Thursday, February 7, 2013

Literature Summary of "The Necklace"

Bridget Ruffing


Excellence in Literature unit one

Novel or Story Title: 'The Necklace”

Author: Guy de Maupassant


The Necklace” is a brilliant short story that reveals a lot about human nature, showing what can happen when you ask for too much, are too careless, and, ultimately, the benefits, and trials, of doing the right thing. It has a hilariously ironic ending that leaves the reader full of imaginings, wondering, “What if it had gone differently?” and that thought leading into an endless chain of questions.


Mathilde Loisle lives under a great burden, one that she cannot see, lift, or take hold of, but is always there. Her birth. Though she possesses great taste, admirable beauty and refined manners, she has been born into a family of low-income clerks and has married a clerk at the Ministry of Public Instruction. She sits in her house all day long wishing to have better drapes, a larger house, fancier food, elegant dresses, and so on. She is filled with so much self-pity that she cannot even bare to be with her rich friend, Mme. Forestier, who always tempts Mathilde with her fine things.


The story begins when Mathilde and her hsband receive an invitation to a party for the Ministry of Public Instruction. But, instead of being delighted as her husband had hoped, Mathilde becomes all the more depressed, complaining that she had nothing to wear to such a gathering. But her husband gives her money to make herself a dress, and when the issue of jewelry arises, he suggests that she borrow some of Mme. Forestier's. The story then spirals towards it's ironic ending after Mathilde loses the diamond necklace she has borrowed, and creates more and more debt as she tries to pay for the necklace she buys to replace the lost one.


The Necklace” takes place in France, in the 1900's.


Guy de Maupassant wrote this story with much narrative and little dialog, with spare, to-the-point sentences used by the characters. He is very good at giving a life to his characters. The reader has a very good idea of the nature of them, which is quite a feat to be accomplished in a such a short tale.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review of the Pride and Prejudice BBC Miniseries From 1980

My Jane Austen submersion continues, and I have finished Pride & Prejudice and am now reading Sense & Sensibility  along with listening to Persuasion on Craftlit, a great little knitting/crafting/literature podcast done by Heather Ordover. I also recently finished watching the BBC miniseries version of P&P created in 1980 and thought I might review it here:

Review of Pride and Prejudice, 1980 Series Version

Acting: This production features a wide range of actors for the numerous characters in Austen's book, and some of them took on their task of being the most beloved and despised characters of hundreds of people and represented them very well. I thought the acting done for Lydia, Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Collins and Elizabeth to be very well done. Elizabeth Garvie, the actress for Elizabeth Bennet, did a fabulous job of using her lines (which were almost all straight from the book) and conveying them with believable emotion and wit. And the rest of the characters I have above mentioned were all played with their deserved amount of foolishness and distaste. The actor chosen for Mr. Darcy,  David Rintoul, while portraying Darcy's proud, sullen, intimidating public air very well, his softer side barely showed. He conveyed little believability in professing his love for the first or second time, hardly smiled, and remained rigid and stiff as a board. I was not pleased with the actor for Bingley, either. He was too silly and awkward, when he was supposed to have been the one perfect at conversing with any and everyone. Mr. Bennet said his lines in the same satirical tone and manner throughout the entire series.

Production and Set: The set and production were certainly nothing astounding, but that can be expected and forgiven, considering the low budget the producers must have been given. The sets were small and unimpressive, one scene ran right into the next without a pause or dissolve, and the sound quality was not so good.

Script and Storytelling: The script was taken almost entirely from the book, which I was reading at the time I watched this. They decided to include nearly every scene from the novel, and in doing so, had to make the scenes short and the series episodes long. If I were them, I would simply have included the most important scenes and quotes. I was also very, very disappointed with the ending. Neither Elizabeth nor Darcy appeared to be very in love with each other, and Darcy professed his love stiffly, and Elizabeth seemed almost afraid of him. When she accepted him, he looked as if he expected her to all along. I was not not impressed.

Overall, I would have to give this 2 out of 5 stars.