Comparative Analysis: Maupassant's 'The Necklace' and Hughes' 'Salvation'

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In human life, we are faced with many difficulties regarding decisions and choices. Often, these choices and pressures bring out the less than desirable in the human soul, where we sometimes believe we have no other choice than to lie. An example of two such stories is Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace" and Langston Hughes' "Salvation," where both characters are faced with social and community pressures and make the choice to lie rather than admit the truth. Maupassant's story concerns a woman, Mathilde borrows a diamond necklace to wear to a dance, for which her husband obtained a rare invitation. When the necklace is lost, she decides, with her husband, to replace it rather than tell the truth. In Langston Hughes' story, a young boy belongs to a church that was caught up in the fever of revival. "Everybody" in the church was "saved." Waiting in vain to "feel" saved, Langston succumbs to the pressure and pretends to be saved, under great cheering from the rest of the congregation. He is unable to admit this deception and spends the night crying himself to sleep. In both stories, the main characters succumb to social pressure and engage in a form of lying in order to reach the goals they believe society expects of them; the authors demonstrate this by using elements such as setting, symbolism, and irony. Both stories depict a setting that is essentially deceptive by nature. In "The Necklace," for example, great importance is placed upon social standing and the appearance

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