The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant Essay

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"The Necklace" (in French, "La Parure") is perhaps the most famous short story by French author Guy de Maupassant. It's been called Madame Bovary in miniature, and tells the tale of a dissatisfied middle-class woman whose dreams of wealth and glamour end in disaster. Maupassant first published it (in French) on February 17, 1884 in a daily newspaper called Le Gaulois, where he worked as an editor. So just who, you ask, is this guy, Guy, with the hard-to-pronounce French name? (By the way, it's roughly "Gee du Mow-pass-on" – with the "g" at the beginning sounding like the "g" in "goat," and the "n" at the end having that French nasal sound). As it turns out, he's a big deal. Maupassant is the father of the French short story. Some would even say that he is the father of the modern short story (or at least one of the fathers). Though he didn't invent the short story genre, he perfected it, popularized it, and greatly expanded his audience's understanding of what could be done with it. It helped that he wrote some three hundred short stories, all mostly between 1880 and 1890. Maupassant was also famous for his use of the twist endings. Guy didn't invent that either, and he certainly didn't use it in every one of his stories. But when he did use it, he was good at it, and it was he, more than anyone else, who made the twist ending big. We mention that because "The Necklace" has the most famous of all of Maupassant's twist endings – which is also why it's his most famous short work. Though he was already well-known in France by the time he wrote it, in the English-speaking world his initial fame rested largely on this little jewel of a story. It was a particular hit with Americans, who couldn't get over how cool the ending was. In fact, the story led to something of a twist-ending fad in popular literature. It wasn't too long before the U.S. produced its own
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