Guy de Maupassants short story “The Necklace” was first published in the Paris newspaper “Le Gaulois” on February 17, 1884, and he was successfully incorporated into “Tales of Night,” his 1885 collection of short stories. “Like most Maupassant short fiction, it was an instantaneous achievement, and it has become his most widely read and anthologized story” (Smith Christopher). “The Necklace” describes Madame Loisel as beautiful and born into an average family. She is unsatisfied with her impoverished life and decides to borrow a diamond necklace from a former rich friend to fulfill her happiness. Maupassant presents the theme that one should be true to one’s self trough his use of situational irony by which he tells the story of Madame Loisel.
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Maupassant describes Mathilde’s external conflicts in the story “The Necklace.” Though she is “pretty” and “charming”(1), she does not appreciate anything in life. She feels her life should have been blessed with wealth. Although her husband works at a ministry of education as a minor clerk, the money he is bringing to his wife is not enough for the kind of life Mathilde has always dreamed of. For instance, her vision is to “live in a mansion, dinning in famous restaurants, and dance among the riches” (1). She is embarrassed of her poor lifestyle, and decides not to invite any of her former friends who become rich to her home. Therefore, she suffers enormously because her whole life has been based on deficiency of luxury. The love of her husband Charles and the efforts he makes to keep his family healthy is not enough to please Mathilde. However, she happens to be a self-centered person who cares only about her appearance, instead of being thankful for the love of her husband. The author analyzes Mathilde’s internal conflicts in the story. She is unhappy and miserable. She is disappointed in herself because she thinks she deserves more than she has. Mathilde appears to be a round person; although she is attractive and pretty, she also seems depressed because of the lack of money. She is a dynamic person; she is not content with herself because her husband is not well off financially. Otherwise, she would be a cheerful person if her husband was wealthy.
Guy de Maupassant describes the characters’ verbal irony in the story; Monsieur Loisel makes an effort to invite his wife to a ball dance because he thinks she would be pleased to get out of the house. However, Mathilde chooses to reject her husband’s invitation by saying, “Give your invitation to some colleague whose wife has a more suitable gown than I”(2). She concerned more about her look and what others might think of her. Still, she convinces her husband to take money out of their life savings to buy a lovely dress for the occasion. Mathilde’s irony in the story is discontentment because she does not have anything to wear with the dress; she realizes she needs a jewel to look her best, so she will not appear as poor as she is among the women at the ministry. Furthermore, Mathilde goes to her former friend to borrow one of her diamond necklaces, which she loses unexpectedly. In the story “The Necklace,” the situational irony occurs when Mathilda sacrifices her life for years to work twice as hard to repay the loan they take to return the necklace. She loses her beauty; “she looks older, and there are traces of gray in her hair”(4). She ruins her husband and her life by not making a smart choice, and her selfishness causes her family’s pain. Nevertheless, the dramatic irony happens when she comes to learn the diamond necklace she loses is an imitation. The resolution of the story reveals that Mathilde realizes she made a fool of herself for not telling her friend exactly what had happened to the necklace. Therefore, she wastes her husband’s and her time for nothing to replace something that was not even real.
The writer points out the theme of the story as Malthilde cares only about her appearance, and her greed puts her through so much suffering in life. She should appreciate the sacrifice that her husband makes for her to buy the dress. Her attention is to “dance joyfully with everyone, intoxicates with pleasure, and to be on a cloud of happiness”(3). She does not worry too much about her husband’s feeling toward his happiness. However, she comes to discover the diamond necklace she borrows from Madame Forestier is missing, her husband Monsieur Loisel sympathetically helps her look for the necklace. Moreover, he sacrifices everything he can in his life to help his wife replace the necklace. She confidently lies to Madame Loisel about the necklace. Possibly, if she has told the truth, all the pain and misery could have been avoided. Besides all the pain she puts Monsieur Loisel through, Mathilde wishes she married a wealthy man, but she is “a poor girl with no dowry to offer” (2). Money and material things have stopped her to improve the living she desires. As a result, she loses her beauty and works harder to replace a necklace that is fake.
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In simpler terms, Mathilde and her husband’s lives were touch in a bad way. She only cares about her happiness and does not even think how is her decision is going to affect others and her life later. In order for her to attend the occasion with her husband, she makes Monsieur Loisel go out of his way to purchase a new dress for her. After all, she is not gratified with the effort; she comes to a conclusion to borrow a diamond necklace to fulfill her happiness. At the end, she loses her charm. Not only does she have to pay for it, her husband’s life also comes to devastation. In life, she should always be happy with the little she has. Hopefully, Mathilde learns her lesson and recognizes the value of what she has
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