Analysis of Guy de Maupassant’s ‘The Necklace

Guy de Maupassant’s novella “The Necklace” sheds light on the indispensable role of people’s general attitude to life in the daily routines. Apparently, the contextual evidence may confirm that sometimes people are reluctant to regard their lives as meaningful, being absorbed in the thoughts opposed to the general status. The author’s paramount message consists in providing the reader with the peculiar ways of self-expression that can be mainly observed taking into account the heroine of the story.

Not surprisingly, like many of Maupassant’s novellas, “The Necklace” is marked with the presence of a tone that ridicules people’s desires to live better lives. Apparently, the main character of Mathilde can be analyzed from the perspective of her actions as the novella is very dynamic and it does not possess psychological features that would lead the reader to understanding the essence of the story. The main heroine of the novel, Madame Mathilde Loisel, was born in a bureaucratic family. She had no chance to marry a wealthy man of the upper class, so she accepted the offer of a minor official working in the Ministry of Public Education. She constantly suffers and dreams of a better life, filled with exquisite furnishings, footmen and five-hour tea, etc. As the author himself puts it, “She suffered intensely, feeling herself born for every delicacy and every luxury. She suffered from the poverty of her dwelling, from the worn walls, the abraded chairs, the ugliness of the stuffs” (Maupassant).


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Mathilde’s behavior is directed towards obtaining the things she would need for creating an image of a respectable upper-class woman. When Mathilde is given a chance to visit a ball she decides that she would need a dress and a necklace. The latter seems to be the main symbol of the novella, as it is mentioned in the title. Borrowing the necklace, the woman has lost it and is supposed to give it back to Madame Forestier. However, at the end of the novella the reader finds out that Forestier’s necklace is not actually a jewel, as it costs five hundred francs.

The author does not shed light on the moments that change Mathilde. However, he brings the reader’s attention to two different images of the character. At the beginning, one becomes a witness of the “native keenness, instinctive elegance, and flexibility of mind”, while at the end Mathilde is presented as an “aged, robust women” because of working too much to eke out a living.

The central symbol of a necklace can be interpreted as something that could be easily attained in the beginning but difficult to put up with in the end. The first idea that comes to mind reading this particular story is the changeable nature of life, which means that Maupassant reveals the true nature of everyone’s life by indirectly stating that any moment may become a decisive factor. The irony of the novella can be seen in the author’s negative attitude to women’s laying claims to belonging to the high society. Undoubtedly, the symbol of a necklace in this case may be interpreted as a tool that serves as a trigger to understand that social stability can be easily broken. The reader may even compare Mathilde’s character with the necklace. The hackneyed truth is that the world of aristocracy is usually an imitation.

All things considered, Maupassant’s novella is a masterful representation of the peculiarities of the life of a woman who suffers endlessly because of her position in the society. Although Mathilde comes from a bureaucratic family, her life proves to be a far cry from the upper class society because of the vital moment of losing the necklace which changes her life forever and represents the heroine in different light. Presumably, the author’s main message consists in convincing the reader of one simple fact: one should accept what life gives them no matter to what caste they actually belong.

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