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Literary Criticism: "The Necklace" by Guy De Maupassant

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Josephine Agueci

on 17 February 2016

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Transcript of Literary Criticism: "The Necklace" by Guy De Maupassant

Marxist Critique
Formalist Critique
Formalist Critique

Marxist Critique

A Seminar by the lovely Josephine, Aubrey, Natalie, Adriana, & Kaisha
Literary Criticism: "The Necklace" by Guy De Maupassant
The Story:
Chosen Critical Lenses:
Marxist Criticism
Focuses on class and social structure in society.
Power struggles (economic, social, sexual, etc.).
Views text as an isolated unit (outside influences are irrelevant).
Focuses on key elements such as plot structure, imagery, character development, etc..
"The Necklace"
A middle-class woman, with a deep longing of one day living a life of luxury, is invited to a reception with her husband.
After borrowing a necklace to wear at the reception from her friend, she mysteriously loses it.
Necklace must be replaced.
Quote #1
“She was one of those pretty and charming girls, born, as if by an accident of fate, into a family of clerks. With no dowry, no prospects, no way of any kind of being met, understood, loved, and married by a man both prosperous and famous, she was finally married to a minor clerk in the Ministry of Education” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 1).
Marxist Critique
Quote #2
“She grieved incessantly, feeling that she had been born for all the little niceties and luxuries of living. […] All these things, which another woman of her class would not even have noticed, gnawed at her and made her furious. The sight of the Breton girl who did her humble housework roused in her disconsolate regrets and wild daydreams” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 3).
Marxist Critique
Quote #3
“I had an awful time getting a card. Everybody wants one; it’s much sought after, and not many clerks have a chance at one. You’ll see all the most important people there” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 13).
Quote #4
“Mme. Forestier went toward a large closet with mirrored doors, took out a large jewel box, brought it over, opened it, and said to Mme. Loisel, “Pick something out, my dear.” […] All at once she found, in a black satin box, a superb diamond necklace; and her pulse beat faster with longing. Clasping it around her throat, outside her high-necked dress, she stood in ecstasy looking at her reflection” (De Maupassant, Paragraphs 30 and 33).
Marxist Critique
Quote #5
“[Mme. Loisel] went toward her. “Hello Jeanne”. The other, not recognizing her, showed astonishment at being spoken to so familiarly by this common person” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 86).
Marxist Criticism
Quote #6
“Mme. Loisel experienced the horrible life the needy live. She played her part, however, with sudden heroism. That frightful debt had to be paid. She would pay it. She dismissed her maid; they rented a garret under the eaves” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 75).
“[…] she would dream of fashionable dinner parties, of gleaming silverware, of tapestries making the walls alive with characters out of history and strange birds in a fairyland forest; she would dream of delicious dishes served on wonderful china, of gallant compliments whispered and listened to with a sphinxlike smile as one eats the rosy flesh of a trout or nibbles at the wings of a grouse” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 5).
Formalist Critique
Point of View
Third person omniscient narrator! :)
“By sheer willpower she overcame her outburst and answered in a calm voice while wiping the tears from her wet cheeks, […] He was stunned, […] She thought it over for several seconds, going over her allowance and thinking also of the amount she could ask for without bringing an immediate refusal and an exclamation of dismay from the thrifty clerk. Finally, she answered hesitantly, […] He turned a bit pale, for he had set aside just that amount to buy a rifle so that, the following summer, he could join some friends who were getting up a group to shoot larks on the plain near Nanterre” (De Maupassant, Paragraphs 17 and 18).
Plot Structure
Introduction: Quotes
Plot Structure
“She would dream of great reception halls hung with old silks… small, stylish scented rooms just right for the four o’clock chat with some intimate friends, with distinguished and sought after men whose attention every women envies and longs to attract” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 4).
“She had no evening clothes, no jewels, nothing. But those were the things she wanted: she felt that was the kind of life for her…she had a well-to-do friend…whom she no longer go to see simply because she would feel distressed on returning home, She would weep from vexation, regret, despair and anguish” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 6).
“Instead of delight as her husband had hoped, she scornfully tossed the invitation on the table… He gasped, “Why what is the matter? What’s the trouble?” By sheer willpower she overcame her outburst and answered in a calm voice while wiping the tears from her wet cheeks…”Only I don’t have an evening dress and therefore I can’t go… Give the card to some friend at the office whose wife can dress better that I can” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 17).
Plot Structure
Rising Action: Quotes
Plot Structure
Falling Action: Quotes
Plot Structure
Plot Structure
OMG like where's the necklace?!?
“The day of the party arrived and Mme. Loisel was a sensation… All the men turned to look at her, asked who she was, begged to be introduced. All the cabinet officials wanted a dance with her… she danced wildly, drunk with pleasure, giving no thought to anything in the triumph of her beauty, the pride in her success… of a sense of complete victory that is so sweet to a women’s heart” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 37).
“She left around four o’clock in the morning. Her husband since midnight had been dosing in a small empty sitting room […] he threw on their wraps […] modest garments of everyday life… she felt this and longed to escape, unseen by the other women…” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 39).
“They walked toward the Seine, disconsolate and shivering. Finally on the docks they found one of those carriages that one sees in Paris only after nightfall, as if they were ashamed to show their drabness during daylight hours” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 44).
“Mme. Loisel experienced the horrible life the needy live. She played her part, however, with sudden heroism… she learned to do heavy housework, to perform the hateful duties of cooking…” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 75).
“Then one Sunday when she had gone for a walk on the Champs Elysees to relax a bit from the week’s labors, she noticed a woman strolling with a child […] should she speak to her? Of course. And now that everything was paid off, she would tell her the whole story. Why not?” (De Maupassant, Paragraph 84).
“I bought you another just like it. And we’ve been paying for it for ten years now… Well, it’s over now and I am glad of it”… Mme. Forestier, quite overcome, clasped her by the hands. Oh, my poor Mathilde. But mine was only a paste. Why at most it was worth five hundred francs!” (De Maupassant 99).
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