Monday, August 19, 2019

Comparing Maupassants Necklace and Chekovs Vanka Essay -- Comparison

Narrators and Sympathy in Maupassant's Necklace and Chekov's Vanka  Ã‚     Ã‚  Ã‚   In Guy de "The Necklace" and Anton Chekov's "Vanka," the narrators' attitudes are unsympathetic toward the protagonists Mathilde and Vanka. However, where the narrator of "The Necklace" feels outright hostility toward Mathilde, the narrator of "Vanka" voices his opinion more passively by pointing out the flaws in Vanka's wishful thinking. In "The Necklace," the narrator's unsympathetic feelings toward Mathilde are made evident in the first paragraph when he states, "she had no dowry, no expectations, no means of being known, understood, loved, wedded by an rich and distinguished man; and she let herself be married to a little clerk at the Ministry of Public Instruction" (66). The narrator portrays Mathilde as a selfish and haughty shrew whose only desire is to be admired and praised by everyone else. Mathilde defines her status by her good looks and thinks it degrading that she is the daughter of a lowly clerk. Also, the phrase "let herself be married" shows that she consider herself above the common person, and by marrying a clerk she lowered her standards (66). Conversely, in "Vanka", the narrator points out the flaws of Vanka's wishful thinking by showing the reality of his situation. Vanka writes to his grandfather as if to Santa Clause, but instead of asking for toys, he asks for freedom from his cruel life by as king his grandfather to "take [him] away from here, home to the village" (48). The narrator, though, shows how Vanka's grandfather drinks profusely although Vanka never truly realizes it except when he pictures him as a "lively little old man of sixty-five with an everlastingly laughing face and drunken eyes" (47). The narrator further p... ... (47) and in Vanka's dream he appears to laugh, as if reveling in the fact that he has been able to cause more mischief, this time in Vanka's life (49). Both "The Necklace" and "Vanka" portray characters that are treated unsympathetically by their narrators. At the end of both stories, too, the narrators appear to laugh at the characters because all of their hard work and troubles were for nothing; Mathilde lost her youth and beauty for a fake necklace; Vanka wasted his hopes on a letter that will never arrive at its destination.    Works Cited Chekov, Anton. "Vanka." Understanding Fiction. 3rd ed. Eds. Clanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hill, 1979. 46-49 de Maupassant, Guy. "The Necklace." Understanding Fiction. 3rd ed. Eds. Clanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hill, 1979. 66-72   

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