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A Different Approach on "a Sorrowful Woman" and "the Necklace."

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Flores Alina I.

Professor Jessica Lamb

English 107

February 11, 2013

A Different Approach on "A Sorrowful Woman" and "The Necklace."

"A Sorrowful Woman" discusses the situation of a woman dealing with the uncomfortable company of her husband and son. Reading this short story, one could not help but realize how her husband, the man of the story, is so willing to do anything and everything for his depressed wife. "The Necklace" is a story about a spoiled woman whose own greed leads to both her and her husband's detriment. This wife, along with her husband, takes ten years of hard labor to fulfill the debt of one night's mistake. In this story, one would feel sympathetic for her husband because he is willing to take on an enormous debt in order to spare his wife shame. Although these stories seem very different, a parallel can be drawn between the dutiful husbands that these wives have. Both husbands seem too kind and helpful; however, their kindness contributes to the conflict of their respective stories. These husbands are so good to their wives it becomes a problem.

Maupassant's "The Necklace," opens with the description of how miserable Mathilde is. Maupassant describes her as "suffering constantly, feeling herself destined for all delicacies and luxuries" (Maupassant, 203). In her eyes, she lives a tortured and unfair life. Mathilde has a husband named Loisel. He is much the opposite of his wife, described as "economical" (Maupassant, 204) while she yearns for more. He is completely content with his lifestyle. He seems to be a passive person who does not let the lure of status or riches affect him. Of course, if he had the chance to be rich he would, though he does not dwell on the fact that he is part of the middle class. He is portrayed to be a hard worker and does his best to provide for his wife.

In Gail Godwin's short story, "A Sorrowful Woman," we are introduced to a woman who just, as the title states, is indeed sorrowful. She is described as such because of her almost catatonic state; she feels smothered by the presence of her three-year-old son who wants and needs the attention of his mother. One Monday, she decided to get up and go about the house. The young boy is delighted to have her back and tries to play with her, pretending "he was a vicious tiger and followed her from room to room, growling and scratching... One of his sharp little claws ripped her flesh." This action caused her to tell her son to "go away" and lock herself in her room (Godwin, 39). Not only is this child too much for her, but her devoted husband's love is added pressure upon her damaged mental and emotional state. As the wife becomes increasingly withdrawn from her husband's and child's lives, the husband's love and support never waivers.

At first the husband was dismayed. But he was receptive to her needs. He understood these things. "Perhaps the best thing is to follow it through," he said. "I want to be big enough to contain everything you must do." (Godwin, 40)

She is consistently difficult; however this does not stop her husband from meeting every one of her "needs" and obliging her even when it inconveniences his own life.

She called the husband's office and said, "I've locked myself away from him. I'm afraid." The husband told her in his richest voice to lie down, take it easy, and he was already on the phone to call one of the babysitters he often employed. (Godwin, 39)

In the same way, Loisel, of "The Necklace," is just as devoted. In "The Necklace," we have a woman who would like have the status of her friends, rich, with expensive gowns, and matching jewelry to attend luxurious balls. Her husband gives her big lump sums of francs to purchase an exquisite ball gown, but that is still not enough for her. Loisel wants his wife to be happy. She does not have to lift a finger for any household duties, as she has a maid, or work because her husband pays for everything. She is seemingly ungrateful to how easy her husband is making her life. It is understandable that she may not need to work in or outside their home, since it is of that time era, when women were not expected much of, just marry and birth children. The wife in this story is clearly a woman that cares about her reputation and she relies on her husband to help her build a suitable reputation. The husband clearly loves his wife. He shows her that by handing her everything she wants. He probably believes that if he gives her all she wants, she will be happy with her life, and thus be happy with him. On page



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