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Women from the Past

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Women from the Past

During the time when both of these stories "The Necklace" and "The Story of an Hour" were written the sole purpose of a woman's life was to get married and serve her husband. Women during this time had no rights and were not allowed to make any decisions. Women were expected to stay at home, do all the housework and take care of their husband and children. Back in the 18th century, women felt as if they were only half of a person because the other half was owned by the men in their life. The feeling of ownership started even before they would marry; first by her father, then her brothers, and then her husband after getting married. Things have changed so much for women and it has been for the better. In this day and age there are so many different feministic coalitions that support women rights that who would have imagined that so many years ago women had no rights and were not part of society. The roles of women are reflected in many literary works from many centuries ago. This may be because back then women had no rights and they worked at home most of the time and many times they were married to men they did not love. As we analyze the two stories we will meet two different women whose lives were shaped around the time the stories were written in the 1800's. There are some similarities and differences between the two women we will meet in the stories. Also, we will compare the two stories on the author's form of writing. Let's read on and meet the women of these stories.

The first story "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant takes place in Pairs, France during the year 1884. Loisel's apartment and the party at the Ministry of Education's Mansion are also part of the setting of the story. The three main characters in this story are Madamae Loisel, Monsieur Loisel, and Madame Forestier. Mandame Loisel is a selfish, beautiful, charming woman. She is spoiled and is a daydreamer whose lifestyle is one of the middle class. Monsieur Loisel is a kind, generous, loyal hard-working husband who is also a clerk for the Ministry of Education and all that he wants to do is please his wife. Madame Forestier is Madame Loisel friend. Madame Forestier is a kind, generous and wealthy woman. Madame Loisel sits in her apartment dreaming of a better life. As we can see, she is only dreaming. The reality is that she is not happy with her current lifestyle. Madame and Monsieur have received an invitation to attend a party at the Ministry of Education's Mansion. After receiving the invitation to the party Madame Loisle tells her husband that she refuses to attend the party because she does not have anything suitable to wear for this type of event. Monsieur then gives her money so she can go buy herself a dress to wear to the event, but then she tells him that she does not have any jewelry to wear. It is then that Monsieur Loisle tells her that she should go see her friend Madame Forestier and borrow a piece of jewelry from her. Madamae Forestier let Madame Loisle borrow a necklace for her to wear to the party. After the party had ended and they arrived home, she realized that she had lost the necklace she had borrowed from Madame Forestier. The only way they could replace the necklace she lost was by borrowing money from loan sharks which lead them to live a life of poverty for ten years until all their debts were paid off. One day, Madame Loisle meets up with Madame Forestier and she tells her the truth about the lost necklace and all that they have been through to pay the loans off so they could replace the lost necklace. It is then that Madame Forestier tells Madame Loisle that the necklace she had borrowed from her was fake and it was not worth much money.

"The Necklace" is told in the third-person limited omniscient point of view. According to Clungston (2010), "third-person limited omniscient point of view is when the thoughts and feelings of only one of the characters are related through the narrator" (p.86). This is what Guy de Maupassant did in this story because he focuses on Madame Loisle feeling and thought throughout the story. There are certain conflicts that come about in the story for example Madame Loisel vs. herself and Madame Loisel vs. Monsieur Loisle values. Madame Loisel want for having more valuable things in her life leads her to have some torturous feelings about her not having all the luxuries she would like to have. On the other hand Monsieur Loisle is very tolerant about Madame Loisle behavior and all he wants is just to please her. There several ideas in the story that have some type of symbolism. The necklace may symbolize greed and desire to have what one cannot have, the difference in social classes and dishonesty. The dress may symbolize Monsieur Loisel sacrifice for pleasing his wife. The theme of this story is that people should be happy with what we have and that honesty is the best policy. Greed and desire may not lead us to the path in our lives. There is some irony in this story as well and it is that Madame Loisle borrows a necklace to fit in with the rich people she envies, but the loss of the necklace results in her being poorer than she was before.

The second story is "The Story of an Hour" written by Kate Chopin in 1894. This story is about a young married woman that lived in the late nineteenth century and her reaction to the news of her husband's death. Just like the title states it "The Story of an Hour" takes place in a single hour of an American home in the late nineteenth century in Mrs. Mallard's room. There are several characters to this story and they are Mrs. Louise Mallard, Brently Mallard, Josephine, Richards, and the doctors. Mrs. Mallard has a heart condition and sister comes over to give her the news that her husband has died in a train accident. She wants to be as gentle as possible when she gives her the news, so that she won't get sick. When Mrs. Mallard hears the news, she goes to her bedroom and looks out the window and some thoughts being to cross her mind about her being free at last. Once she realizes that she will be free to live her life and comes out of her bedroom, it is then when Mr. Mallard walks in the house. He had not died in the train accident and this causes Mrs. Mallard to die from a heart attack. The irony to the story is that Josephine tells her sister Mrs. Mallard "You will make yourself ill."(Clungston, 2010, p. 29). Josephine thinks that she is upset because of the death of her husband and this could make her ill, but indeed Mrs. Mallard was not upset because her husband had died instead she was really happy because she was free at last. Finally, when Mrs. Mallard comes out of the room and decides to go downstairs, someone



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