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The Necklace

The Necklace “The Necklace” The theme of Guy de Maupassant story “The Necklace” seems to be suggested by the line, “What would have happened if Mathilde had not lost the necklace?”. Mathilde Loisel grew up in poverty and had no expectations in life. When she got married, her and her husband would sit around the dinner table and imagine they were eating a luxurious meal. They would imagine using shiny silverware and eating their meal on marvelous plates. Together, they had nothing. Mathilde had no clothes, no jewels, and only one friend.

One day her husband came home from work and handed her an invitation they had received to attend a ball. Her husband thought that she would be enthusiastic about it, however she busted out in tears. She wanted to attend, yet she had no dress to wear. After digging in to money they had been trying to saved, Mathilde purchased a dress for the ball. As the ball drew near, Mathilde decided she still needed something more to finish off the dress they had just spent so much money on.

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The next day, Mathilde visited her only friend to see if she could barrow some of her jewelry for the evening of the ball. After about an hour of deliberating with her friend about what to jewelry to wear, Mathilde found it. Under all the other pieces of jewelry lied a diamond necklace. Mathilde was ecstatic. Never before had she seen such a beautiful piece of jewelry. She decided this was what she was going to wear.

The entire way home she dazzled the necklace. She knew that she would stand out in the crowd at the ball. The night of the ball came and Mithilde looked great. Her and her husband showed up at the ball and everyone was amazed at how good Mithilde appeared. Mithilde was not used to all the attention she received that evening, after all she just a poor young lady. The evening ended and everyone went home. Mithilde decided that one last time she would look at herself in the mirror before getting out of the clothes.

When she did, she noticed the necklace in which she admired so much was gone. Weeks went by and no trace of the necklace showed up. Mithilde and her husband had to borrow thirty-six thousand francs from people they knew to buy another just like it. Mithilde put the new necklace in a box and gave it to her friend. Her friend never looked in the box, so she did not know the necklace was not the same she let Mithilde borrow. Mithilde and her husband were deeply in debt.

For ten years they worked day in and day out until finally the debt was paid off. Mithilde looked as if she was a very old lady, however she was not. One day Mithilde was walking in a park and stumbled across a lady walking with a child. When she took a second glance at the lady, she noticed it was her friend, in which so long ago let her borrow the diamond necklace. When she approached the long time friend, the lady did not even recognize who it was. After moments of conversing, Mithilde decided to tell her friend of the incident that happened so long ago concerning the necklace.

Her friend was appalled to hear of it and told Mithilde that the necklace that she let her borrow was only paste. It was only worth at most five hundred francs. No one really knows what would have happened if Mithilde would have been honest with her friend to begin with and told her about the problem. All the ten years that Mithilde and her husband spent working to pay back for the necklace, they could have been using that money to better themselves. The point the author was trying to get to the reader was that you should be honest.

If you are not, then you may have a harder problem on your hands in the end. In Mithildes case, she did not want to tell her friend of losing the necklace in fear that her friend would betray her. Her consequence for not telling her friend was working everyday for ten years. Honesty in the present will get you further in the future. English Essays.

The Necklace

Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace”
Mathilde’s Inability to Accept Destiny
Many people born into the middle to lower class of society come to accept their lot in life and make the best of it, Mathilde, the main character in Guy de Maupassant’s short story, “The Necklace”, is not one of these people. Mathilde felt that she was attractive and that fate must have made a mistake in birthing her into a family that could not provide a suitable dowry for a proper marriage. This situation left her with no choice but to marry Mr. Loisel, a minor clerk. Although many would think that Mathilde would have come to accept her lot in life, she never did; as time passed she dreamed more about the things she lacked, became more discontent with the things that she did have, and she even became manipulative and inconsiderate towards her husband.

As a child Mathilde lived a simple life with her family of clerks and copyists, and as a wife she lived a simple life with her husband, thus Mathilde’s excuse for her insatiable craving for expensive and luxurious things was destiny. “She was one of those pretty and charming women, born, as if by error of destiny, into a family of clerks and copyists” (paragraph 1). Mathilde dreamed about “large, silent anterooms, decorated with oriental tapestries and lighted by high bronze floor lamps, elegant valets in short culottes dozing in armchairs under forced-air heaters. She dreamed about large drawing rooms draped in expensive silks, with fine end tables on which where placed knickknacks of inestimable value, and she dreamed of dainty private rooms designed for tete-a-tetes” (paragraph 3). A glamorous house was not all that Mathilde dreamed about, “she dreamed of expensive banquets with shining place settings, and wall hangings portraying ancient heroes and exotic birds in an enchanted forest. She imagined a gourmet prepared main course carried on the most beautiful dishes, and whispered gallantries which she would hear with a smile as she dined on the pink meat of a trout or the wing of a quail” (paragraph 4).

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When Mathilde was not busy daydreaming about the things that were lacking in her life, she was busy complaining about the things that she did possess. Mathilde never once considered that she was fortunate because she owned furniture, she considered herself unfortunate because the furnishings that she did own were cheap. According to Mathilde “She suffered constantly, feeling herself destined for all delicacies and luxuries. She suffered because of her grim apartment with its drab walls, threadbare furniture, and ugly curtains” (paragraph 3). At the dinner table Mathilde complains because dinner is a simple dish and not some fancy elaborate meal of trout or quail, instead it’s boiled beef, a simple dish that her husband loves as you can tell by his statement when he opened the kettle “Ah good old boiled beef! I don’t know anything better” (paragraph 4). Even though Mathilde thinks that she’s a pretty person, she doesn’t feel pretty because according to her “She had no decent dresses, no jewel, nothing. And she loved nothing but these, she believed herself born only for these. She burned with the desire to be please, to be envied, and to be attractive and sought after” (paragraph 5). Mathilde is a very shallow person that judges a person’s importance and self-worth by their outward appearance.

As the years dragged on Mathilde’s discontent with her lot in life lead her to become manipulative and inconsiderate, and of course the person who took the full brunt of this was her husband, Mr. Loisel. Mathilde’s manipulative behavior is portrayed when she used her wiles on Loisel by making him think that her theater dress wasn’t appropriate for the dinner, thus tricking him into giving her the money that he had saved for his shotgun to buy a new dress. She knew exactly how much to ask for, as we can tell when she said “I don’t know exactly, but it seems to me that I could get buy on four hundred francs” (paragraph 25). Mathilde behaves quite inconsiderately against Mr. Loisel, especially as the story climaxes and comes close to an end. The first example of her inconsiderate behavior occurs after she realizes that she has lost the necklace and sends poor tired Mr. Loisel out to find it, as she stays home stretched out in a chair. As her husband searched the town, seek police assistance, and followed up every possible lead, all Mathilde did was stay home and do nothing, when she was the one that lost the necklace. The other example of Mathilde’s inconsiderate behavior towards her husband occurs at the end of the story. Instead of going to her friend, Mrs. Forrestier, and telling her the truth about what really happened to the necklace, Mathilde made her husband borrow money from any available source to buy another necklace back, just so that Mathilde could save face with her friend. Mr. Loisel life was ruined because Mathilde lost the necklace “He borrowed, asking a thousand francs from one, five from another, five louis here, three louis there. He wrote promissory notes, undertook ruinous obligations, did business with finance companies and the whole tribe of loan sharks. He compromised himself for the reminder of his days, risked his signature without knowing if he’d be able to honor it” (paragraph 94). Thanks to Mathilde and her desire to save face and not seem irresponsible to her friend, Mrs. Forrestier she and Mr. Loisel were forced into a true life of poverty.

After going through such hardship and trial, such as heavy house work, dirty kitchen jobs, hand-washing the laundry, taking the garbage out, carrying water up the stairs, haggling and defending each penny (paragraph 99) Mathilde still did not learn her lesson. She did not learn to be satisfied with what she had and be grateful; proof of this is evident when she says that “sometimes when her husband is at work. She sits down near the window, and dream of that evening so long ago, of that party, where she had been so beautiful and admired” (paragraph 103).One has to wonder what it would take for Mathilde to realize that maybe her destiny was not to be rich, envied and sought after as she so often dreamed, maybe her destiny has been fulfilled, and she’d exactly where she’s supposed to be in life.

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