Sunday, July 29, 2007
The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant is about the price of one lower-class woman’s yearning to be a center of the elite’s admiration. The woman, Madame Loisel, proved to be a success in the party she and her husband attended, but eventually lost and had to replace (but not without having to undergo extreme life hardship) the borrowed diamond necklace, which turned out to be an imitation. Compared to “Moonlight,” this story also presents a woman in bad light: in it, Madame Loisel was shown as a discontent wife that deserved her fall, whereas in “Moonlight,” the Abbe Marignan’s niece was initially seen in her guardian uncle’s eyes as a wanton lady who cheated the priest by meeting her lover without his knowing. Both stories contrast in the life’s realization their characters experienced: in “The Necklace,” it took ten years for Madame Loisel to see life’s fickleness while in “Moonlight,” it took the priest only one fullness of a moonlight moment to subvert his notion about women and love.
“Araby” by James Joyce is about a young boy’s disappointment over puppy love. The narrator was supposed to meet his object of affection in a bazaar, but not being able to come early to Araby cost him the love that could have been. Compared to “Clay,” this story likewise recounts disenchantment; in “Clay,” it is about a single woman’s growing frustration about spinsterhood. Both stories are alike in Joyce’s characteristic writing subtlety, but different in that his characters experienced their respective disappointments at the extremes of love’s spectrum.
“The Garden of Forking Paths” by Jorge Luis Borges tells of the complicity between history and fiction, as may be seen in his other story “Theme of the Traitor and the Hero.” The first is about a Chinese spy’s testimony in helping the Germans against England, as opposed to what may be seen in the pages of history book. Both stories, employing the characteristic marvelous realism of Latin American writers such as Borges, present history in a light that seems fictionalized because of the varying perspectives it is told, thus trivialized. Meanwhile, they are contrasted in that “The Garden…” presents Yu Tsun as indeed a traitor while in the case of “Theme of the Traitor and the Hero,” Kilpatrick’s heroism or treason is ambiguous.