Envious longings Essay
Desire of wealth in ‘The Necklace’ by Guy De Maupassant and ‘Neighbors’ by Raymond Carver Desire of wealth can be considered as the principal cause of the chaos in the world. Desire for wealth makes our society a real pandemonium. Desire for wealth triggers innumerable problems in the life of human beings. Absence of desire for wealth would have made this world a real paradise. Desire for wealth made human beings devalue relationships, health, morality and other crucial aspects of life. Endless desire for wealth torments the life of people and deprives them of their happiness.
Still the quest for wealth never ends. Several literary works examine the disastrous consequences of desire for wealth. The Necklace by Guy De Maupassant and Neighbors by Raymond Carver are two short stories that have ‘desire for wealth’ as a major theme. The short story, The Necklace is a warning against the desire for wealth. In the short story we find Mme. Loisel, whose thirst for wealth and luxury destroyed her life. Mme. Loisel wanted to live a life of luxury and comfort like any other women. She was not ready to live with the simple income of her husband.
She desired for expensive jewelry and costumes though her husband had a small income. She wanted to be a society woman who wears expensive dress and jewelry. Mme. Loisel was crazy to enjoy life to the fullest. This attitude is evident throughout the story. She loved to dress like the rich women of her society. She desired to attend parties like her contemporary society women. When she sat down for dinner at the round table covered with a three-days-old cloth, opposite her husband, who took the cover off the soup-tureen, exclaiming delightedly: “Aha! Scotch broth!
What could be better? ” (Guy De Maupassant, 2003). She imagined delicate meals, gleaming silver, tapestries peopling the walls with folk of a past age and strange birds in faery forests; she imagined delicate food served in marvellous dishes, murmured gallantries, listened to with an inscrutable smile as one trifled with the rosy flesh of trout or wings of asparagus chicken (Guy De Maupassant, 2003). Mme. Loisel loved delicious meals and similar entertainment. She did not desire a simple life inside the four walls of her house. She dreamt nothing but luxury.
Mme. Loisel was not happy with her humble family situation. She was not comfortable with her house which had no modern amenities. She was highly bothered of social status. She was as unhappy as though she had married beneath her; for women have no caste or class, their beauty, grace, and charm serving them for birth or family, their natural delicacy, their instinctive elegance, their nimbleness of wit, are their only mark of rank, and put the slum girl on a level with the highest lady in the land (Guy De Maupassant, 2003). We read in the short story that Mme.
Loisel lived in frustration because of her poorness. She could not help the worn chairs, mean wall, simple curtains and other humble things of her house. She compared herself to other women of her class. She too desired to live a life of his social status. This very thought tormented her. The situation of the little Breton girl evoked hopeless dream in her mind. She imagined silent antechambers, heavy with Oriental tapestries, lit by torches in lofty bronze sockets, with two tall footmen in knee-breeches sleeping in large arm-chairs, overcome by the heavy warmth of the stove (Guy De Maupassant, 2003).
She did not contain with her humble belongings. She wanted to live the life of high social status. She imagined vast saloons hung with antique silks, exquisite pieces of furniture supporting priceless ornaments, and small, charming, perfumed rooms, created just for little parties of intimate friends, men who were famous and sought after, whose homage roused every other woman’s envious longings (Guy De Maupassant, 2003). Mme. Loisel desired a luxurious life. She wanted to dress up like rich women. She believed that she was made for expensive dress and jewels.
She always desired to be charming, attractive and sought after. She was unhappy with her life as she had to live with the meager income of her husband. We find in the short story how the craze for wealth made her life topsy-turvy. We find that her vanity made her borrow the necklace which she lost. Her life turns out to be miserable because of this. Her endless thirst for wealth and luxuries made her lead a difficult life later. Neighbors by Raymond Carver also speak about the craze for wealth and its dangerous consequences.
The short story includes a plot that includes the life of Bill and Arlene Miller, the couple who takes care of the Stone’s apartment. It is very much evident in the short story that there is a close relationship between the couples. Bill and Arlene understand that their lives are not exciting like the lives of their neighbors. As Stone’s leaves their house for their vacation, Bill goes to their house to feed the cat and water the plants. Gradually Bill becomes interested in the possessions of his neighbor. His desire for wealth and luxury makes him crazy for his neighbor’s possessions.
We find him exploring his neighbor’s house and their belongings. He starts enjoying his time in the neighbor’s house. We find him taking leave from work to go to the neighbor’s house and spend time there. He feels that the house has some magical quality to make time fly off. It is also amazing to note that the sex drive of Bill and Arlene also increases when they spend time in their neighbor’s house. Their craze for the neighbor’s luxurious life made them spend more time there. Like Bill, Arlene also loves to visit neighbor’s life often.
The couple does love searching along the things in the apartment. The story ends when then couples forget the key in their apartment and getting locked out of it. The story helps us understand how useless it is to compare our lives with others and desire for their wealth. Like Mme. Loisel in the short story ‘The Necklace’, the couples in the short story ‘Neighbors’ also became foolish enough to desire other’s wealth and possessions. The lust for luxury and wealth resulted in their downfall. Desire for wealth is a destructive character.
Lusting for luxury and wealth destroys peace, breaks relationships, degrades character and makes life miserable. Contentment is the key to happiness. Desiring for more wealth and possessions causes immense problems. Like Mme. Loisel in the short story ‘The Necklace’, the couples in the short story ‘Neighbors’, those who run after wealth run into problems and miseries. Craving for luxuries and wealth is therefore the most destructive nature of human beings. Works Cited Guy De Maupassant (2003) The Necklace and Other Tales, Modern Library. Raymond Carver (1971) ‘Neighbors’.