at the end of the story. The combination of tone and the use of irony help shape the remainder of the story and change of mood. The most obvious use of irony is the overall result of the story. The story begins with Mathilde complaining about her lifestyle and wishing for something better. She goes to the extent of complaining about the peasant who did her house work. (178) Realizing at the end of the story the true meaning of housework. This simple twist of fate is only one way that Maupassant begins to twist the story. Logically the reader should feel no sorrow for this woman; she received what was coming to her. But the reader should not feel sympathy for her because she did not act with virtue, she was materialistic and greedy. The other major use of irony is with the borrowing of the necklace, the image used to create the story. The borrowing and lose of any piece of jewelry could have been used to display the effectiveness of irony, but Maupassant takes a step further. ...read more.

Conclusion

His use of irony was used flawlessly to emphasize the various aspects of the story. His decision to use a woman also added to the impact of the story. The use of a woman carries with it a negative cogitation. Women, especially in the late 19th century were not in a position of power, by using a woman the reader cannot help but feel for her, because of her position in society. The reader knowing this, will immediately give Mathilde the benefit of the doubt and not judge her quickly. The final aspect of Maupassant's style that truly adds to the effect of the story is the decision to have the necklace worthless at the end of the story. The story could have worked fine with Mathilde and her husband living out their days in poverty, having learned their lesson. Just as the reader thinks it cannot get any worse for them, Maupassant takes it a step further. He adds insult to injury. The feeling felt at the start of the story, sorrow, returns at the end of the story. Instead of feeling satisfaction the reader feels more sorrow. Maupassant takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions, leaving the reader unsure of what to feel at the end of the story. It is this uncertainty that makes this story work so well. More often then not the reader knows what to feel at the end of the story. That is not the case with The Necklace; Maupassant forces the reader to judge Mathilde. 1 Sirianni ...read more.

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