University of Southeastern Philippines
College of Education
Obrero, Davao City
Guy De Maupassant Biography
The Necklace and A Piece of String Contrastive
Dr. Velma Labad
Approaches, Methods and Strategies in Teaching English
Guy de Maupassant
A French writer considered as on of the fathers of modern short stories. Henri-Rene-
Albert Guy de Maupassant was born on August 5, 1850, near Tourville-sur-Arques in Normandy
France where he spent most of his early life. The oldest child of wealthy parents who eventually
separated, Maupassant was not allowed to attend school until he was thirteen years old.
Before then, the local parish priest acted as his tutor.
After being expelled from a Catholic seminary school, Maupassant finished his schooling
at a Rouen boarding school before studying law at the University of Paris. His studies were soon
interrupted by the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, and Maupassant became a soldier in Normandy.
Contrastive analysis of “The Necklace” and “A Piece of String” by Guy De Maupassant
“The Necklace” was published in 1884 in the newspaper Le Gaulois. While “A Piece of
String was included in the compilation of short stories written by De Maupassant but there
were no clear and reliable evidence when it was published.
The setting in the short story called "The Piece Of String" is a small town with a country
flavor. It has long roads and a public square. The setting in this short story is much different
then in "The Necklace." "The Necklace" mostly took place inside homes and buildings such as
the protagonist's flat, then her home it the attic, the friend's house, and the Ministry ball. In the
short story, "The Piece Of String," the story mostly took place outside in a town called,
Goderville. The characters in this story went many places in Goderville. They went to the
Mayor's Office and to the public square, and many other places like the Maitre Jourdain's
tavern. The setting in this story and in "The Necklace" is very different. One is more urban and
the other is more rural. However, both stories are set in the past. "The Piece Of String" is much
different than "The Necklace."
“The Necklace,” demonstrate his affinity to both the realist and naturalist movements.
Following the realist tenet, his characters are not types but individuals whose motives are
understandable if not always agreeable. In the naturalist vein, Maupassant’s stories are often
attentive to the failings of society, demonstrating that humankind’s inherent instincts do not
always conform to social values.
During the 1880s, as a republican government solidified following the Franco-Prussian
War of 1870-71, France entered into a period of expansionism. In part, their imperialistic
attitude was fueled by a desire to restore the national pride that was wounded in the war.
During this time, a distorted view of social Darwinism took hold of many Europeans, infusing
them with the belief that they were naturally superior to “lesser” races and should therefore
rule over them. Loisel attempts to pay for the lost necklace in a variety of ways. He borrows
money from usurers and incurs enormous debts in the process. Usury is the practice of charging
more than the legal rate of interest for lending money. Since the sixteenth century, the practice
of usury has been the subject of ethical debate, but it is a common practice in Europe.
Both the stories have a theme that deals with trust. In “The Piece of String” Maitre
Hauchecome was accused of taking the wallet even though he was picking up a string. Since
that accusation he was branded as a thief while in “The Necklace” Madame Loisel hid the truth
to her friend that she lost the necklace she borrowed from her friend.
The two stories had unfortunate endings. Madame Loisel from of “The Necklace”
suffered for 10 years just to discover that she had suffered for a fake jewelry while Maitre
Hauchecome's of "The Piece of String" was never able to recover his innocence and his
reputation until he died of agony trying to prove his innocence.
The main characters of the story had ego to feed. For Madame Loisel, she wanted to
please the society she belongs to and Maitre Hauchecome kept on telling people how innocent
he was but nobody believes him. Both the characters suffered because of a missing item.
Madame Loisel suffered because of the missing necklace while Maitre Hauchecome suffered for
the missing wallet that was lost by an aristocrat. The difference between the two characters is
that Madame Loisel it was her fault why the necklace was lost while Maitre Hauchecome was
just accused of taking the wallet by Maitre Malandain. Maitre Malandain was the root of the
accusation against Maitre Hauchecome while Monsieur Loisel helped Madame Loisel in
retrieving the necklace.