The Jewelry (or The False Gems)

by Guy de Maupassant

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What could be a thesis statement for the short story "The Jewelry" by Guy De Maupassant?

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A good thesis statement for “The Jewelry” by Guy de Maupassant would be that love of money can corrupt the soul. To back up this statement, it would be necessary to produce evidence. This could be done by showing how Monsieur Lantin starts to love the material wealth brought by selling off his late wife's jewelry more than he ever loved her.

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In the Bible, it is famously written that love of money is the root of all evil. Contrary to popular belief, then, it's not money that's the problem but rather the love we feel for it.

A variation of this important moral can form the basis of a solid thesis statement on Guy de Maupassant's short story “The Jewelry.” One could state one's thesis thus:

Love of money can corrupt the soul.

As with all thesis statements, it's necessary to provide evidence to back up your argument. In this particular case, we can do so by pointing to Monsieur Lantin's behavior after his wife dies. Though initially crestfallen at his wife's tragic passing, Lantin soon gets over his grief by developing a love for money that is far greater than the love he had for his wife.

As Lantin acquires more and more money by selling off his late wife's jewelry, he becomes increasingly enamored of the opulent lifestyle it has brought him. Not only that, but he seems to have forgotten about his late wife altogether. In effect, Lantin's soul has been corrupted by the love of money. He no longer loves the right things in life, the important things, the things that really matter. All he cares about is having lots of money and the material goodies and social status it brings him.

That Lantin's soul has been corrupted is further illustrated by his choice of a second wife. Because Lantin appears to have lost the capacity to love anything other than money, he makes the fateful decision to choose a woman he doesn't appear to love, and with whom he's destined to be profoundly unhappy.

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I think the most interesting thesis statement for an essay about this short story would be focused on the theme of love. At the beginning of the story, the narrator, Monsieur Lantin, seems passionately in love with the woman who becomes his wife. However, after she dies, he becomes desperately sad, and his grief is so extreme that, one month later, his hair turns white. Then Lantin becomes rich and seems to forget about his dead wife altogether. At the end of the story, he marries again, but this time his wife, who has “a violent temper,” causes him “much sorrow.” This story thus poses a number of questions about love.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson once wrote, “’Tis Better to have loved and lost / Than to have never loved at all.” It might be interesting, in a thesis statement, to set up a debate as to whether this sentiment applies to Monsieur Lantin. His immediate suffering after his wife dies is so severe as to suggest that perhaps, for him, it would have been preferable never to have loved at all. However, later in the story, he becomes a shallow, materialistic and, ultimately, sorrowful man. The implication is perhaps that his love for his first wife, and her love for him, was necessary for him to be content. Only in that love, and notably not in the wealth that he finds afterwards, does he experience contentment and enduring happiness. This also suggests another possibility for a thesis statement, namely one which sets up a discussion comparing romantic love with materialistic love. There appear to be benefits and drawbacks to both kinds of love in the story.

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"The Jewelry" or the "False Gems" is a short story by Guy the Maupassant quite similar in the treatment of the theme of ambition as his other short story "The Necklace", with the difference that "The Jewerly" is told in third person omniscient from the perspective of the husband, Monsieur Lantin.

If we look at the problem of the story we can come up with a good the thesis statement: The main problem is that deceit is rampant in the story.M. Lantin is a man who seems to take everything at face value, and pays dearly for it in terms of his sentimental life. First, his wife Madame Lantin is a woman that, at first, is the perfect model of virtue and then changes radically into a jewelry lover and collector.

The young girl was a perfect type of the virtuous woman whom every sensible young man dreams of one day winning for life. Her simple beauty had the charm of angelic modesty, and the imperceptible smile which constantly hovered about her lips seemed to be the reflection of a pure and lovely soul. Her praises resounded on every side. People were never tired of saying: "Happy the man who wins her love! He could not find a better wife.

In addition to the deceit of Madame Lantin as a wife, there is also the deceit of the jewels which are thought to be fake. The jewelry that M. Lantin believes to be fake is actually real. The fact that the jewelry is real implies that the only way his deceased wife would have been able to obtain them is by having a lover. Moreover, this makes the marriage, itself, deceitful since there has been infidelity.

However, there is more to come: M. Lantin's deep grief for the loss of his wife is quickly healed by the selling of the jewels, which make him a rich man. Was the love between the Lantins as deeply-rooted as they made themselves believe during better times?

In the end, M. Lantin re-marries a woman whom he, again, judges to be completely different from the first Madame Lantin. He is wrong again. The second madame has a very bad temper and makes him quite unhappy. Poor M. Lantin has his final deception by making himself believe that a very virtuous woman would cause him less grief. He is wrong.

Hence, a good thesis statement would have to establish deceit as the causative factor of unhappiness. Sometimes the truths that we spend our life searching for are right in front of us. The lies of the Lantin marriage were ever-present in every day of the Lantin's married life. The lies that the Lantins told each other, and themselves, may have held their marriage for as long as it did until the wife's death. In not so many words, all we need to know about ourselves, and others, may very well be right in front of us. Let us never reduce a good observation into a bad assumption.

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