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The Necklace by Guy De Maupassant

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Words: 617 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

Words: 617|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant is a renowned short story that delves into the life of a middle-class French couple in the 19th century. The protagonist, Madame Loisel, yearns for a luxurious lifestyle and feels discontented with her current situation. She daydreams about the opulent surroundings she believes she deserves, unaware of the happiness she already possesses. However, her obsession with material wealth leads her down a path of ruin and teaches her a valuable lesson.

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Madame Loisel, belonging to a family of clerks, marries a Ministry of Education clerk named Monsieur Loisel. Despite her modest lifestyle, she believes she is destined for grandeur. Her husband, a loving and generous man, sacrifices his own desires to fulfill her wishes. He denies himself the pleasure of purchasing a gun to buy her a gown for a high society soirée. Monsieur Loisel's actions highlight his devotion to his wife, but she fails to appreciate his efforts due to her belief that he is incapable of providing a luxurious lifestyle.

The story is narrated in the third person, with an omniscient perspective that allows the reader to delve into the innermost thoughts and emotions of the characters. The conflict revolves around Mathilde's desire to fit into high society, which leads her to borrow a diamond necklace from a friend. After losing the necklace, Mathilde's pride prevents her from confessing the truth. Ashamed of their inability to replace the expensive jewelry, the couple embarks on a desperate journey to repay the debt, ultimately plunging them into poverty.

The setting of "The Necklace" is 19th-century Paris during the Belle Époque, a time of great material wealth and opulence. Maupassant vividly describes both middle-class interiors and the lavish lifestyles of the upper class. Mathilde's daydreams about a luxurious life contrast starkly with her actual surroundings, which she perceives as ugly and poor. The atmosphere of the story undergoes a dynamic shift as the plot unfolds. Initially light and ironic, the atmosphere becomes gloomy as the couple's pride drives them towards destitution. The story concludes with an ironic twist, emphasizing the moral lesson it aims to convey.

The author's tone in the story reflects his ironic attitude towards Madame Loisel. Through his choice of words such as "suffer," "insult," "torment," "despair," and "misery," Maupassant exposes Mathilde's vainness and her inability to appreciate her present life. Additionally, the husband's rhetorical question, "What could be better?" highlights the stark contrast between Mathilde's dreams and her reality. Symbolism plays a crucial role in conveying the story's central theme. The necklace symbolizes the allure of high society that Mathilde desperately seeks. However, it ultimately represents the superficiality and illusion of the upper class. The fake necklace mirrors Mathilde's own deceptive appearance, leading to a disastrous outcome. Maupassant aims to highlight the illusory nature of appearances, a concept deeply ingrained in the 19th-century French bourgeoisie.

From a sociological/Marxist criticism perspective, Madame Loisel's constant yearning for wealth and her inability to accept her position in society ultimately leads her to the lower class. The story emphasizes the importance of material possessions as indicators of social class and status. Mathilde's obsession with the superficial signs of wealth blinds her to the reality of her situation and ultimately reduces her to a servant class member.

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In conclusion, "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant explores the detrimental consequences of an individual's preoccupation with material wealth and the deceptive nature of appearances. Madame Loisel's relentless pursuit of a luxurious lifestyle leads her down a path of ruin, teaching her a valuable lesson about appreciating what she already has. The story serves as a cautionary tale against the allure of material possessions and the dangers of aspiring to a lifestyle that may not bring true happiness.

  1. Maupassant, Guy de. "The Necklace."
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The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant. (2024, February 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-necklace-by-guy-de-maupassant/
“The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant.” GradesFixer, 12 Feb. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-necklace-by-guy-de-maupassant/
The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-necklace-by-guy-de-maupassant/> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Feb 12 [cited 2024 Feb 25]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-necklace-by-guy-de-maupassant/
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