Personification in The Necklace

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  • 0:02 Personification
  • 0:46 Fate
  • 1:28 Tormenting House
  • 2:18 Shameful Carriages
  • 2:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

Personification. If this word is throwing you for a loop, and you're struggling to find examples of it in the short story 'The Necklace,' look no further. In this lesson, we will explore examples personification in 'The Necklace' by Guy de Maupassant.


Take a look at this sentence: 'The sun kissed our faces as we walked through the park.' What's going on here? Does the sun have lips? How can the sun kiss someone? While this sentence doesn't seem to make any sense, there's a reason why it's written like this. This sentence uses a technique called personification. Put simply, personification is when a writer gives human characteristics to a non-human thing.

Another example would be, 'The stairs moaned in protest with every step I took.' In this example, we are suggesting that the stairs can vocalize and also that they have emotions and care enough to protest the person walking on them.


Lucky for us, the very first sentence of 'The Necklace' contains an example of personification. The sentence reads 'She was one of those pretty and charming girls born, as though fate had blundered over her, into a family of artisans.' Can you spot the example of personification here?

Take a moment and read back through that sentence. Zero in on the part that reads 'fate had blundered over her.' By making it clear that fate is to blame for Mathilde's lame life, the narrator removes all responsibility from Mathilde herself. She isn't poor and unhappy because she chose it; she is poor and unhappy because fate has ruined and blundered her life.

Tormenting House

Another example of personification comes when we learn how Mathilde feels about her house and the way it looks. We know that she wishes everything were nicer and believes she deserves better. The narrator tells us 'All these things, of which other women of her class would not even have been aware, tormented and insulted her.'

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