Library Selection for High School
This week we are reading the story The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant. It is set in Paris in 1880s and is a story of discontent, class envy, greed, and deception. Below are links to the audio version of the story and the print version of the story. The audio version takes about sixteen minutes to listen to, and the text version is about nine pages.
Below the story link is a biography of the author, Guy de Maupassant. If you enjoyed The Necklace, you may also like another short story with an unexpected ending, click on the title to listen to The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry.
Guy de Maupassant (born August 5, 1850, Château de Miromesnil, near Dieppe, France—died July 6, 1893, Paris), French naturalist writer of short stories and novels who is by general agreement the greatest French short-story writer.
De Maupassant was born in 1850, the oldest of two children. His parents permanently separated when he was eleven years old. In the autumn of 1869, he began law studies in Paris, which were interrupted by the outbreak of the Franco-German War. Maupassant volunteered, served first as a private in the field, and was later transferred through his father’s intervention to the quartermaster corps. His firsthand experience of war was to provide him with the material for some of his finest stories. After the war, he resumed his law studies.
De Maupassant’s mother introduced him to Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary, who mentored de Maupassant in his writing career.
Although Maupassant appeared outwardly a sturdy, healthy, athletic man, his letters are full of lamentations about his health, particularly eye trouble and migraine headaches. With the passing of the years he had become more and more somber. He suffered from syphilis and began to display some of the adverse mental side effects of the disease. He had begun to travel for pleasure, but what had once been carefree and enjoyable holidays gradually changed, as a result of his mental state, into compulsive, symptomatic wanderings until he felt a constant need to be on the move.
Maupassant was committed to a nursing home following a suicide attempt, where he died shortly before his 43rd birthday. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Questions for The Necklace
As you read this, consider the characters and their points of view. How do the events in this story affect each of them differently?
What could the characters have done differently to make things turn out better?
How does pride affect Mathilde’s happiness?
Is one character sacrificing for another?
Do you think there is a moral to this story?
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