How would you compare and analyze the story "The Necklace" by Guy De Maupassant to the story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many differences in this story.  The first is point of view - Necklace is in third person limited, but Everyday is in first person.  In addition, Everyday makes use of a Southern dialect throughout, which helps the character development of the narrator.  Necklace, however, does not use dialect.  The central motifs are very different as well:  Necklace focuses on greed and assumptions, while Everyday focuses on heritage and hypocrisy.

However, the use of irony is strong in both stories.  In Necklace, irony is central to the conflict and climax of the story.  First, it is ironic that Madame Loisel borrows the necklace to appear more wealthy, but as a result of borrowing it, she ends up more poor.  Second, Madame Loisel becomes poor because she pays much to replace a necklace that was actually fake.  In Everyday, Dee is arrogant and demanding because she has "embraced her heritage".  The irony is that she has ignored her own upbringing in this discovery.  It is also ironic that Mrs. Johnson has been idolizing the fashionable, educated Dee, while all along the more worthy daughter has been beneath her own roof.

Finally, the path of discovery for both protagonists is similar.  In the beginning, the two women (Madame Loisel and Mrs. Johnson) are consumed with appearance.  However, it is at the end of each story that they both have an epiphany that demonstrates how deceiving appearances can be.