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Marxist Literary Theory: "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant (Short Story)

Group Summative Grade 12 University English Assignment

Brianna Drew

on 7 October 2016

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Transcript of Marxist Literary Theory: "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant (Short Story)

Introduction and Thesis
What does the Marxist Theory Ask?
What does the Marxist Theory Assume?
What does a Marxist ask when reading the story “The Necklace”?
If the main character was in the higher class do you think she would have realized that the necklace was a fake?
In this short story, who has the money/power and who does not?
What happens as a result of this power imbalance?
The short story "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant is suggesting that we cannot ever be truly happy with what we have. That only money and social status can bring happiness.
What is Marxism (in Literature)?
Marxism was originally created on the idea of correcting the tension and inequality in society. Marxist theories are based on the idea of uncovering the inner personal ideas that drive society.
Guy de Maupassant
Marxist Literary Theory: The Necklace
Presented by Erica Thompson, Grace Cumpson, and Brianna Drew
What are the Issues/Opinions Regarding this Theory?
Who is Guy de Maupassant?
The Message of "The Necklace"
How this Story exemplifies the Marxist Literary Theory
Class Activity Time!
The History of Marxist Theory in Literature
Works Cited
"Genuine equality means not treating everyone the same, but attending equally to everyone's different needs." - Terry Eagleton, Why Marx was Right.
"The history of all previous societies has been the history of class struggles." - Karl Marx.
"All social rules and all relations between individuals are eroded by a cash economy, avarice drags Pluto himself out of the bowels of the earth." - Karl Marx
Quotes on Marxism
There is a strong belief among theorists that the idea of Marxism is outdated, historically dependent.
Michael Foucault a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, philologist and, literary critic, had the same thoughts on Marxism, Saying, "Marxism exists in the nineteenth-century thought as a fish exists in water, that is, it ceases to breathe anywhere else."
Other theorists such as Raymond Williams and Alan Sinfield believed that analyzing literature is not only about justifying the way things are, it is much more complex than that, it can say more than just one thing.
A successful, widely-known writer from France, mostly known for his short stories.
Alive from August 5th, 1850 to July 6th, 1893 (death by suicide, suffered from mental illness.)
As a young man, he fought in the Franco-Prussian war which heavily influenced the settings, tragedies, and suffering in many of his short stories.
He is considered one of the fathers of the modern short story as well as one of its finest practitioners.
He often depicts human lives and destinies as well as social forces in disillusioned and often pessimistic forms.
We are taught in society that in order to be accepted in society and to be happy that we must have money and nice, expensive things.
You can never be truly happy with what you have. We look at what we don't have rather than what we do have.
Greed, selfishness, and desperation.
"Ignorance is Bliss".
Marxism is a theory created by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 1920s.
Social justification was very popular in Marx and Engels lifetime due to the industrial revolution, leading them to create the theory.
Marxism came to light as politics and social standards become more difficult to maintain in the 1920s.
Marxism’s goal was to create a society where social classes were eliminated, by controlling and taking ownership of personal insecurities.
Money and power.
Focuses on societal issues like class, culture, power, etc.
Our conscience is developed based on environmental i.e. class you were born into, how you see the world.
Global capitalism - politics, power.
Socio-economics - classes, dividing individuals.
International relations - class conflict, exploitation.
Economic Issues - money, can afford more.
World is run by classes, money/power influence and exploitation.
"The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant exemplifies that as long as we focus on what we don't have rather than what we do have, we will never be able to appreciate life and all it has to offer.
“Guy de Maupassant.” American Literature, https://americanliterature.com/author/guy-de-maupassant/bio-books-stories. .
“Guy de Maupassant.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/guy-de-maupassant.
“Guy de Maupassant Biography.” Enotes, Enotes, http://www.enotes.com/topics/guy-de-maupassant.
“Karl Marx.” Proverbia, http://en.proverbia.net/citasautor.asp?autor=14768.
“Karl Marx's Theories: Class Differentiation and Revolution, Socialism &Amp; Capitalism.” Study, Study, http://study.com/academy/lesson/karl-marxs-theories-class-differentiation-and-revolution-socialism-capitalism.html.
“Marxism.” Angelfire, http://www.angelfire.com/ok3/meredith/marxism.html.
“Marxism State of the Theory.” Shmoop, Shmoop University, Inc., http://www.shmoop.com/marxism/state-of-the-theory.html.
Maupassant, Guy de. “The Necklace.” Le Gaulois, 17 Feb. 1884. Short Story
“On Marxist Literary Criticism, Its Problems, and Its Value.” Waiting for Putney (Word Press), 23 Mar. 2014, https://www.google.ca/amp/s/waitingforputney.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/on-marxist-literary-criticism/amp/?client=safari.
“Quotes About Marxism.” Goodreads, http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/marxism.
Ryan, Lorraine, Mrs. "Literary Theory." Granite Ridge Education Centre, Sharbot Lake. 27 Sept. 2016. Reading.
“The Necklace.” SparkNotes, SparkNotes, http://www.sparknotes.com/short-stories/the-necklace/.
Yama. “Biography of Guy de Maupassant.” The Literature Network, http://www.online-literature.com/maupassant/.

"She suffered endlessly, feeling herself born for every delicacy and luxury."
Greed, believes that she will only be happy if she has fancy, expensive things.

"No... there's nothing so humiliating as looking poor in the middle of a lot of rich women."
Expectations and Conscience, concerned more with what other people think of her, worried that they will judge based on an assumption of her financial "class".

"She danced madly, ecstatically, drunk with pleasure, with no thought for anything, in the triumph of her beauty, in the pride of her success, in a cloud of happiness made up of this universal homage and admiration, of the desires she had aroused, of the completeness of a victory so dear to her feminine heart."
Ignorance, at this point she doesn't know that the necklace isn't extremely expensive, and she bathes in the apparent awe of the wealthy, powerful people in the room. It is interesting how that if she knew that it was not that expensive of a necklace, she wouldn't have had such a wonderful time, even though it's the same necklace.

"Madame Loisel looked old now. She had become like all the other strong, hard, coarse women of poor households. Her hair was badly done, her skirts were awry, her hands were red. She spoke in a shrill voice, and the water slopped all over the floor when she scrubbed it."
Karma, she became what she feared of being, a poor and ugly woman, who was even more sad than when she wasn't living in poverty. She did all this work for what ended up being almost nothing, all to replace a silly necklace. This is what she gets for valuing material things more than happiness.
• Who has the money?
• Who doesn’t have the money?
• Who has the power?
• Who doesn’t have the power?
• What happens as a result of this?
Full transcript