Both of wealth, that the couples have. The

Both Guy de Maupassant and O. Henry, the authors of “The Necklace” and “The Gift of the Magi”, are considered two of the best short story writers to have ever lived, and they both use irony to develop a complex theme in their stories. They both deal with young, poor couples who face certain trials, and are surprised by an unexpected, ironic event – although in different ways. In both of these stories, the authors create suspense and humor to create an enjoyable story. In both stories; there are several main themes including wealth, sacrifice, pride, and love; that can be seen in both “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Necklace.”One of the most noticeable pieces in both stories is the amount of wealth, or lack of wealth, that the couples have. The authors set the characters in an uncomfortable, drab environment. This can be seen in “The Gift of the Magi,” in lines 11-13 as, “a furnished flat at $8 per week (…) did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad” (Henry, 11-13), and in “The Necklace” in lines 13-15 as, “shabbiness of her apartment, the dinginess of the walls, the worn out appearance of the chairs, and the ugliness of the draperies” (Maupassant, 13-15). The Youngs are a low working class couple, while the Loisels are part of the middle class before the they lose the necklace. Altogether, it is clear that in both cases the protagonists are facing financial trouble and that these determine their actions. However, in the marriage in The Gift of the Magi, the exterior “drabness” is what the couple thinks of a cozy, loving atmosphere between them, pointing towards the vast amounts of immaterial wealth they have simply by sharing their lives with each other. But in the story of The Necklace, the only comparison done about their current status comes from Mathilde, who is constantly complaining the fact that those from a higher class have luxuries she doesn’t, and this shows that she only takes into account their material riches.In both stories, the characters share one particular trait: they are too prideful. In the Young’s case, neither of them is capable of admitting that they don’t have enough money to buy each other amazing presents, but instead of discussing this situation and perhaps reaching a better arrangement, they don’t think twice about giving away their most valuable items in order to give the other person the perfect gift. In “The Necklace,” Mathilde, from the very beginning is described as an excessively prideful woman with unrealistic desires, which is what dominates her life and makes her so miserable. Later on in the story, she and her husband end up having trouble with their finances for years instead of simply admitting the loss of the necklace to Mme. Forestier. In neither case did any of them consider acting differently, and consequently, it can be said that both marriages were concerned with their appearance to the external world and to others in a certain way rather than to themselves and being happy for what they have.Sacrifice is defined as an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy, and it could be said that both stories portray their main characters as such at certain moments. In The Gift of the Magi, this is a pretty straightforward, since both characters literally gave up their most valuable items for each other. However, in “The Necklace,” there’s a change in Mathilde, since at the beginning she is filled with self-pity and believes herself to have nothing when she does have more than most. Her husband sacrificed many things for her happiness including working more hours and giving up his money that he had saved for a rifle to buy her a dress. However, as the story continues you see her attitude towards life has changed and that, having lost all her money and beauty to pay away her debt, she has become a different, more mature person. In both stories we can see that sacrifices were made out of love and pride. Despite the fact that both “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Necklace” show different parts in the life of a married couple, the relationships they have with each other appear to be completely different. The Youngs, seem to have an almost perfect, happy and balanced relationship, while the Loisels aren’t nearly as balanced or idealistic as them. This could perhaps be due to the fact that, while in the case of the Youngs it is implied that they married out of free will, in the story about the Loisels the reader is told that Mathilde “was finally married to a minor clerk in the Ministry of Education” (Maupassant, 4-5), showing that she didn’t marry him because of a romantic relationship. Mathilde strikes the reader as a woman deeply in love with herself and with material goods, which probably meant that she didn’t have the emotional maturity to be in a relationship with someone else and so she was unwilling and unable to return her husband’s affection. However, in The Necklace, it could be said that their relationship isn’t the center of the story, as is the case with The Gift of the Magi, since the emphasis is put on Mathilde’s attitude and transformation.


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