The Grass is not Greener on the Other Side

The grass always looks greener on the other side. This saying has varied implications and can be explicated in every day’s life occurrences. The axiom implies that the grass on the neighbor’s lawn looks greener than in ones’ own. In a figurative sense, the adage can be taken to mean that one always wishes to have what belongs to another person.

This implies that people are covetous in nature and that when they acquire a coveted object, the desire for that object diminishes. In Guy De Maupassant’s short story “The Necklace”, the same questions about the challenge of coveting what one does not have arises.

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The meaning of the necklace usually keeps the reader guessing as it what is its real meaning. Madame Loisel , does not value her lifestyle and heritage, and feels that she, “was by a mistake of destiny, born in a family of clerk”, and yet desires to be equal to the great, rich ladies(77). For Madame Loisel the grass is always greener on the other side, yet the desire for greener grass comes with severe consequences.

The grass is usually greener, until one desires their neighbor’s goods. When that occurs, then ones lawn looses the appeal it initially had. Thus, instead of people appreciating what they already have, they result to covet other people’s possession. When this assertion is evaluated Vis a Vis Madame Loisel, it is found to be true.

Before Madame Loisel borrowed the necklace, the grass was greener on her side; she was a much happier woman. However, all that changed the moment she gained sight of the other side. By borrowing the necklace she gained sight and knowledge about the world of the rich. Madame Loisel feels that destiny had dealt her unfairly by making her be born in a middle class family with “no expectations, no means of being known, understood, or loved”(77). She covets the life of the rich and thus desires to challenge her social status.

Madame Loisel’s covetousness is not born instantly, but develops over time and is manifested through dreams and fits of jealous fantasies; she spends a good part of her life dreaming and fantasizing about the rich.

Thus, chance to go to the ball dance emerges she sees it as the ultimate opportunity to gain access into the world of the rich, a world “she felt she… [was] made for”(78). Madam Loisel envies the rich and thus wants to escape her poverty ridden life as there is “nothing more humiliating than to look poor among other women who are rich”(79).

She fails to appreciate the “natural flowers… [that are] very stylish at this time of the year” and prefers luxury ball gowns and diamond necklaces worn by the rich(79). Such cravings for other people’s possessions come at a price as evidenced through Madam Loisel’s life. One ball dance evening of “intoxication with… triumph of her beauty in the glory of…success “(79) turns into ten years of “horrible existence of the needy”(81).

Madam Loisel has to pay “dreadful debt”; the price of her selfish desires for the lost necklace (80). Furthermore, when she wakes up from her world of illusion she realizes that valuelessness of acquiring the coveted object. She turns into the “plain goodwife”, albeit with “heroism …[on] her part”(81).

Questions abound as to what would have happened had Madame Loisel not developed the illusive desire for riches. For instance, what would have happened had Madame Forestier told Madame Loisel from the very beginning, that the necklace was fake? Most likely Mister Loisel would still come home for dinner to his good wife and enjoy a bowl of “good pot-aufeu”(77).

Moreover, Madame Loisel would be spared the harsh treatment from her husband, Mister Loisel. Having been enraged by his wife’s stupidity Mister Loisel wonders how such a small thing such as the lack of jewelry “for one gay evening” would lead his wife to commit such despicable acts (80). Being a devoted and loving husband, Mister Loisel would also be spared sacrificing the inheritance and “compromise all the rest of his life” (81).

The diamond necklace, which in real sense is a string of stones, illustrates the false illusion created by Madame Loisel desires for riches. Through the “black satin box” the reader is able to see the black side of the rich, which is oblivious to Madame Loisel. For instance, Madame Forestier is not concerned for Madam Loisel’s plight especially after the tragedy of the necklace.

The false necklace is the ticket to Madam Loisel’s desired land of the rich. Yet, the acquisition of her dream “awakens [her] desires… [and gives her a false] sense of complete victory” (79). Madame Forestiers lifestyle makes Madam Loisel think that the grass is greener on the other side, making Madam Loisel forget her true values and the simple pleasures of family happiness.

Works Cited

Barnard, Barbara, and Winn, David, Access literature. An introduction to Fiction,Poetry and Drama. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. Print


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