Guy de Maupassant The Jewel | An Analytical Study


Guy de Maupassant The Jewel | An Analytical Study

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Guy de Maupassant's Short Story 'The Jewel' -An Analytical Study

Guy de Maupassant The Jewel | An Analytical Study

Guy de Maupassant The Jewel | An Analytical Study

‘The Jewel’ is a French short story by Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893), a reputed French storyteller. The main theme of the story is love. The storyteller shows through the story that money can change a man’s mentality but it cannot bring in happiness. 

It is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Lantin. He is an employee in the office of the Minister of the Interior affairs earning only thirty-five francs a year. Once he met a young girl, the daughter of a provincial tax collector and loved her and married her. She had a weakness in purchasing and wearing jewels. She could run home adroitly with his husband’s modest earnings. She used to purchase ornaments without making her husband know about them. Her husband thought that the ornaments were imitations or faked, not genuine. After only six years of their happy conjugal life, she died from an inflammation of the lungs. Mr. Lantin became almost mad with grief. After his wife’s death, he was unable to maintain home with his limited income and thought of her wife who could manage his home with modest resources. After her death, he contracted several debts but could not pay off all the debts. One morning he suddenly found his wife’s box of junk and decided to sell off the imitation jewels. Hence he took them with him and on the way to his office he went to a Jeweler and was amazed to know that all the jewels were genuine. Then he suffered from a mental dilemma about how his wife could purchase all those costly ornaments. The next day he sold all the ornaments for four hundred thousand francs. He became suddenly rich, and his mentality changed. He gave up his job. After six months he married again but he could not be happy with his second wife.

The story bears only two Characters Mr. Lantin and his wife. Mr. Lantin is the main character, the author portrays his mental state- his grief, his dilemma concerning how his wife could buy such valuable ornaments, and his change of mentality for inheriting four hundred thousand francs after the death of her wife.

The other character is Mrs. Lantin. She is beautiful, simple, charming with angelic modesty. Her only weakness is for ornaments and frequenting the theatre. She was very economic as she could manage her home well with her husband’s limited earnings.

In portraying the characters the storyteller has given the testimony of a skilled artist. Both the characters are dealt with individuality. But Mrs. Lantin is portrayed as changing and Mrs. Lantin as stable.

In narrating the story the author has employed the Objective Method with skill. In this method, the author keeps himself away from his story and delineates his story objectively.

The story, in Structure, is a perfect one. It bears visibly all the stages of a good short story. The opening is dramatic. The author begins his story directly. In the opening, the storyteller introduces his characters — Lantin and his wife Mrs. Lantin. Lantin is the chief bookkeeper to the minister of the Interior. He falls in love with the daughter of a Provincial tax collector. He falls in love with her at first sight and then marries her. The complication begins just after they got married and the plot meets its crisis when Lantin’s wife died from an inflammation of the lungs. It reaches the climax when Lanton goes to the jeweler in order to sell his wife’s ornaments which he thought to be faked not genuine and comes to know that they are not faked but genuine. After this, the falling action begins and in this stage, Lantin sells off all the ornaments and receives about four hundred thousand francs, gives up his job and marries for the second time. The denouement meets when he realizes that he is not as happy with his second wife.

The Setting of the story is consistent with the events and situation. But the author is very economic and logical in portraying the setting of his event.

The Dialogues employed in the story are very logical as he uses them sparingly but all the dialogues take his story ahead and unfold the inner motives of his characters.

The Philosophy of Life is also found in the story. The author has not expressed it directly but leaves it to be drawn out by his readers after reading it. The story suggests that money can change a man’s mentality but it cannot bring happiness in life.

The Language of the story is very simple as it is characterized by the use of concrete and formal (not unfamiliar) words and phrases and is free from poetic imagery and much emotional expression.

All the qualities of a good short story as —unity of purpose, brevity, spontaneity and universality are present in this short story. The author keeps up the unity of his purpose showing that it is love that can make our life happy. The brevity which is taken of as the soul of a short story is also maintained throughout the story as all the component elements of a good short story are employed in the story with possible economy without causing any harm to the perfectness of the story. Thus Universality is gained by means of the reliable representation of the theme and event. The story begins and ends with a spontaneous logical order and the author seems not to use any force in bringing about the denouement of his story through proper stages.

 As a short story, its Length is ideal as —neither very short nor long.

The analysis of the story as done above shows that all the elements and qualities of a good short story are present in it so it may be called that it is a short story of the first grade. 0 0 0

Guy de Maupassant The Jewel | An Analytical Study

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N. B. This article entitled ‘Guy de Maupassant The Jewel | An Analytical Study’ originally belongs to the book ‘World Short Story Criticism‘ by Menonim Menonimus. Guy de Maupassant The Jewel | An Analytical Study

Books of Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period
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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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