Could you help me draft a thesis statement and opening paragraph comparing "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins as seen through a Marxist lens?
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Both of these texts lend themselves well to a Marxist interpretation, which focuses on the structures of inequality in society and the impact of this on the "haves" and the "have nots." This is evident in "The Necklace," where Madame Loisel is so obsessed with what she doesn't have that she fantasises constantly about what she would like to have in order to be considered rich and a person of status in society:
She grieved incessantly, feeling that she had been born for all the little niceties and luxuries of living. She grieved over the shabbiness of her appartment, the dinginess of the walls, the worn-out appearance of the chairs, the ugliness of the draperies. All these things, which another woman of her class would not even have noticed, gnawed at her and made her furious.
Madame Loisel is therefore completely dominated by what she doesn't have and what she feels she should have. Even though this quote specifices that "another woman of her class" would not even notice the things she obsesses over, it is clear that Madame Loisel feels so strongly her supposed want and poverty that she is willing to do anything in order to be rich and to enjoy the life she feels she deserves. This perception is one that ruins her life, and of course the life of her husband. The irony is of course that the necklace she impoverishes herself for only has the appearance of wealth, whilst actually being fake, just as the kind of life Madame Loisel obsesses over appears to be of great value but in reality is full of superficial appearances and has a veneer of glamour.
Katniss in The Hunger Games lives in world with a very clear demarcation between the rich and the poor. The complete control of the Capitol over the twelve districts is shown visibly through the yearly trial of the Hunger Games, where each district must surrender one girl and one boy to be slaughtered for the amusement of those in the Capitol. Katniss is clear of the meaning behind this ritual:
Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch--this is the Capitol's way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion.
Katniss operates in a world where she is a powerless individual pitted against the might of the Capitol, and where she has to use every resource available to her in order to survive and to defy the Capitol.
Both texts therefore lend themselves very naturally to a Marxist interpretation. A good thesis statement that could be used to examin them would be:
Both "The Necklace" and The Hunger Games show the suffering caused in the lives of characters who exist in a setting where their position of not possessing wealth and power leaves them vulnerable.
This thesis statement will allow an exploration of some of the elements highlighted above.
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