Misogyny In The Necklace, By Guy De Maupassant

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The Necklace, written by Guy de Maupassant, contains elements and characters that can be interpreted as an expression of Maupassant’s misogynistic portrayal of women. However, there also exist contrasting events and features present in The Necklace that serve to lessen the extent of the misogyny portrayed by Maupassant. This essay will explore a few of these elements, and will discuss the extent of the misogyny shown through Maupassant’s Madame Loisel.

Through Madame Loisel’s obsession with superficiality, riches and wealth, women are implied to be materialistic and greedy, consequently portraying them in a misogynistic light. At the beginning of the story, despite being described to have a relatively upper-class and comfortable life, Madame
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This emphasis on Madame Loisel’s materialistic beliefs causes the reader to assume the misogynistic opinion that all women feel the same way, which in turn highlights the misogynistic portrayal of Madame Loisel present within The Necklace.

The prominence of dresses and jewelry within Madame Loisel’s fantasies can be taken as a symbolism of Madame Loisel’s - and consequently women’s - obsession with outward appearance and self-image, behaviour often associated with the stereotype of a woman. In addition, items such as dresses and jewelry only serve to modify the outward appearance of the wearer, which can be also taken to suggest that it is not so much wealth and power that Madame Loisel desires, but the admiration and respect that she would receive from appearing to have
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This emphasises her materialistic nature, which in turn further portrays the misogyny present within The Necklace. Madame Loisel is a character described to have vivid fantasies of grandeur that would be considered unrealistic for someone of her station, while descriptions of her reality provide a stark contrast to her imagination. A key example of this is the parallel phrasing between the 5th and 6th paragraphs of The Necklace. The contrast between the phrase “popular, envied, attractive, and in demand” in the 5th paragraph and “sorrow, regret, despair and anguish” in the 6th paragraph represent and emphasise the juxtaposition between Madame Loisel’s fantasies and her reality. The phrase ‘in demand’ likens women to objects-objects that can fluctuate between being ‘in demand’ and ‘out of demand’. This suggests a sense of misogyny, as women are dehumanised and treated as objects. The fact that Madame Loisel is described by Maupassant to have strong feelings of ‘despair and anguish’ because of her lack of wealth, status and riches suggests that Madame Loisel, and by extension women, are only focused on the superficial aspects of life, such as the riches, wealth and status that feature predominantly in Madame Loisel’s fantasies. This serves as another example of how misogyny is portrayed within The

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