History vs. Proletariats: “The Diamond Necklace”
New Historicists believe that one can’t learn about a particular age from a textbook alone. The lower class is rarely mentioned in them. So how can we learn about what lives were like in a particular period? We can read a story from that time and look at the author’s life and what he was trying to teach people during the era in question. The historical gaps in textbooks can be filled by literature. A reader can study the author’s life, historical and cultural events from when the story was published and themes to learn about any age.
“The Diamond Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant, first published in 1884, tells the story of a young French middle class couple named Loisel. Monsieur Loisel works for the Board of Education; he is content with his simple life and loves his wife very much. Madame Loisel is quite the opposite. She feels she was born into the wrong family and longs for the life of the upper class. Every time she looks at her small apartment or plain clothing she imagines extravagant things. One evening, her husband returns from work in a great mood. He has worked very hard to obtain invitations to a fancy ball held by his superiors. Few lower class employees are allowed to attend such an exciting event but Monsieur Loisel, in an effort to please his wife, has prevailed. Much to his despair, his wife cries in anguish rather than joy at this news. She complains she has nothing to wear and when her generous husband gives her his savings to buy a dress, she cries over not having proper jewels. Madame Loisel borrows a beautiful diamond necklace from her friend but ends up losing it after the ball. Her and her husband work ten years to pay for a replacement and when Madame confronts her old friend, she finds out the necklace was a fake.
Guy de Maupassant – Personal and Public Life
Guy de Maupassant is considered to be the father of short stories. His works inspired authors such as Ernest Hemingway. Maupassant...