Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace”

The Necklace is the story set in Paris in the nineteenth century. The main character Mathilde Loisel was born into a middle-class family. Her husband Monsieur Loisel is a clerk in the Ministry of Education and can only manage to provide her with a modest lifestyle. One night Monsieur returns home excited that they have been invited to a formal party hosted by the Ministry of Education (Guy 32). He hopes to impress her with the news, but contrary to his expectations, Mathilde gets angry because she has nothing to wear. He decides to give her the money he has been saving so she can buy a fancy dress. He also advices her to borrow jewelry from her rich friend Madame Forestier. They attend the party and Mathilde enjoys it. Unfortunately, after the party, Mathilde realizes that she lost the necklace she had borrowed.

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Mathilde is pretty and charming, but dissatisfied because she cannot have the affluent lifestyle she desires. She spends many hours fantasizing of luxuries and is even jealous of her wealthy friend Madame Forestier (Guy 31). She would like to be admired by people and subsequently she put so much effort in her attire for the party. Monsieur Loisel loves his wife and tries his best to make her happy. He is content with the small pleasures of life. Additionally, he is selfless, as he sacrifices so much for the happiness of his wife. Madame Forestier is portrayed as a kind woman to her friend Mathilde.

In the story, Mathilde is forced to change the attitude towards her life. Losing the necklace coerces her and her husband to find a way to replace it. The couple discovers that a similar necklace costs 40.000 francs, but they will be able to get it for 36.000 francs after selling everything they own and securing loans with high interest rates. They are forced to work very hard to survive and pay for the necklace. Monsieur has to work three jobs and Mathilde on the other hand does the heavy house chores. They dismiss their servant whom Mathilde thought was not good enough earlier. Their lifestyle becomes worse and the couple even moves to a smaller residence (Guy 37). Her one night of fun and radiance costs them their happiness in the future due to her selfish desires and obsession with glamour.

Initially, Mathilde feels that there was a mistake of destiny and consequently she could not get the elegant life she desired. It is the reason for her being discontent. However, according to the story, she is happy at the very night of the party (Guy 34). Her new dress and borrowed necklace give her the sense of belonging to the social class of the wealthy that she has always wished for. She feels a deep satisfaction during the moment and even recalls it after many years. Unfortunately, her joy is short-lived and she and her husband then spend ten years paying for the pleasure of that night.

Therefore, the actions of Mathilde reveal that she is materialistic. She wants expensive material possessions to live the glamorous life she desires. She is bored of middle-class life. Further, Mathilde is greedy. She is dissatisfied by her husband’s efforts to cheer her up by getting an invitation to a formal party due to her having no dress to wear. Her husband is disinterested and sacrifices the money he has been saving to buy a gun so she can buy a smart dress. Due to Mathilde’s ungratefulness, it is still not enough, as she still wants jewelry to match the clothing. She refuses to buy flowers, which were quite cheap, and borrows a necklace from her wealthy friend (Guy 33). The necklace turns out to be a seal of their destiny, since they pay for it for ten years of their lives only to realize that the original necklace was an imitation worth only 500 francs.

 

Work Cited

De Maupassant, Guy. The Necklace and Other Short Stories. Chelmsford, MA: Courier Corporation, 2012.