What are some similarities between "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker and "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Similarities:

1. Both stories feature women who are unhappy with their lot in life (socially and economically), and who are rather disappointed in some aspect of their family (Dee with Mama and Maggie--she sees them as inferior and too simple to understand her; Mathilde with her husband--she thinks that he is common and not sophisticated enough for her taste).

2. Both women place value on objects and how others view them.  Dee has redefined herself from her name to her clothing to her view of her heritage.  Likewise, Mathilde presents herself as being wealthier than she is by forcing her husband to buy her a new dress and borrowing necklace from a rich acquaintance.

Differences:

1. The ending for the stories is quite different.  Dee, because she is young, has an opportunity to learn from Maggie and Mama's view of the heirlooms, and Alice Walker leaves you with a sense of satisfaction that Maggie gets the quilts because she truly appreciates the practicality and nostalgia of them.  Unfortunately, in "The Necklace," Mathilde has worked herself and her husband into poor health, and the story's darkly ironic ending leaves the reader with a lesson, but it is too late for Mathilde to do anything with the truth.

2.  While both stories present the idea that an obsession with material items hinders a person from enjoying and appreciating the intangible aspects of life such as family, the arts, etc., "Everyday Use" discusses more thoroughly the importance of appreciating one's heritage. "The Necklace" focuses more on class identity and class envy.