Things that we consider valuable generally possess unique properties. Such as gold and diamonds. Why do we consider certain objects to be valuable to us? What about it brings our attention? When a person discovers that something has a special place for them, it usually has some sort of significance to the person or they have a particular use for it. This is shown in the two short stories of “The Necklace,” and, “Civil Peace.” The values that are present are determined by how a person views the world from their own perspective.
The short story “The Necklace,” revolves around the idea of grand envy and desires. The story opens up with a long description on how she hates her middle-classed life, and desperately wishes she were wealthy. She feels tormented and embarrassed, “She had no proper wardrobe, no jewels, nothing. And those were the only things that she loved..” (374). Mathilde is so convinced she’s meant to be rich and spends her days dreaming about the fabulous life she’s not living. She envisions fancy furniture, feasts, and rich young men to seduce. It all begins when her husband comes home with an invitation to a fancy ball.
Mathilde then complains to him how she has nothing nice to wear, and can’t possibly go. Loisel suggests that she should go see her rich friend Madame Forestier. Forestier lends her a beautiful diamond necklace, and Mathilde instantly falls in love with it’s glamorous finish. She later shares her thoughts, “..she felt she was made for them. She would have so loved to charm, to be envied, to be admired and sought after.” (374)
With the necklace, she was sure a stunner at the ball. She loved being the center of attention, and was defiantly successful. This story can share comparisons with another short story, “Civil Peace.” Jonathan and Mathilde both share having a value, but they both value something different, and it ends up affecting them both differently.
Jonathan is introduced as a very lucky man to survive the Nigerian Civil War, and even luckier enough to still have his family alive with him. Jonathan considers everything a blessing given to him, “He had come out of the war with five inestimable blessings – his head, his wife Maria’s head, and three out of their four children. As a bonus he also had his old bicycle – a miracle too naturally not to be compared to the safety of five human heads.” (389)
He notices that no matter how amazing his other miracles are, like his existing bike, there is nothing greater than the survival of his wife and 3 children. His bike soon starts developing a taxi service, and makes him a “small fortune’, which helps him return to his hometown, Enugu. Jonathan continues to bring optimism in his attitude, “QUOTE HERE” Everywhere he looks, he doesn’t see mourning, but rather opportunity and fortune. Jonathan valued something that should be valued, himself and his family’s survival.
Mathilde values didn’t compare as crucial as Jonathan’s values. “The Necklace” begins to turn into a lesson learned kind of story. The moral of the story is that items can’t buy you happiness.