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Is there a stereotype or in "The Necklace"?

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susan-y | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:01 PM via web

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Is there a stereotype or in "The Necklace"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 28, 2013 at 1:22 AM (Answer #1)

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An examination of the biography of Guy de Maupassant provides the reader with an insight which will support the idea of stereotypes in "The Necklace."  After having served in the Franco-Prussian War, Maupassant went to Normandy where he worked in the French civil service. It is certainly of note that, like Monsieur Loisel, Maupassant was a clerk in the Ministry of Education from 1878 to 1880. There Maupassant found the Normands extremely petty and covetous of others. In fact, in his story, "The Piece of Yarn (String)" Maupassant satirizes the Normans when he describes Maitre Hauchecorne as "thrifty like the true Norman he was" stoop to retrieve a piece of string that he can later use. Another man, Malandain, who is an enemy of Hauchecorne's because they bickered over the price of a harness he was selling, takes delight in observing Hauchecorne's his stinginess as he picks up something.

In "The Necklace," then there is also this touch of satire as Maupassant stereotypes Monsieur Loisel as the complacent clerk in the Ministry and his wife, Mathilde Loisel.

  • Monsieur Loisel

Comfortable with his social position, he sits at the dinner table, with his conventional attitudes

who uncovered the soup tureen and declared with a delighted air, "Ah, the good soup! I don't know anything better than that"

  • Madame Loisel

On the other hand, Madame Loisel is much like the petty bourgeois, desirous of material things,

She grieved incessantly, feeling that she had been born for all the little niceties and luxuries of living....The sight of the little breton girl who did her humble houework roused in her disconsolate regrets and wild daydreams.

Like Maitre Hauchecorne who tries to hide his stooping for the string, Madame Loisel does not admit to her actions of having lost the necklace. Similar to Hauchcorne, too, Mme. Loisel deals herself a life of misery because of her initial deception of not informing her friend that she lost the necklace lent to her. 

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