"The Opaque Shine of Jewels" - Literary Essay Sample

Published: 2022-06-02
"The Opaque Shine of Jewels" - Literary Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Literature
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1299 words
11 min read

"The Necklace," written by Guy de Maupassant, is a short story that centers its narrative on how much appearances can be deceiving. Through the character Mathilde Loisel, who is depicted as one who lived the life of a painfully distressed woman who was not content with the life she lived, the author tells the tale of a vain, narcissistic housewife who longed for the aristocratic lifestyle that she believed she was credible for. In particular, Mrs. Loisel is unhappy with her life, and she feels that she deserves a more materialistic and an expensive life that she already has. Additionally, the short story utilizes various literary elements and techniques to heighten the drama of the story and have a significant impact on the reader's perspectives. Demonstrating that looks and appearances can be deceiving, "The Necklace" is an interesting literary work since it employs important literary fiction elements such as symbolism, characterization and the descriptive style of narration.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

In the first place, symbolism is an artistic and a poetic style of using symbols as representations of ideas or qualities. The author extensively employs symbolism to convey the fallacy life of Mrs. Loisel. Throughout the story, the author uses Mrs.Loisel's flashy and beautiful, but borrowed necklace as a symbol that represents wealth, which is false in the end. Mathilde Loisel, who had great value for material things such as, jewelry and necklaces, lives a miserable life as she only desired to attain more wealth, and was not content with what she had. For instance, the author states that; "She had no dresses, no jewelry, nothing. And she loved nothing else; she felt herself made for that only" (Matthews 5). In this regard, the dresses and the jewelry represent more than just her physical appearance, but also, the flashy and materialistic lifestyle that Mathilde Loisel greatly desired to attain. Besides, the beautiful and expensive necklace that Mathilde borrows but is made of false jewels is a symbol of how much Mathilde Loisel is susceptible to being deceived and misled by meretricious things in her fantasy world.

Besides, the author employs the main theme of the deceptiveness of appearance as a key literary element to heighten the drama of the story. The deceptiveness of appearance is defined as the idea that something may look appealing on the surface and at the same time be the complete opposite of what it appears like, after giving it a closer look. The author develops this theme through Mathilde's situation as well as the life that she lived. Particularly, the truth about Mathilde Loisel is that she is neither wealthy nor a part of the social class that she strongly feels that she is a deserving member. For instance, on the day of the party, Mathilde Loisel believed that the party was a triumph because according to her, her beauty and charm made her worthy of a better life and on this day, for the first time, her appearance matched the reality of her ideal kind of life. The author states that "She danced with delight, with passion, intoxicated with pleasure, thinking of nothing, in the triumph of her beauty, in the glory of her success, in a sort of cloud of happiness made up of all these tributes [...]" (Matthews 54). This being said, the author uses Mathilde's imaginary world and her desire to do everything in her ability to try and match her real life with the ideal life that she had in her head, to make the story interesting and more appealing to the reader.

Also, to bring out the meaning of the story that looks are deceiving, the author extensively develops both dynamic and static characters. In a narrative, dynamic characters are those who substantially change how a story progresses. For instance, Mathilde Loisel, the protagonist of the short story, is developed as a very dynamic character. In particular, throughout the story, her initial moods appear to stay with her longer than others. A majority of the things that she had imagined were often not considered by those women who belonged to a similar social rank as her. For instance, Madame Loisel, worn-out curtains, chairs tormented and made her hopeless. Besides, Mathilde Loisel was often haunted by feelings and thoughts of wishing she had married better. She felt that she was not able to get herself a well-off husband and that was the reason why she had settled for her current husband who worked as a clerk in the Ministry of Education. Concerning her daily description of the life she lived, the author portrays her as a miserable and an unhappy character who had suffered ceaselessly. In a similar regard, the dynamic character of Mrs. Loisel is exemplified where the author describes her as a person who would continuously visit her rich friend, Mrs. Forrestier, to ease her self-proclaimed suffering of living in a drab house. Therefore, based on this context, the author puts across the point that, Mrs.Loisel's strong desire to belong to a higher status and to possess expensive material things and jewelry was increasingly poisoning her nature. Another character of interest is Mrs. Forrestier. She is a wealthy friend of Mathilde the main character and she acts like rich friend that one would count on. At the beginning of the story, her name is not revealed as she is only described as a rich friend, '' {Mathilde} had a rich friend, a former schoolmate at the convent, whom she no longer wanted to visit because she suffered so much when she came home'' (Matthews 2). Mrs. Forrestier's role is show how jealous and miserable the main character is in her present life. Additionally, her character can be static since she never changes throughout the story.

The author's primary style of narration is yet another literary element exemplified throughout the story. Essentially, the author uses the descriptive, third-person omniscient narrative technique. By definition, the descriptive third-person narration technique is one that allows the reader of the story to know exactly what is going through the characters minds. Therefore, in this case, the author tells the story in a manner that he refrains from judging the characters of their actions. Notably, the third person omniscient narration is appropriate in this story since, the protagonist of the short story, Mrs. Loisel would not be reliable narrators. Through this narration technique, the readers can understand the exact thoughts Mrs. Loisel had and more importantly how much trapped she felt in her reality. For instance, this technique makes it evident for the reader that Mrs. Loisel is humiliated and embarrassed by her reality and her life situation. In particular, the author states; "She let her mind dwell on the large parlors, decked with old silk, with their delicate furniture, supporting precious bric-a-brac, and on the coquettish little rooms, perfumed, and prepared for the five o'clock chat with the most intimate friends (Matthews 3-4)." This, in essence, makes the narrative an efficient way of expressing the feelings as well as the thoughts that crossed the characters' minds. Besides, although it is evident that her husband could not afford the kind of life that she desired, the descriptive third-person omniscient technique makes it clear to the reader that Mrs. Loisel is ultimately missing out on what life really is.

In conclusion, symbolism, the theme of the deceptiveness of appearances, the narration technique and the dynamic character of the protagonist are the primary literary elements that that Guy de Maupassant employs in the development of his narrative. Therefore, based on this narrative, it is evident that those people, like Mathilde Loisel, who often think that life is about the little material possessions that they have, are deceivers.

Work Cited

Matthews, Brander, ed. The Short-Story: Specimens Illustrating Its Development. New York: American Book Company, 1907; Bartleby.com, 2000. www.bartleby.com/195/. 2 May 2018.

Cite this page

"The Opaque Shine of Jewels" - Literary Essay Sample. (2022, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/the-opaque-shine-of-jewels-literary-essay-sample

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism