1 June 2019 Susannah

Guy de Maupassant & ‘The Necklace’

Guy de Maupassant wrote over three hundred short stories, six novels, poems, travel books, articles, four plays and pornography and was a hugely influential writer, establishing the modern short story form and writing stories which have been hard for others to equal when it comes to quality, intriguing twists in the tail, and an almost photographic realism. He could never explain his own literary ability and grew quite panic-stricken when asked about his gift, or even when others talked of literary matters in his presence. He didn’t want to analyse – just to represent and narrate.

I vividly remember my first reading of this powerful short story. I was about 11 years old and attending Tokoroa Intermediate School in New Zealand. It was a cold, wet winter afternoon and our teacher, Mr Collins, suggested we all open a School Reader Journal and do 30 minutes of silent reading. I opened up the book and was attracted by one title – The Necklace. I began to read … and soon the classroom walls seemed to disappear, and I found myself in Paris, borrowing a necklace from a friend and then finding to my horror that it was no longer around my neck.

I always love to hear what you think.

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Featured image credit- Couples dancing at a 19thC ball.

Comments (2)

  1. Like you Susannah, this one of those stories I have never forgotten. It pops into my head at the most unexpected times. The honour and honesty of that poor woman was so beautiful and the rich woman also had a sort of honour in helping her friend, if unwittingly committing her to a life of struggle and poverty.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Isn’t it amazing how much he packs in to so few words. I am glad you also found it such a memorable story.

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