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According to Socrates, “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented
with what he would like to have.”(www.goodreads.com ) Guy de Maupassant was a famous
French writer in the 19th century. He was popular for his short stories which included many
different aspects of the French lifer style. In Guy de Maupassant’s short story, “The Necklace”
he tells of a woman named Mathilde Loisel, who is a beautiful lady who is unhappy with
her middle-class life and is always striving for something more exquisite.
She believes that she is
meant for a luxurious life style that showers her with jewels and riches. Her husband endeavors
to please his wife and to grace her with the thing she wishes, even if it means breaking himself to
do so. For one night she receives the opportunity to escape the reality of her herself only to be
encountered with great misfortune. Throughout the story, Mathilde suffers morally, emotionally,
as well as physically due to her wishes of becoming more than who she was.
Section 2: Discuss how Mathilde suffers morally
The moral of the short story is to be happy with what life has given you and to not be
covetous. Within the first two paragraphs of “The Necklace”, Maupassant explains how Mathilde
was “mistakenly” born into a family of clerks. “…and she let herself be married to a little clerk
at the Ministry of Public Instruction.” (Maupassant ) She is not grateful for the man she has
married because he is middle-class and not rich enough to grace her with the essential that she
feels she needs to be a beautiful maiden.
She even states in the sixth paragraph of the story that
jewels and fancy dresses are all she’s ever loved. She is only married to her former husband
because it was what she had to do. This is how she suffers morally. She is so stuck in her own
little fantasy of what she desires and the feeling that she deserves more than what she receives
that is ruins her life in the future. The night when her husband returned home with a letter for her
changed her life completely. The invitation to the palace was the beginning to the end.
Due to her morals, she made her husband use his money that he was saving for a gun to buy her a
new gown. This was not enough for Madame. Loisel; she needed more. Her yearning for
delicacies lead her to her good friend Madam Forestier where she receives a beautiful diamond
necklace. The necklace complimented Mathilde’s gown and caused her to be “…prettier than
them all, elegant, gracious, smiling, and crazy with joy.” (Maupassant ) According to the
passage. She even received looks and attention from other men just as she wished. After the
occasion Mathilde’s world flips upside down. She loses the necklace and feels the need to
replace the piece so then she doesn’t know that it was missing. Both M. and Madame Loisel lost
all their money, even money that they did possess.
They were in debt for 10 years until they could pay off the necklace that they had bought
to replace the one that Mrs. Loisel had misplaced. When she was reacquainted with
Madam Forestier, she blamed her for her own doing only to find out that the necklace was a fake.
Guy de Maupassant’s character experienced many downfalls in order to learn a true moral
lesson that you should always be grateful for what you have, even if it is not the greatest.
Mathilde Loisel suffered a great amount due to her greedy actions, but she also suffered in
multiple other ways.
Section 3: Discuss how Mathilde suffers emotionally
Mathilde Loisel experience many emotions throughout her journey of discovering the
true lesson of her actions. The beginning of the passage Madame. Loisel is unhappy with how
her life has come to in behalf of letting herself be married to a clerk when she knew that she
deserved more that simple. This emotion is prominent in the first four paragraphs. A similar
emotion that she contains in these paragraphs as well as a few other is disgust. She’s disgusted
with the fact that she is not wearing fancy clothes or the best jewels. Mathilde also describes the
tablecloth on her dinner table. The dialect she uses to describe it gives the reader the idea that she
is very unhappy with its form. For example, “When she sat down to dinner, before the round
table covered with a tablecloth three days old, opposite her husband…” (Maupassant). Once
the conflict begins to arise, Mathilde shows great horror and anxiety because she loses what she
thinks is a very expensive and important necklace that her friend let her borrow. This is a very
extrusive emotion within the short story as if Guy de Maupassant wanted his readers to feel this
along with his characters.
As written in the story “’I have—I have—I’ve lost Mme. Forestier’s
necklace.’ (Maupassant) The horror in this moment was deafening to Madame Loisel. M.
Loisel went searching all the cabs on foot for the necklace while his wife waited in anticipation,
but inconveniently he found nothing. This resulted in the two of them going bankrupt and living
miserable poor lives for 10 years until they paid back the money, they used to purchase a new
necklace. Finally, the biggest emotion that is felt at the end of the passage is anger. In the last
paragraph of “The Necklace”, Mathilde Loisel runs into her old friend, Madame Forestier, in the
park. When she sees her, she approaches her and discusses the situation that happened with the
necklace. Mathilde blames Madame Forestier for all her misfortune and terrible debt when it was
her own fault that she was an extremely rapacious and desiring woman for the things that she did
not have. Madame Loisel only ever experiences the emotion of happiness for a short period of time
when she is at the palace dressed in a beautiful gown as well as the necklace that ruined her life.
The actions that she took lead her on a roller coaster of emotions as well as ruined her physical
Section 4: How did Mathilde suffer physically
Mathilde Loisel was a very beautiful and confident woman in the beginning of Guy de
Maupassant’s “The Necklace”, but that all changes after her greedy actions leads her to the
prized possession. Mrs. Loisel was physically very stunning and even charming according to the
story. She only dressed plainly because she could not afford the magnificent luxuries that other
maidens had. “She dressed plainly because she could not dress well, but she was as unhappy as
though she had really fallen from her proper station” (Maupassant). Once she received the
necklace she glowed with pride. She got what she has always wanted; to be elegant and dressed
in the finest clothes and to be noticed by those around her especially men. As soon as the she
realized the necklace was gone that night her physicality changed for the worst. In order to pay
off the replacement necklace Madame Loisel had to begin doing physical work to make money.
The hard work aged poor Mathilde making her rough and ragged as poverty took over her life,
turning it into a dark gloomy world with little to hold onto. She began to look old. The words
that Guy de Maupassant used to describe how Mathilde looked after her hardship creates great
imagery for the reader. “…strong hard and rough. With frowsy hair, skirts askew, and red
hands…” (Maupassant). Madame Loisel was aged so much by her stress and hard work that her
friend, Madame Forestier could not recognize her until she told her who she was. Her actions of
wanting more than she could afford caused her life to be ruined and for her Physical appearance
to alter drastically.
Section 5: Conclusion
Guy de Maupassant’s main female role in his short story “The Necklace” exceedingly
changes morally, emotionally, as well as physically in result of her greedy actions of wanting
more than she already acquired in her life. Mathilde learns her lesson in the end and realizes that
her life wasn’t as bad as she had originally thought compared to her current state of poverty. Her
longing for Beautiful jewels is ironically the cause of her downfall in the end. The moral lesson
for Maupassant’s short story is to always be appreciate what one has before it is gone.
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