The Necklace is a Short Story by Guy de Maupassant. The setting of the short story is in Paris, France Loisels apartment, party at the Ministry of Educations Mansion and the year is 1884.
The story is about Madame Mathilde and her husband. Mathilde is always imagining herself in lofty social positions where she possesses expensive jewelry. However, she is poor and ends up marrying a clerk who is paid very lowly. Her husband tries everything he can to make her happy. There is a party being held of the Ministry of Public Instruction and after much begging, he is able to get two invitations to the party. But Mathilde decides she is not going to go citing she has nothing to wear. Her husband really wants her to be present and since she wants to make her happy, he takes some money he has been saving to buy a rifle and gives it to her wife, telling to her buy any dress that will please her. Despite this, Mathilde is still unhappy that she has no jewelry to accompany the dress. As the husband has no money, he proposes to her that she should borrow from Madame Jeanne Forestier who is her friend. When Mathilde goes to Madame Jeanne, she selects the most expensive necklace. Something sinister happens, she loses the necklace and she only discovers this after the party.
She tells her husband and they search everywhere to it but to no avail. They now have to replace the necklace and therefore they get loans from friends and get a replica for the necklace. They had borrowed a total of thirty six thousand francs (36, 000) and it takes them a period of ten years to be able to repay that entire amount. One day, after she has lost everything, worked tirelessly through hard labor and made her husband work through two jobs, Mathilde spots Madame Forestier walking down the street. She tells her the whole story and that they necklace they gave her was a replica. Forestier is very surprised but what she says to Mathilde is more surprising; that the necklace she had originally borrowed from her and lost was fake and it had only cost her five hundred francs (500)
There are several conflicts in this short story.
The first conflict: Mathilde says she must have a new dress if she is to attend the party. On the other hand, Loisel wants to have a gun and he has been saving to have it. However, they only have four hundred francs (400). In addition to this, Mathilde does not have any jewelry to wear.
Rising action: Loisel ended up giving Mathilde all the money he had been saving so that she could have the dress she wanted. The savings were for a gun he wanted and now he has to forego it. Because Mathilde does not have jewelry, Loisel advices her to borrow from Madame Frostier.
The second conflict: This arises when Mathilde loses the necklace she had borrowed while at the party. They search thoroughly for it but unfortunately, they cannot get it. There are two choices here for Mathilde. She eithers goes to Madame Forestier and tells her she has lost it or to hide the truth from her and replace it with a perfect replica. She opts for the latter, thinking that the former will make her lose her pride, honor and trust.
Rising action: Since she does not want a stain to be put on her pride, she hides the truth from Mathilde and they take a loan of 36, 000 francs to replace the necklace with a brand new one. The loan they took was big and since they were poor, it takes them ten years of hard labor to be able to fully repay it. Prior to this incident, they were in the middle class of the social class but after that, they become poorer and are now in the poor class.
This occurs when Mathilde meets her friends Madame Frostier and after telling her the truth, she finds out some very shocking truth. "Oh, my poor Mathilde! But mine was imitation. It was worth at the very most five hundred francs! . . . The necklace that Mathilde had borrowed was actually fake and its original price was just 500 francs.
The story teaches that people should always be contented with what they have and that honesty is actually the best policy. Greed and excessive desire for material things is also admonished as one may end up paying terribly for it. Loisel is contented with his life and leads a simple life with the income he gets. His wife is something else. She is completely obsessed with the luxuries of the world. She sees herself wealthy and famous. One pays heavily for coveting false values and Mathilde learns this the hard way, she causes her family to go through suffering for years. Had she been contented with the dress and accepted the fact that she was the wife to a simple clerk, there would have been no need to borrow the necklace. An individuals obsession with physical appearance and material wealth is vanity. The story also emphasizes the importance of a person living with his or her means. It is dangerous to borrow money or stuff that we do not necessarily need. Living a life of pretense is highly discouraged as well. As can be seen from the story, Mathilde asks for a diamond necklace and ends up losing it. She pushes herself and her husband into mirth of poverty. The story also teaches us to be practical in everything we do and that we should solve problems tactfully. Loisel lives according to his means and is happy with what he has. He is realistic and this enables him to solve many of the problems he encounters. However, his wife is the complete opposite. She refuses to accept her situation and lives in a utopian world. She dreams about things she does not possess. As the story progresses, Mathilde learns to become practical but she has already paid dearly for it.
Mathilde Loisels actions in Guy de Maupassants story The Necklace show her changing personality; she goes from being a proud woman who wants to live above her social class to being a self-sacrificing peasant.
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