How is desire portrayed in "The Necklace" by Guy de maupassant and "Araby" by James Joyce, and how does it contrast?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Desire is presented as a theme in both 'The Necklace' by Guy de Maupassant and in 'Araby' by James Joyce. Each short story describes a desire of a different kind however. In 'The Necklace' it the desire by a woman that is explored. Mme de Maupassant desires more than anything else to be respected, to be esteemed and thought well of in her social station by her peers. The desire for a 'posh frock' and a expensive necklace are merely ameans to this end. In 'Araby' by james Joyce, it is a male's desire to be needed and thought well of that is one of the desires to be explored. The youth wants more than anything to be thought well of by the young lady (like Mary) he has set up on a pedestal for himself to worship. To her he carries, as in a chalice, his desire to help or to offer a gift - and to be appreciated for it.

Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I see Mathilde's desire in the "The Necklace" as, in a sense, a desire for art, for creativity.  While it's possible to view her as spoiled and envious, etc., I see her as more of a frustrated, stifled artist.

The speaker in "Araby" may have a little bit of that in him, but in terms of desire he is mostly an adolescent who is infatuated with a girl. 

Both of these characters have strong desires, and neither one handles those desires in the best way (at least not according to the fictions themselves).  Both come to better understand their desires, but neither one's desires are fulfilled.