‘The Necklace’ by Guy de Maupassant, translated by Joachim Neugroschel

It’s depressing how human behaviour doesn’t evolve. Well at least that’s what it feels like after reading the desolate short story, ‘The Necklace’. This plot has the flavour of a Kanye & Kim vignette (but not April 2018 moral philosopher Kanye). Not least because it involves jewellery in Paris. Whilst I did not grow up poor, I grew up in a materially precarious environment. Nothing was taken for granted and luxuries were speculative and mostly realised through bank loans. The longest relationship I’ve ever had is with debt. Why? Because I also wanted what I didn’t have. I wanted to live in a city I was not born in and then in a country I was not born in. I had an idea of the life I should be living, and whilst it didn’t involve jewellery or designer handbags, I had a sharp sense of entitlement. ‘The Necklace’ highlights how odious an trait entitlement is and how recklessly we can mistake imprisonment for escape.

Collected in The Necklace & Other Tales, 2003. Can be read online here

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