The aim of this research paper is to make a literary analysis of two works. One is The necklace written by Guy de Maupassant and the other is The yellow wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. These two works are about the life of two women who are not satisfied with their life. These women have various ways of life and occupy different positions in society. The only fact that unites them is their ability to live in illusive world. Both these woman prefer changing their life for the better. They are tired of everyday life. They feel that they have the capacity to do something that will help them to lead a better way of life.
The first story is about a woman whose name is Mathilde who wants to escape from her daily routine and lead a life of a rich person. The second story is about a woman narrator who has a great desire to express herself but her unequal marriage does not allow her to do this.
The lives of these women are different and alike at the same time. The most important fact is that they realize that their life must be different but the circumstances do not give them the chance to refresh their life. Mathilde lives in poverty and dreams to be rich and to lead the life of the woman of the world. While woman-narrator from the second story wants to lead an active way of life but she is not able to do this because of her husband who put her in a strange house and forbad her working and writing. Because of all these circumstances, the woman-narrator feels heavy depressions and becomes very nervous.
So, now it is worth describing the life of two women in details to understand and explain contradictions in their behavior.
The literary analysis begins with the description of the way of life of Mathilde. She is a pretty and even charming woman who feels tied of her life. She thinks that with her physical beauty she should lead a life of a rich person. To her regret, she was born in a poor family. Although she lives in a comfortable house and her husband loves her, she is not satisfied with her life. She dreams about wealth but she is not even able to buy an expensive dress in order to visit a reception. She dreams about all that she does not have. Her desire for wealth is a permanent pain and sorrow. Because of her poverty she is not able to visit her wealthy friend Madame Forestier. Mathilde turns into an envious person because she is not able to cope with her desire to become wealthy like others. She has the only idea in her mind to go to a party wearing expensive clothes in order to amaze everybody and become the same as the others wealthy people or even better.
Mathilde strongly believes in the power of objects and when she obtains all that she needs (a new dress and a diamond necklace), she feels content. She is sure that she deserves them. Now Mathilde is happy because she becomes admired and welcomed. Her attitude to objects is very strange because she believes that the power is in them. If she has the objects of wealthy people, she will become rich. But, the reality is different and Mathilde realizes it when she loses an expensive necklace that she borrowed. After that, her life changes greatly. It is a disaster for her because she needs to earn a big sum of money in order to buy a new necklace.
This woman had to sacrifice her life and work hard to pay her debts. When she finds out that the necklace was not expensive, she begins to think that she is also worthless. She wasted her beauty and now she is not beautiful anymore and, moreover, lives in the same poverty because of her debts.
The problem of this woman is that she does not appreciate what she has. She lives in a world of dreams and illusions. She believes that she deserves more because of her beauty and charm but at the end of the story she realizes the real matter of facts. The fake necklace gives her the opportunity to understand that all the objects that she dreamt about were a fake and her life turned into a sad illusion and torture.
As for the second woman from the story The yellow wallpaper, she, on the contrary, lives in a good house. She is a sensitive and emotional woman because she likes to invent different stories. In her childhood, she scared herself with the stories about the imaginary monsters and ghosts and when she started living in a new house, she enjoyed the fact that it was haunted. This woman has heavy nervous depressions because she is not able to express her thoughts. Her inner world is very rich, but her husband does not allow her to write stories and exercise her imagination. Nevertheless, this woman believes that writing stories is the only aid for her to cope with her illnesses and she starts doing it secretly. The woman-narrator feels that she should express her feelings and emotions or, otherwise, she will be a hostage of her own thoughts.
She finds herself in a difficult situation because as a good wife she has to obey her husband who wants to cure her but at the same time her inner world rebels because the treatment that suggests her husband does not give her opportunity to express her thoughts. Therefore, she feels that she should do something in order to overcome her depression. The woman-narrator has a secret journal where she describes her feelings and expresses herself. Day by day she is absorbed in her imaginative world more and more. With the help of this journal she begins to understand her inner reality. She realizes that this marriage fetters her and makes her feel trapped.
She focuses her attention on different objects such as: their house and wallpapers. She believes that these objects are the symbols that she should interpret. The house with its bars represents a cage where she is trapped and the wallpaper with its strange patterns are a symbol of despair.
Analyzing all these objects, the woman-narrator realizes her own position and feels a strong desire to escape from this reality.
So, as we can see, the life of these two women is very different. The first, Mathilde, has a strong desire to be rich, while the second, woman-narrator, leads a measured way of life and desires only to express her feelings. Both of them are not satisfied with their position. Their aim is to change their life and they use different methods to do this. The differences of these two women are not very obvious because it may seem that they both pretend to have a new life but their behavior and their characters show that their likenesses are sham.
In conclusion of this analysis, it is important to analyze the contradictions in the life and behavior of these women.
As for Mathilde, her aims were:
To show everybody that she is charming
To escape from daily routine
To lead the way of life of rich people.
During the whole story this woman tries to prove that she deserves to be wealth and respectable. She does her best to surround herself with expensive objects and new things. She thinks that even her friends should be wealthy and she tries to communicate with such people. Mathilde is jealous and a little bit cruel because the methods that she chooses to achieve success make her husband suffer with her.
While her husband enjoys simply having a good dinner, Mathilde dreams about a luxurious life full of expensive objects. She wants to have all that she does not own: new dresses, jewelry, and money. She does not appreciate what she has. Living in illusions, she spoils her life and the life of her husband. While thinking that she deserves to be wealthy, she ignores the needs of others and eventually, loses everything.
The next character is woman-narrator. Her life differs greatly from the life of Mathilde and the aim that she has are the following:
The ability to express freely her thought and feelings
To lead their own way of life
To cope with her depression with the help of her journal
Being under the pressure of her husband, woman-narrator wants to escape from this life and starts writing her journal. This is the only way for her to express her emotions. While writing, she is absorbed in the illusive world where she feels free. This activity also helps her to understand her inner world and her life.
The character of woman narrator helps us understand the position of Mathilde and interpret it. The woman-narrator is a personification of all women who want to change their life and escape from the reality. These women find themselves trapped in different life circumstances (various traditions, social inequality, and family structure). They live in this cage and they want to free themselves and change the conditions in which they live.
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