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“A Pair of Silk Stockings” by Kate Chopin & “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant

“A Pair of Silk Stockings” by Kate Chopin & “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant are used to be two of the greatest works in short-telling literature genre. At the first glance, they have much more differences. Still there are some similar points: themes of poverty and unhappy marriage and characters of poor women. “A Pair of Silk Stockings” by Kate Chopin tells reader about carrying mother – Mrs. Sommers, who once was influenced by the impulse and spent all the money she had for children’s clothing to own pleasure. This occasion became the brightest event in her life for many years and she didn’t want that day was over. In its turn, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant deals with the young married lady – Madame Mathilde Loisel, who dreams about the luxurious life. Once she went on ball and lost borrowed necklace. To hide this fact, she and her husband bought the same one in large credit that they were used to pay back for ten years of hard work. Ironically, it turned out that lady lost imitation instead of natural brilliants that were returned. Obviously, these brief summaries do not enable reader to get the whole massage of authors. Both of stories are full of deep and similar senses and invite reader to meet dramatic characters. Thus, drawing analogy between these two works is to the point. Looking different stories are tied to each other by one significant idea – authors’ aspiration to show ambiguity of female’s inner world. There is the view, that both main characters are endowed with strong and weak points that are essential for each woman. Let’s analyze appropriate manifestations throughout compare and contrast providing.

Contrary to possible expectations, let’s start with less obvious in texts females’ strong points. Considerably, devotion and sacrifice are lined out in both cases. Let’s begin with “A Pair of Silk Stockings” . According to Allen Stein females in Chopin’s works are often drawn under the influence of marital burden in great desperation, desertion and frustration (Stein, 1). This fact causes no doubts, but it is not less important to emphasize described dignity with which characters bear their burdens. Mrs. Sommers seems the pertinent example to this. Call to mind, Mrs. Sommers appears in next way – “She had no time – no second of time to devote to the past. The needs of the present absorbed her every faculty. A vision of the future like some dim, gaunt monster sometimes appalled her, but luckily to-morrow never comes”(Chopin, 1). Considerably, she is the symbol of poor and strong woman who is ready to sacrifice her dreams and hopes for the wealth of family. Remind how careful was Mrs. Sommers while investments planning. No thought about own needs and wants, everything to children. She is the embodiment of female’s supreme devotion to family. Main character of “The Necklace” Madame Mathilde Loisel is going to be contrary to Mrs. Sommers with her features. She is not ready to life realties and don’t want to accept them. As the result, she losses the sense of real values. However, being crushed by cruel coincidence she doesn’t give up. She took the challenge of hopelessness and carried it through the whole life. Let’s remind – “She came to know the heavy work of the house, the hateful duties of the kitchen. She washed the plates, wearing out her pink nails on the coarse pottery and the bottoms of pans…”( De Maupassant, 8). Seemingly, this approach is also used to be the manifestation of female’s sacrifice as the greatest virtue. Obviously her character is different from Mrs. Sommers. Madame Mathilde Loisel’s devotion appeared due to appropriate circumstances of need instead of Mrs. Sommers life’s mode. On the other hand, challenges she met were even more dreadful and she found the strength to face them proudly. From this point of view, different characters of Madame Mathilde Loisel and Mrs. Sommers are used to bring the same idea – female’s strength of sacrificing.

The next point to compare characters striving for beauty and luxury. Both authors outlined that these aspirations are essential and leading for females, but they did it in different ways. In fact, both ladies are tied with similar life conditions – poverty and marital burdens. However, their natures are contrary. Mrs. Sommers is drawn as caring mother who does not leave place and time for herself. Her past knows the delights of abundance, but these memories do not occupy her mind. Occurred while shopping events were generated by seamstress and impulse she wasn’t expecting. Let’s remind next words – “She was not going through any acute mental process or reasoning with herself, nor was she striving to explain to her satisfaction the motive of her action. She was not thinking at all. She seemed for the time to be taking a rest from that laborious and fatiguing function and to have abandoned herself to some mechanical impulse that directed her actions and freed her of responsibility”( Chopin, 3). This quote seems to be the best evidence to mentioned fact. Her behavior became the result of inability to confront hidden for many years natural wish of beauty, in the broad sense of the word. Madame Mathilde Loisel is absolutely different with her nature. She grown up in family in little means and married a usual poor clerk. In spite, all her thoughts are gathered by the only thought about material values. Guy de Maupassant wrote – “She suffered endlessly, feeling herself born for every delicacy and luxury. She suffered from the poorness of her house, from its mean walls, worn chairs, and ugly curtains”( De Maupassant, 2). The wish of luxury becomes the obsession to her. However, she had to pay dearly for this miss. Described two characters are different with life priorities and pattern extremely, but they are similar with their craving for beauty and natural woman’s delicacy. No matter in what way it is showed out – impulse or mental lunacy. The point is this kind of aspiration is natural for inner female’s world and there is the view that both characters were used to bring this idea to reader.

To conclude, Kate Chopin and Guy de Maupassant gave us some similar massages throughout the main characters drawn in their short-telling stories. These ideas are devoted to essential strong and weak points of female’s nature. Differences between figures of two characters are not the obstacles to get this similarity. Moreover, they help to emphasize common female’s nature of described features. Whatever life conditions or life mood woman has to take, she is still ready for committing unnoticed inhuman feats and weakness manifestation. This fact seems the main conflict of female’s nature indeed and great writers knew that for sure.


1. Chopin, Kate. A Pair of Silk Stockings. Readbookonline. 2005. 21 Feb. 2011. http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/860/

2. De Maupassant, Guy. The Necklace. Eastoftheweb. 2006. 21 Feb. 2011. http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/Neck.shtml
3. Stein, Allen. Kate Chopin’s “A Pair of Silk Stockings”: The Marital Burden and the Lure of Consumerism. Questia. 2008. 21 Feb. 2011. http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessionid=0984B2742DC31E4A3FD7DF670EAA0054.inst2_1a?docId=5009564378