Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 2 | Words: 514
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Guy de Maupassant, a nineteenth century French writer, is considered to be one of the fathers of the modern short story. Kate Chopin was an American short stories writer who lived at the same time. When searching through the available biographical data, I came to a conclusion that they never met, but Chopin was familiar with Maupassant’s manuscripts and even more, admired him:  “Here was life, not fiction; for where were the plots, the old fashioned mechanism and stage trapping that in a vague, unthinking way I had fancied were essential to the art of story making.

Chopin has, in fact, adopted some methods of her literate mentor. For example, Maupassant developed two finals as following: the final plot of the course, and the final sentence of one of the heroes. In Chopin’s story Mrs. Mallard was told about her husband decease. Following the true grief she develops a strange feeling that is uneasy to recognize. Rather surprisingly, a sense of joy and happiness from anticipation of a life free from someone else’s dictatorship is born. “Free! Body and soul free!” she repeats, as if something impossible to believe into. Her husband comes home an hour later and Mrs. Mallard dies of a heart attack “of joy that kills”. The last words need to be emphasized as having the double-meaning. Ironically, she dies of challenged joy. Joy indeed?

Once Maupassant’s approach is observed, we track a similar manner of plot structure in “The Necklace”. A suffering from short incomings young woman approaches a favored elite affair at the expense of a necklace. The jewelry being lost, the spouses plunge into poverty to reimburse the decoration. Ten years later it turns out that the beauty was a fraud and worth nothing: “Oh, my poor Mathilde! But mine was imitation. It was worth at the very most five hundred francs! . . .”. As in Chopin’s we feel ambiguity – what is real? What we see or what we want to see, and what it really is it of a real value what we seek sometimes? Wasn’t it an imitation of pleasure to approach an affair that gives no real happiness? While having a loving husband who is giving off his personal savings to satisfy a woman?

Chopin is known to be straightforward in her depictions. This is quite similar to the Maupassant’s style. Vivid and detailed are Mrs. Mallard’s descriptions of emerging happiness: “But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.” Maupassant, in turn accents on details: “She was the prettiest woman present, elegant, graceful, smiling, and quite above herself with happiness”. It is indeed derisive that both ladies pay so much attention to details while losing the holistic life orientation.

Both stories cover a range of problems of social life and help to understand the laws of its development. Flair of a true artist leads the authors to subtle psychological insights. I enjoyed personal styles of writing, based on original vision of the outer world, appealing to lyricism, and a peculiar kind of humor.

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