Personification is a technique that gives inanimate objects human qualities. The Necklace has various examples of this literary device. The short story personifies fate, apartments, night cabs, and even the human heart.
One of the earliest examples of personification is the description of Mathilde’s family. “She was one of those pretty and charming girls born, as though fate had blundered over her, into a family of artisans”. In this passage, fate makes a mistake. De Maupassant assigns the abstract concept a human quality of having “blundered”.
Personification can happen when human emotion is related to an object. “Those ancient night cabs which, as though they were ashamed to show their shabbiness during the day, are never seen round Paris until after dark”. The night cabs are objects. The author emphasizes the description by providing them with human qualities. In this context, it is their physical appearance.
De Maupassant gives more examples when he describes households and residences. “All these things, of which other women of her class would not even have been aware, tormented and insulted her”. This is the description of Loisel’s run-down home. The reader knows that it is Mathilde who is insulted. Personifying the apartment in its ability to torment creates a hostile atmosphere. It feels as if the room is attacking the character. “She thought of dainty dinners, of shining silverware, of tapestry that peopled the walls with ancient personages…”. In this excerpt, the personification is less evident. “Peopled” is not a human action. The tapestry is adding the presence of people to the room. This gives it lifelike qualities. An inanimate object is contributing to the ambiance.
A personified object can be a part of a living organism. Take the human heart, both literal and metaphoric. It is living but not conscious. A heart exists as a part of a human being. As Madame Loisel looks at a diamond necklace, “her heart began to beat with uncontrolled desire”. The reader understands that the desire belongs to the character. The literary technique attributes it to the heart. De Maupassant gives the heart the human feeling of anxiety. This reflects the desperation and excitement experienced by Madame Loisel.
Personification is a popular literary technique. Writers of the most iconic narratives use it. How can it be helpful in a story?
- It allows the audience to connect with the descriptions;
- Readers understand the descriptions on a more intricate level;
- People better comprehend, sympathize, and react to human-like associations;
- Authors can draw attention using this technique;
- Emphasizing essential plot points in a story.
The Necklace employs many literary devices to draw the reader into the context of the narrative. One of the significant elements of the story is the contrast between class and wealth. Personification highlights these descriptions and helps the reader understand what the characters feel.