The Necklace: Regrets About Life And Morals

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In Introduction to Literature, one of the first stories we read was, The Necklace. Guy de Maupassant wrote this story in 1884. In fact, it is a short story and it is read in classrooms all throughout the world. There can be a lot to learn from this short story. Mathilde Loisel lives a life that she doesn’t appreciate. She wants to be rich and have a fancy house, fine jewelry, nice ballgowns, etc. She does not have any of this though. Mathilde wants a different life. It’s all she dreams about.

Mathilde has a husband who is a clerk. He treats her very good and does whatever he can to make her happy even though Mathilde always dreams of a different life. Her husband whose name is, Monsieur Loisel, gets her an invitation to the palace of Ministry. He knew thought she would be glad to get to go to something that only the finest people get to go to. But she was indeed upset because she didn’t have anything to wear or any jewelry. Her husband said he would buy her a dress with the money he was saving to buy himself a gun. She got the dress she wanted but when it was getting close to the ball, she felt upset and almost didn’t want to go because she didn’t have any jewelry. Monsieur told her to go visit her rich friend, Madame Forestier. Mathilde goes and visits her old friend whom she doesn’t talk to anymore because every time she would leave her nice her and go back to her poor home, she would be sad. Madame Forestier lends her a necklace that Mathilde asks to borrow.

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At the ball, Mathilde was having a great night. She felt right where she belonged, with nice jewelry, a good dress and guys talking and dancing with her. Her husband slept in a room while she was having a great time dancing. They leave a 4 four o’clock and finally get home despite Monsieur having to work at 10 in the morning. Whenever they get home and Mathilde takes her coat off, she realizes that the necklace that she borrowed from Madame is gone. They searched everywhere, Monsieur even decides to go and retrace their footsteps. He gets home around 7 and explained that he didn’t find it. They are very upset about this.

They go and look for another necklace and find one, but it is very expensive. Monsieur has to work a lot extra and make deals with other people who loaned him money and he would pay them back. He was making a lot of promises that they didn’t know if he could keep. They had to fire their maid, so Mathilde had to do all the housework. The story said that she had looked like she had aged. After 10 years they finally paid everything off for that one necklace. Mathilde talks to Madame and tells her all about it and how she’s happy that after ten years, her and her husband have paid everything off. Madame then explains that the necklace was fake and barely worth anything.

So many people wish for a life that they can’t have. Mathilde may have not been rich, but she was wealthy because she initially lived a life better than a lot of people. She had a great husband who cared deeply for her and would do anything to make her happy. If she realized the life, she had was good then she probably wouldn’t have went through all of this just to look rich for one night.

I chose this story just because I think it is so important to realize the life you do have. I complain about things but when I look around and realize the life I have; I truly am blessed. This story reminds me of when I look at celebrities an wish to live the life that they do or growing up, most little girls wish they lived like Cinderella. To live in a palace, be rich, and have prince charming. This is how Mathilde is. She wants to be able to have anything she wants and to be rich. Not everyone gets to live like this though. I’m not rich but since my husband works hard we get to have things we want. Even if I couldn’t afford to buy the things I wanted, I would still be grateful because I have a loving husband, a house, and food. Which is more than a lot of people have. Everything that Mathilde and her husband went through is all her fault. Just because she couldn’t stop dreaming of living a rich life and trying to look like it for one night and especially finding out that everything, she went through was over a fake necklace. Her friend was rich and had fake jewelry, so I think that’s also another lesson in this story, that things aren’t always what they seem to be. Even if someone is rich, that doesn’t mean they don’t own cheap and fake things.

The setting of this story takes place in 19th century in France. The author uses literary devices in this short story. There is foreshadowing because whenever Mathilde went to the jeweler, because his name was on the necklace box, he said, “I didn’t sell that necklace madame.” That is indicating that Madame Forestier didn’t buy a real necklace. There is hyperbole at the end of the story, Mathilde is explaining to Madame Forestier about what she went through to get the necklace. She says, “You can imagine that wasn’t easy for us who had nothing.” That is an exaggeration because they had plenty of things and were able to buy a new necklace. The Irony of this story is that at the ball, everyone thought Mathilde was rich because of the way she was dressed but really, she had to go through a lot to dress like that and also ended up was wearing a fake necklace. There is imagery because she imagines living a life of being rich.

I have been going back and forth trying to decide if I think this story is mimetic or didactic. I would say it has to do with both. It is didactic because it does teach lessons in this story, but it is also mimetic because it expresses beauty and how Mathilde wishes to look and be like. I would say it is more didactic though since it has lessons to teach.

I found a summary and analysis from a woman named, Esther Lombardi. Her summary explains everything I did. But of our summaries where very similar so I take it as most people got the same idea whenever they read this story. She explains how Mathilde is very upset with the life she lives and whenever Monsieur gives Mathilde the Invitation, he expects her to be very happy but instead she cries because she doesn’t have anything to wear so Monsieur offers to pay the dress for her with he money he was saving up with and even though he was really looking forward to buying the gun and spending time with his friends, he buys her the dress with that money anyways because he wants to make her happy.

In her summary, Esther explains, “Mathilde is the belle of the ball.” This is a good way to put it. Mathilde seemed to live the perfect life that night and seemed to be rich. She explains that despite Mathilde having a great night, it ends up ruined and, in a panic, since she lost the necklace. So, she’s saying that one night of having fun and seeming rich was clearly not worth it because it took them ten years to pay for it. They live in poverty for the next ten years. This is what I was explain was that Mathilde thought she lived a hard life but after this she really knew what it was like to live a hard life. This summary helped me think of that in a better way. She also explains that Madame Forestier didn’t even recognize Mathilde because she looked old from all the hard work, she’s had to do over that last ten years and it was all for a fake piece of jewelry.

Our summaries were very close. I think Esther Lombardi does a great job explaining this story. She included a few things I didn’t but other then that we thought the same about it. In conclusion, she is very accurate with what the story is trying to teach. This Author goes on to talk about the theme. She said. “The short story’s theme involves the pitfalls of pride. Mathilde’s pride in her beauty prompts her to buy an expensive dress and borrow seemingly expensive jewelry, which triggers her downfall.” I didn’t think about it in this way. How the theme of the story is about her pride. Which I think is accurate and a very good way to look at it. She also stated, “She fed her pride for one night but paid for it over the next 10 years of hardship, which destroyed her beauty.” She indeed did feed her pride just for that one night which in return cost her, her beauty. That’s a very good way to look at it. So, I think this author had a very good analysis and summary of this short story.

The story is called, “The Necklace” because ten years of their life revolved around this necklace. Just to wear a necklace for one-night, which Mathilde ends up losing so not only her, but her husband as well had to work very hard for ten whole years. When I think about it, I would have liked to see the husband’s point of view in this story. I know he likes to do whatever makes his wife happy but it didn’t explain what he went through and how he thought that he had to work all day, everyday for ten years, over a necklace that his wife lost.

In this day in age I feel like not many people would go through something like this for a piece of jewelry. If I borrowed a necklace from my friend who is rich and lost it I would just be straight up with them that I lost it and ask what I can do to replace it. I feel as if Mathilde was honest with Madame Forestier in the first place, I don’t think Madame Forestier would make Mathilde do anything as close to working hard for ten years to replace it, even if it was a real necklace.

In conclusion, Mathilde should have realized that she had a great life and didn’t always wish for a rich life or more because she ended up seeing how great of a life she did have when she had to work hard for ten years. She also should have told Madame Forestier what really happened and just been honest about the whole thing. Lastly, she should have been thankful to have just a hardworking husband who wanted nothing but the best for his wife. He went through a lot to make her happy, so I hope in the end she was thankful for him and appreciated all he did for her. 


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