In the short stories "The Necklace" and "The Gift of the Magi," who can Mme. Loisel and Della be compared to (in terms of other literary works)?As part of the essay that I am required to write, I...

In the short stories "The Necklace" and "The Gift of the Magi," who can Mme. Loisel and Della be compared to (in terms of other literary works)?

As part of the essay that I am required to write, I have to connect the two characters that I write about to another literary situation.

Asked on by greencat16

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The literary work that comes to mind as a possibility for comparing its heroine with Madame Loisel and Della is Gustave Flaubert's short novel  Madame Bovary.  Like the heroines of Maupassant's and O. Henry's short stores, Emma Bovary is young, attractive, married, living on a limited income, and full of romantic illusions about love. Emma's romantic illusions create problems for both herself and her husband. She has the same kind of fantasies as Madame Loisel, although she is much less inhibited about indulging them. ButMadame Bovary  is a novel, whereas "The Necklace is only a short story. Perhaps Madame Loisel might have gone the same way as Emma Bovary if she hadn't lost the necklace on that fatal night and if she had had a full novel in which her character would develop. O. Henry's character Della is chaste and unadventurous, but she is an American and hers is a much simpler story with a fairly trivial problem which will eventually solve itself. Della, however, shares the same naivete and romanticism with Madame Bovary and Madame Loisel, the main difference being that Della is totally in love with her husband, whereas the other two young women are disillusioned with theirs.

Maupassant learned much of the craft of fiction writing from his uncle Gustave Flaubert, so this could explain the similarity between Madama Bovary and "The Necklace." Maupassant and Flaubert were realists, whereas O. Henry seemed like a romanticist.

Offhand, I can't think of any other young, attractive, married heroines who cause troubles because of their romantic illusions. One other possibility that occurs to me is the heroine of Kate Chopin's  The Awakening.

 

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