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Compare and Contrast the Presentation of the Protagonist in ‘Veronica’ and ‘the Necklace’

In: Social Issues

Submitted By batmobil87
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Compare and Contrast the Presentation of the Protagonist in ‘Veronica’ and ‘The Necklace’

The protagonists in the two stories ‘Veronica’ and ‘The Necklace’ have some similarities, but mostly are the two women in the stories are very different. Just by looking at the title, we get two very different impressions. In ‘Veronica’ the protagonist is Veronica heraself. Veronica is presented as being a very good person, a person that is committed to her family. This is normal from the Nigerian Village and the environment she is from. The woman stay homes to take care of the children, while the men go to the city to work, like Okeke. We get the impression that her family is the lowest in the community. We hear Veronica lives in Nigeria around the 1970s, which is the same time as the Civil War, and the author have focused a lot on this. The author makes the reader feel sympathy for Veronica, because she is in the situation she is. Her family is very poor, she has to take care of the family from a very young age. We hear later in the story, that she is lucky getting a man which have a job, so he can get some money to the family. Guy de Maupasssant is presenting the protagonist in “The Necklace” very differently. She is very representative of her society. She is being presented as being very selfish, egocentric and ungrateful. The reader is barely getting any kind of sympathy for her at the beginning of the story. Because of her negative vision on life she only wants the best, of the best. So compared to Veronica who is always optimistic about life, she is very negative. That is on of the most obvious diversities between the two protagonists.

As I said earlier the story takes place around the Civil war in Nigeria. The fact that we know it was in the Civil War, tells us a lot about how hard it was for Veronica. She had to take care of the family, while there were genocide outside. In the Civil War in Nigeria there were a lot of people who starved and suffered. In the 2 and a half years the war was on, about 1 million civilians died from famine and fighting. So this tells us more about how hard it was to live at this time. When Veronica is just a young child, she had to take care of both her familiy, have a place to live, and get food for her family, while there was the Civil War outside.

We can learn a lot about the protagonists by what they say, and how they say it. Veronica has problems to use complex sentences and instead she uses either simple, short sentences or long complex sentences, almost like a young child would do it. That also enhances the picture of her in our heads. We know this give sense because the narrator tells us she is not going to school, because of the poverty in her environment. A way we can see that Veronica hasn’t been as well educated as Okeke, is by their way of speaking. Okeke uses longer sentences with more complexity, opposed to Veronica uses short sentences. In the middle of the text we hear Veronica say “I can’t just leave my family” and “They are my family, that’s enough” As readers we get the impression of Veronica a person who truly cares about her family, and shows true loyalty. In the beginning of the story when we get to know Veronica we learn that she is very interested, and desires to learn something. She asks a lot of questions of Okeke.

On the other hand we learn that Madam Loisel is very ungrateful, there are examples of that in the text. One of them is when she says “What earthly use is that to her husband?” especially because we heard how she was complaining about her own life not being great enough. On the other hand Madame Loisel can also be quite sensitive, when it’s about something she needs, or really wants. We get some examples of this in the text. One of them is before the reception, “Two large tears rolled slowly out of the corners of her eyes and down towards the side…”. So we hear she is crying when she find notice she doesn’t have the right clothes to wear for the reception. After that episode the reader learnt that Madame Loisel also can get truly upset. Following on from this, we can also learn about the characters by what other people say about them. This is most clear in “Veronica” because the reader learns about a through Okeke, who also is the narrator. Okeke is the character that tells us about Veronica’s family and how she is beaten, he tells us that Veronica is wearing “shabby” clothes and about the physical appearance of her. It is not the same case in “The Necklace”. “The Necklace” is written with a third person narrator, so we hear everything through the narrator.

This links me to the next way we learn about the protagonist in the two stories. The case in “Veronica” is through the narrative point of view. In “Veronica” there is a very strong voice, describing and telling about how she feels, namely Okeke. Okeke gives a lot of his thoughts about Veronica while he is narrating the story. He tells us almost everything we need to know about Veronica, so we can see the perfect picture of her, in our heads. This does not happen so much in “The Necklace”, however because the story is written as third person narrator, we get limited fact, and feelings about Madame Loisel. So the readers, are left to think about how they think Madame Loisel is feeling

One similariti in both the stories are that they both have a 10 year gap. In “Veronica” we hear Okeke say “It was ten years defore I made the return journey. It was in connection with my work.“ The first thing we hear when Okeke is back, is how bad and disgusting the village life is. It is crawling with disease. In the text it say “I was shocked by what I foun. Either I had forgotten about the squalor of the village life, or it had worsened during my absence”. This just make us more clear on how bad Veronica had it. She have been in the same hut she had grown up, now just with a baby on her back. So Veronica is not really changing her position in life. Likewise Okeke Which goes from living in a poor village full of disease, to become and good doctor and earn money.

In ‘The Necklace’ we hear Mathilde say “No, I returned another one just like it. And we’ve been paying for it these past ten years.” We hear that Mathilde have been working for 10 years, because she was forced to buy a new necklace for Jeanne. Besides this is a similariti in the stories, however there is also differences in the two stories. We saw that Veronica hadn’t moved her position in life, to something better. But Mathilde in “The Necklace” went from a high class posh women, to a poor lower class women, which had to work hard to live, and pay off for the necklace.

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