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Explore the ways in which de Maupassant presents Mathilde Loisel as a character who develops and matures during the course of The Necklace..

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Introduction

IGCSE English Language Section B Assignment. 'The Necklace.' By Guy de Maupassant Explore the ways in which de Maupassant presents Mathilde Loisel as a character who develops and matures during the course of the narrative. The writer has presented the development and maturity of Mathilde, the protagonist of the story throughout the course of the narrative effectively. De Maupassant has done so by firstly providing detailed information illustrating the fussiness of the extremely delicate Mathilde, then contrasting her situation with a series of events later to emphasize the change she undergoes later in the story and the extent to which she matures and 'grown up' from a 'child.' In the beginning, Mathilde is described as a 'charming young creature' who is married to a 'little' clerk, suggesting at the time beauty is the most important value of women and the value of a clerk is just too 'small' in comparison. As foreshadowed by the difference in status, in the second paragraph Mathilde is described to dress 'plainly' and 'was unhappy' due to the clerk she has married, 'as if she had really fallen from a higher station.' The introduction of Mathilde as a self-obsessed woman who sees herself as a high ranked aristocrat gives us the impression of a spoilt girl who demands everything to be perfect whereas everything is limited by her low status husband, foretelling the events that happen later. ...read more.

Middle

Hearing a seemingly wonderful suggestion from her husband, Mathilde 'uttered a cry of joy' when she realizes that she can borrow expensive jewelries for free from her friend Madame Forestier. Again, this highlights her greed as she desires things for free. In addition, even when she is shown a large box of jewelries, she keeps asking for more until she finds a superb diamond necklace. Her 'hands trembled' and is 'lost in ecstasy', as if in love herself with the necklace. This goes to show Mathilde's greed for the physical luxuries and her obsession with really the necklace but not her own beauty without the diamond necklace. In fact, the 'black satin box' that contains the necklace can be said to have associations with the Pandora's Box which is said to bring bad luck, foreshadowing the later events. Indeed, Mathilde is cursed with all the bad luck like, though not yet displayed at the ball coming after, as she 'was a great success'. She 'was prettier than any other woman present, elegant, graceful, smiling and wild with joy.' There is an irony though, the diamond necklace itself was never mentioned, an indication of its insignificance. Once again, de Maupassant describes Mathilde to be intoxicated by pleasure, 'in a sort of cloud of happiness', as if she feels drugged, although in reality everything is just an fantasy image only. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nonetheless, Mathilde has changed as she no longer envies her friend Madame Forestier who is 'still young, still beautiful, still charming' (the use of triplet here) when she bumps into her 'after the labors of the week'. She was reluctant to see Madame Forestier ten years ago but now she is no longer afraid to. Clearly, Mathilde develops and matures over the ten year span. De Maupassant does not emphasize the details of labour during the ten years but focuses on the outcomes, and changes of Mathilde. She matured and 'looked old', becoming 'the woman of impoverished households with frowsy hair, skirts askew and red hands.' The use of dialog between Madame Forestier and Mathilde, 'Oh, my poor Mathilde! How you are changed!' and the contrast with her charming appearance furthermore highlight the unpleasant punishments Mathilde have undergone. In conclusion, the author constructs the narrative with good organization. De Maupassant lists series of events to contrast the differences between Mathilde before the 'punishment' and after. In the beginning he builds up and emphasizes the extremely flawed character of Mathilde, then following up with a turning point where it separates the whole story into two with Mathilde being at two extremes. Thus it is clearly shown that Mathilde develops much in maturity, not a spoilt child anymore as there is a strong contrast between her at the beginning and at the end. It can be considered the main idea de Maupassant conveys throughout the narrative. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jason Lin 11T Jason Lin 11T ...read more.

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