Can anyone give me an example of a simile and/or personification in "The Necklace"?  Anything you can tell me would be great! I appreciate all of the help you can give me.

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A simile is a direct comparison of two things that are unrelated but that do share one common characteristic or trait. The easiest way to identify a simile is by looking for the "noun like noun" or "noun/verb as a noun/verb" format.

Interestingly in "The Necklace", Maupassant chooses to describe the characters using direct and indirect characterization rather than using similes and other figurative language. Yet, an example of simile that is used in the narrative would be the following:

...she thought of delicious dishes served on marvellous plates and of the whispered gallantries to which you listen with a sphinx-like smile while you are eating the pink meat of a trout or the wings of a quail.

In this case, the smile is being directly compared to the facial expression of the sphinx. Since the comparison is direct, it is considered a simile.

Personification is the adjudication of human features to an inanimate or an inhuman subject. To spot an example of personification in literature, look for instances where objects are given some sort of power to dominate or control a human character. Often, authors use personification to show how the object resembles something that is alive.

In "The Necklace" we can find an example of personification in the following excerpt of those ancient night cabs which, as though they were ashamed to show their shabbiness during the day, are never seen round Paris until after dark.

Since cabs do not have emotions, nor do they care whether they look shabby or not, the author has personified them by saying that they feel ashamed by the way that they look. This is a classic example of personification.

edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace," there are many uses of personification, in which inanimate objects are given qualities that only humans can possess or actions that only humans can take.  In the story's opening line, in describing the background of Madame Loisel, the narrator says she has been born into "a family of artisans" because "fate had blundered over her." Fate is an abstract notion that is unable to blunder--or in other words, make a mistake.

Madame Loisel desires the finest material things in life, and she becomes emotional about the things that she cannot have.  The narrator describes her eyes as "furious" and says that "her heart began to beat covetously" though these body parts cannot literally experience these very human emotions.

And lastly, when Madame Loisel is thinking about the the worn out home furnishings that surround her, the narrator observes, " All these things, of which other women of her class would not even have been aware, tormented and insulted her." The "mean walls, worn chairs, and ugly curtains" are inanimate objects that are literally incapable of either tormenting or insulting her. 

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The Necklace

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