What are the Examples of Personification in The Necklace by Guy Demaupassant?

Updated 28 August, 2023
In "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant, personification is employed to give human qualities to inanimate objects. For instance, the necklace is personified as having "a shabby air in the midst of her finery," highlighting its out-of-place appearance. This literary technique enhances the story's emotional impact by imbuing objects with symbolic significance, such as the necklace's representation of status and Mathilde's daydreams of attention. Additionally, personification underscores themes of appearances versus reality and the fleeting nature of borrowed elegance, adding depth to the narrative and encouraging readers to engage more deeply with the characters' experiences and desires.
Detailed answer:

In Guy de Maupassant's short story "The Necklace," personification is used to imbue inanimate objects with human attributes, enriching the narrative and enhancing the reader's connection with the story.

One notable example of personification is evident in the description of the necklace itself. After Mathilde loses the necklace and replaces it with a costly substitute, the story states: "She felt herself made for that kind of life. She was so unhappy at home when she looked at the sad walls, the abraded chairs, and the ugly curtains." The necklace is personified here, with the ability to evoke emotions in Mathilde and influence her perception of her surroundings. This highlights the symbolic significance of the necklace as a representation of status and social standing.

Another instance of personification can be found in the description of Mathilde's appearance after attending the party. The story states: "She was charming, in truth; one saw that; she was graceful, smiling, and quite above herself with happiness." Here, the personification of Mathilde being "above herself with happiness" reflects her momentary joy and the transformation she undergoes due to her perception of borrowed elegance.

Personification is used to evoke emotions and emphasize the contrast between appearances and reality. When Mathilde receives the invitation to the party, she imagines "the triumphal entry, the attention of the entire room, the admiring glances of men, and the envious glances of women." This personification adds depth to Mathilde's daydreams, highlighting her desire for attention and validation.

In conclusion, personification is effectively utilized in "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant to attribute human qualities to inanimate objects and concepts, thereby enhancing the emotional impact of the story. The necklace's personification reflects its symbolic value, and Mathilde's transformation and daydreams are enriched by this literary device. Through personification, Maupassant crafts a narrative that resonates with readers, emphasizing the themes of appearances versus reality and the pursuit of status.


  1. 1. Maupassant, G. (2003). The Necklace. In R. V. Cassill & J. B. Case (Eds.), The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction (7th ed., pp. 101-107). W.W. Norton & Company.
    2. Robb, G. (1990). The Other Guy de Maupassant: A Critical Reading of "The Necklace." Dalhousie French Studies, 21, 23-32. Retrieved from
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