Comparing Social Classes in Toni Morrison's Recitatif and Guy de Maupassant's The Necklace

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Comparing Social Classes in Toni Morrison's Recitatif and Guy de Maupassant's The Necklace Toni Morrison's "Recitatif" and Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace" portray social classes according to the influence of the narrator. Therefore, the overview of the presented classes is biased. Although "Recitatif" and "The Necklace" provide images of several different classes, the class level of the narrator conveys generalizations about each of the respective class levels relative to the story. While the society level of the narrator of "The Necklace" is fairly obvious through careful reading, the social status of Twyla, the narrator of "Recitatif" is directly stated. Twyla's husband, Josh, is a firefighter. Therefore, he is a member of the working, middle class society. Their extended household lives in an average neighborhood and the family members lead common lives. Although the main character of "The Necklace" is also a member of the middle class, the narrator belongs to a wealthier society. This is evident through the narrator's description of Mathilde. For example, the very first sentence of "The Necklace," "She was one of those pretty and charming girls who are sometimes, as if by a mistake of destiny, born in a family of clerks" (67), indicates that Mme. Loisel is shallow and self-centered. Although the narrators of "Recitatif" and "The Necklace" are from different classes, each employs similar methods to create sympathy for their respective society and malevolence toward the class of the story's antagonist. Although Twyla and Roberta both display several character flaws in "Recitatif," Roberta is the ultimate wrongdoer. Twyla and Roberta begin having problems with their friendship followin... ... middle of paper ... ... of fiction. Though frequently overlooked, this factor often affects a story's plot with as much of an impact, if not more, as the setting and point of view. Generalizations regarding the different levels of society are subtly intertwined with other important facts. The society of a short story's narrator, whether the narrator is an active character or outside the story, is an influential factor concerning the presentation of the different classes in the story, therefore directly affecting the plot. Works Cited de Maupassant, Guy. "The Necklace." Understanding Fiction. 3rd ed. Eds. Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1979. 67-74 Morrison, Toni. "Recitatif." New Worlds of Literature: Writings from America's Many Cultures. 2nd ed. Eds. Jerome Beaty and J. Paul Hunter. New York: Norton, 1994. 210-225

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