"The Necklace" by Guy De Maupassant, and "A&P" by John Updike were written in two different centuries by two authors of very different backgrounds. However, each story expresses very similar views about women. The women in these stories are self-centered creatures who control men with their sexuality, and end up damaging the men's life.
The main character in "The Necklace" is a lady named Mathilde who is extremely pretty. She is not a very wealthy person, and is married to a clerk. Mathilde is very unhappy with her life, and wishes she could have more luxuries. The author says :
She dressed plainly because she could not dress well, but she was as unhappy as though she had really fallen from her proper station, since with women there is neither caste nor rank: and beauty, grace, and charm act instead of family and birth. Natural fitness, instinct for what is elegant, suppleness of wit are the sole hierarchy, and make from women of the people the equals of the very greatest ladies.
(Guy De Maupassant 160)
Mathilde is completely materialistic and ungrateful for her blessings.
Even though she has a servant, she feels like a poor person:
"She had no dresses, no jewels, nothing and she loved nothing but that; she felt made for that. She would have so have liked to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after." (Guy De Maupassant 161) Mathilde will not even visit her old friend because her friend is rich, and Mathilde is jealous. Her husband is very content with his life and only wants her to be happy. However, when he gets them invited to a fancy ball, all she does is complain that she has nothing to wear. Her husband gives her the money tha...
... middle of paper ...
... her children about some
candy they didn't get by the door of a powder blue falcon station wagon." (Updike 16)
The writers of these two stories paint a dismal picture of what women are like. When they are young and beautiful, they are sexually attractive, but they are not particularly intelligent or deep. However, the men in these stories go to extreme limits, because of their attraction to the women. In the end, the men in these short stories are the fools because they are slaves to their desires, which is what Sammy realizes he is going to be doing the rest of his life, and what Mathilde's husband did for ten years after she lost the necklace.
Kennedy, Gioia, ed. Literature New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 2000
Guy De Maupassant "The Necklace" Kennedy, Gioia 160-166
John Updike "A&P" Kennedy, Gioia 12-16
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