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To what extent does Guy de Maupassant show sympathy for Madame Loisel in 'The Necklace'?

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To what extent does Guy de Maupassant show sympathy for Madame Loisel in the short story ?The Necklace?? By Crystal Wong 11S Guy de Maupassant was a 19th century French realist, who is often criticized for being misogynistic in his literature. However, in the short story ?The Necklace?, he does not appear to be a misogynist but rather, he uses his character?s flaws to show how it was this that inevitably led to her downfall. We can see examples of this throug h the use of dramatic irony in order to emphasize and highlihgt her flawes not show any sympathy for Madame Loisel; he uses her character and her life to demonstrate the dramatic irony of the situation that she has put herself through. Although he suggests that the hardships that she faced during her life of poverty was, indeed, extremely difficult (as demonstrated by the toll it took on her looks), the characterization of Madame Loisel as a tragic heroine is, as seen through Maupassant?s use of language, only in her own mind. Thus, the portrayal of Madame Loisel is not something that Maupassant is trying to make readers agree with; instead, he tries to show that Madame Loisel?s hardships and ?tragic? life are caused by herself. Our first impression of Madame Loisel is that she is someone who should be sympathized. Maupassant describes her as ??one of those pretty, delightful girl who, apparently by some error of Fate get themselves born the daughters of very ...read more.


This is also further developed when Maupassant states that Monseuir Loisel ?mortgaged the rest of his life?mental torture ahead.? Maupassant introduces Madame Forestier, a childhood friend of Madame Loisel, to further exemplify how greedy and prideful she is. Madame Forestier is portrayed as a ?a friend who was rich, a friend from her convent days?for she was always so unhappy afterwards.? The reader sees that although Mathilde and Madame Forestier are friends, Madame Loisel feels inferior because Madame Forestier has more money. Madame Loisel is clearly envious of her friend, and because she feels that she has nothing to be proud of, Mathilde does not want to talk to her friend. This, however, changes when Madame Loisel recieves the invitation as shown in the quote: ?She gave a delighted cry: ?You?re right! I never thought of that!?? The invitation gives her an oppurtunity to show it off and because of this, she feels that she is of equal standing to Madame Forestier. We learn more about Madame Forestier when she ?went over to a mirror-fronted wardrobe??Choose whatever you like.?? Here we see several things. Firstly, Madame Forestier?s generosity extends to (Raghavan, 2010)the point where she trusts Madame Loisel with her possessions. Secondly, Madame Forestier feels and treats Madame Loisel as an equal, as she thinks that Mathilde is her childhood friend and she is willling to help Madame Loisel out in times of need. ...read more.


As the story progresses, we see that her character has not changed. She tells herself: ?What might not have happened?make or break us!? She does not place the blame on herself and pushes it away by saying that it was a twist of Fate that had brought her to her current situation. This paragraph symbolizes her delusions. There is little sympathy created for Madame Loisel. She yearns for a life which she cannot have and shows no appreciation or contentment with what she does have. She is foolish, childish and ignorant. Everything that makes her happy is shallow, materialistic, therefore, the reader actually feels that she gets what she deserves, because she has devoted her life to the pursuit of a false image, like the necklace that she wore that was fake. Her flaw of judging by appearances rather than depth brings about her downfall as she is blinded by what she believes to be diamonds but does not study them or percieve them to be fake. She is content for the evening with a necklace of glass: the treasure she has dreamed of is never real, but has a high price. Had Madame Loisel not been so petty and too proud to admit her mistake of losing the necklace, her misery could have been avoided. Since her "sacrifice" has been futile and completely unnecessary, she, therefore, deserves little sympathy. ...read more.

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