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What examples in "The Necklace" point to an omniscient author viewpoint?  

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mrjake38 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 27, 2011 at 9:16 AM via web

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What examples in "The Necklace" point to an omniscient author viewpoint?  

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 17, 2011 at 9:10 AM (Answer #1)

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 In a way the limited third-person point of view resembles the omniscient point of view.  But, while the narrator relates the inner thoughts and feelings of a character, this vantage point, however, is limited to one character.  Therefore, this point of view is termed limited third-person point of view.  And, it is truly this vantage point that Maupassant employs in his subtlely ironic story, "The Necklace.'  In this way, the story is perceived from the perspective of the petty and selfish Madame Loisel, who bemoans her fate as the wife of a minor clerk of the Ministries who has been meant for a much higher social status.

She would dream of silent chambers, draped with Oriental tapestries and lighted by tall bronze floor lamps, and of two handsome butlers in knee breeches, who, drowsy from the heaving warmth cast by the central stove, dozed in large overstuffed armchairs.

Interestingly, this limited third-person narrator arouses some sympathy for Madame Loisel on the part of readers.  For instance, when Mme. Loisel finally returns to Mme. Forestier with the sustitute necklace, the reader fears with her what Mme. Forestier may think if she opens the case as Maupassant writes,

...what would she have thought?  What would she have said?   Would she have thought her a thief?

Then, in the next paragraph, too, there is pathos in the limited third person point of view:

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.

She learned to do the heavy housework, to perform the hateful duties of cooking. She washed dishes....

This pathos, however, makes all the more for the irony of the surprise ending as the readers realize their sympathies have unreasonably been given to such a petty woman.

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lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted May 27, 2011 at 9:55 AM (Answer #2)

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"The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant is probably best described as third person limited point of view, because the narrator provides us with the thoughts and feelings of Loisel, but not her husband.  We know what he says, and what he does, and there's even some external description of his manner, but we are not privy to his thoughts or feelings. 

When she sat down for dinner at the round table covered with a three-days-old cloth, opposite her husband, who took the cover off the soup-tureen, exclaiming delightedly: "Aha! Scotch broth! What could be better?" she imagined delicate meals, gleaming silver, tapestries peopling the walls with folk of a past age and strange birds in faery forests; she imagined delicate food served in marvellous dishes, murmured gallantries, listened to with an inscrutable smile as one trifled with the rosy flesh of trout or wings of asparagus chicken.

 

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