Why was the story "The Necklace" written?In other words, what inspired the author to write "The Necklace"?

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In analyzing the motivation or inspiration for the writing of the short story 'The Necklace' by Guy De Maupassant, it is worth remembering that sometimes, after scrutinzing all the background to a literary work, all we can then do is speculate. However, it is interesting to do just that and line up the biography facts with the short story subject matter to see if we as readers can come up with any possibilities. One idea is that, like Monsieur Loisel, Guy De Maupassant was once a clerk himself in the Ministry of Information (similar to Education.) It's possible that he saw a superficial layer of 'civilized' behavior there that he wanted to lay bare, or uncover for the benefit of society and us - his readers.

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James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Unless we can really get on our hands on what might be called 'external evidence" -- evidence such as the early manuscripts and notes, letters, and content of conversations with friends -- we can never really know what an author's intentions are. Two New Critics (Wimsatt and Beardsley) famously make this argument in their essay "The Intentional Fallacy."

New Criticism is not the only way to read literature, but the argument of the "intentional fallacy" is solid. As I see it, based on but not limited to Wimsatt and Beardsley's argument, what we normally have in front of us is the text, not the author; we can talk all day long about what the text does, how it is structured, how it shapes the reader's response in certain ways, and so on. If we read well and closely, we can ground our discussions in evidence drawn from the text. When we move from the text to the author's intentions without also bringing in external evidence, however, we are simply projecting our own views of what the text means onto the author. Even if we can call up the author and ask them, as a friend might, what they had in mind when they wrote a certain story, we are not likely to get the answer that we are looking for. Artists often do not analyze their own writing, do not give fully honest accounts, do not fully understand what was happening during the creative process, and so on.

The author, to return to the language of Wimsatt and Beardsley's argument, is not the "oracle"; we must arrive at the meaning of the text on our own.

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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"The Necklace" was written by Guy de Maupassant.  He studied character analysis and enjoyed unraveling his characters.  He was a great story teller who was concerned with the actions of the characters more than the sentiment of his characters.  He relied on his character’s own nature to move the story and create the ending.

When Maupassant wrote the story he was trying to convey how the woman's actions had a cruel effect on her life. He wanted to show that the woman had suffered needlessly at the woman's own hands by the choices she had made. 


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