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“The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant tells the story of an unsatisfied middle-class woman whose dreams of luxury end up in disaster. Mathilde Loisel is what some may call a desperate house wife, she stays in the house all with nothing to do. To escape this boredom, she day dreams about what her life would be like if she was rich living in a mansion surrounded by glamourous things and people. The different settings of this story developed the growth of the main character Mathilde. This is also true for the narrator in “Blue Winds Dancing”, but instead of living in a day dream, this narrator can find out who he is and is supposed to be by going home to his family. The narrator goes off to college to receive a huge culture shock only to realize that he belongs with his people in Wisconsin. As each setting is mentioned in both “Blue Winds Dancing” and in “The Necklace”, the main characters experience mental growth, and they realize the realities of their lives.
The setting of “The Necklace” starts off the Loisel’s small apartment on Martyrs Street. This is where Mathilde day dreams about what life could be. She spends most of her days complaining about how “drab” her apartment is. She describes how the furniture is “threadbare” and how “ugly” her curtains are just some of what she complains about. She has a maid that helps clean around the apartment but instead of being appreciative of this, she wants for more servants to go along with her huge “day dream mansion”. She describes her daydream service:
She imagined a gourmet-prepared main course carried on the most exquisite trays and served on the most beautiful dishes, with whispered gallantries that she would hear with a sphinxlike smile as she dined on the pink meat of a trout or the delicate wing of a quail.
Everything about her life makes her unhappy from the beef stew that her husband bought for dinner to her nice theatre dress, that she feels is only to be worn around the poor and isn’t elegant enough to be seen by the rich. Her reaction to all the details of her apartment show Mathilde as not having a true grasp on her reality and how badly she has adjusted to her life. She soon realized that her desperation to be glamourous will bring about her undoing.
Mathilde is invited to attend the Minster of Education’s party, which will be filled with many fancy and rich people, and in order to fit in she uses up her husband’s savings to find a dress and borrows a necklace from her rich friend. The necklace appears to be nice and full of diamonds but it’s just as fake as the daydreams Mathilde has of being a high-class citizen. She isn’t aware of this and end up losing the necklace and is forced to find the money to buy a replacement. In doing so, she loses her apartment and reality then being to punch her in the face. She soon is forced to move to an attic flat where she is working hard to pay for the necklace. I believe this changed of setting humbled Mathilde. There is no more complaining about how miserable her life was, the daydreaming of a luxurious life stopped, and she knew the definition of hard work. It took her 10 years but she finally got over her fantasy life and took a step into reality.
The last setting of “The Necklace” takes place on the streets of the Champs-Elysees, she runs into her rich friend and finally has the courage to talk to her. Mathilde has come to terms with her life after the necklace and confronts her friend about the whole situation. This shows her growth from each setting, and her coming to terms with her reality is realized when she runs into her friend.
For the narrator in “Blue Winds Dancing”, there is a totally different experience. The first setting described in this story is his home in Wisconsin. Its described as this beautiful place where everyone is friendly. The narrator feels very at ease when they at in their hometown. Its only until he moves to California for college that he begins to question who he is. While in California, he notices the amount of white people. This is a culture shock for him because he is a Native American man, who up until college, had only been around other Native American people. He gets a lot of anxiety about not fitting in or not being smart enough to be around these new people. He starts to question if he is a true American or if he even belongs in a college.
He understands the cultural difference between him and the white people. This makes him feel inferior because of how his education experience is from theirs.
But we are inferior. It is terrible to have to feel inferior; to have to read reports of intelligence tests, and learn that one’s race is behind. It is terrible to sit in class and hear men tell you that your people worship sticks of wood—that your gods are all false, that the Manitou forgot your people and did not write them a book.
Yet as the setting goes back to his hometown, he realizes that he does not belong amongst the white civilians. The narrator feels that when he goes home, people will behave differently around him because he has strayed from their civilization for so long. But that is not the case at all, he is welcomed back with open arms and realizes that where he truly belongs is right there with his people. The narrator goes from the setting of white people where he feels confused about who he is as a person and where he belongs in the world; but as he returns home to Wisconsin he realizes that he is Native American at heart and always will be. His struggles in white civilization resulted in a greater appreciation for Native American society and a sure realization that he is a true Native American. At the end of the story he is happy and content having found his identity and describes himself as finally being home.
The characters from both short stories experience hardships when trying to realize who they are and their realities. As each setting is progressively mentioned in “The Necklace”, it can be connected to the Mathilde Loisel’ character change and grasp on reality; she is unhappy in the drab apartment, she must work hard in the attic flat, and feels at peace with all that has happened while she is walking along the Champs-Elysees. As for “Blue Winds Dancing” the narrator comes to find out who he truly is by leaving one setting for another then return to where he originally started off, his true home.
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