A discussion of Guy de Maupassant's 'The Necklace'

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.

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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.

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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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A discussion of Guy de Maupassant's 'The Necklace'. (2022, Apr 07). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-discussion-of-guy-de-maupassant-s-the-necklace-essay

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