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Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace" depicts the life of a stunning and charming girl from a modest family who undergoes a change of attitude toward life. Despite possessing a valiant and faithful husband and a luxurious home of their status, Mathilde remained unappreciative of her marriage. She tortured herself by fantasizing about lavish houses that she and her husband couldn't afford. The longing for riches and a different life bred resentment in her heart; Mathilde envied Madame Forestier, a former schoolmate who led a more expensive life than her; she could no longer visit her (Maupassant 3). Her own selfish longings rendered her to live a life full of hardship and struggle with her spouse Monsieur Loisel. Guy de Maupassant portrayed Mathilde as a woman who is beautiful and adoring but is also ungrateful, greedy and jealous, and who would do anything possible in her powers to change her miserable life.
Maupassant in his story “The Necklace,” overly painted out the looks of Mathilde Loisel as the most gorgeous and charismatic creature on the planet earth that any man could not have hesitated to express his personate feelings for her. “She was one of those pretty and charming girls born, as if by an error of fate, into a family of clerks” (Maupassant 1). She was born in skimpy family of clerks, which unconditionally put the beautiful woman in a controversial and devastating position to determine or choose her destiny. Her beauty is diminished and cannot be noticed by any rich or a man of high distinction because of the plain dresses she wore and her level of education. With all the frustrations that she could not be recognized anymore, she ended up marrying a low-rank person who works as a clerk in the ministry of public instruction named Monsieur Loisel. She did not understand their status of life but instead she was possessed with materialistic desire, she went beyond their living standards and allowed greed to take control of her. She yearned for much in life; a luxurious house with her own spacious and decorated room, beautiful dresses and expensive boxes full of jewelries but only to find that they could afford them and that marked the beginning of her entire suffering.
Maupassant portrays Mathilde as a jealous woman who envied her friend Madame Forestier, her former schoolmate just because they ended up in different clusters of life. From the story, Madame lived a luxuries life, she was rich and lived in an expensive apartment, she attended parties with extravagant clothes and she possessed boxes full of jewelries engraved with different ornaments such as diamond and gold (Maupassant 7). Life was opposite to Mathilde, although she desired to have everything, her class and state of poverty could not have allowed her, she found herself dreaming of such possession but always awakened to her normal lifestyle. This tortured her gravely, leading to her constant suffering which made her hate the wretched life. The desire to have all the riches made her mad; she became jealous of her only friend that she could no longer visit her because she felt embarrassed when they planned to go to a party, she could not even afford a dress whereby her friend wore expensive clothes. She admired to live a different life even for a night.
Mathilde lived a tormented and unfair life because she did not want to adhere to the fact that they belonged to a middle class and that she had to get contented with her lifestyle. She kept fighting for what she did not have hence, allowed dreams of high status and riches to take control of her. Mathilde proved that she had not adjusted to the status of her class when she was having dinner with her husband in their own house; she got bored over eating boiled meat and started fantasizing of elegant four meals (Maupassant 4). In spite of Monsieur devoting himself to her, that he could do anything beyond his narrow capacity to make her happy, Mathilde was never satisfied. One evening, Monsieur returned home with good news that from his hard he had been able to secure them a chance to attend one of the largest parties in town. He thought the news would please his wife but when Mathilde upon receiving the news, she started crying. Mathilde appeared upset from the effort of her husband and she busted into tears without even acknowledging her husband`s effort. This unpleasant behavior to her husband showed how ungrateful she was. Monsieur tried to persuade her, “But my dear, I thought you would get pleased. You never go out, and it will be such a lovely occasion I had awful trouble getting it. Everyone wants to go; it is very exclusive, and they`re not giving many invitations to clerks. The whole ministry will be there” (Maupassant 5). The husband was stunned and tried to find out what the problem was, but Mathilde, without controlling her words and considering the status of her husband, claimed she wanted a new dress for the ceremony and that without it she would not attend. She goes fiercely daring and her husband could no longer convince her. The reaction showed how self-centered Mathilde was; she did not care about the perseverance the husband had to go through at the ministry to get that invitation or how he would strive to get the dress, she only wanted the best to herself.
Mathilde took advantage of her husband`s affectionate and her mischievous deceptions to accomplish her greed cravings goals. She admired to identify herself among the rich people forgetting that she was not in their league; she wanted to dress like them, eat and drink on same table. She, therefore, could not hesitated to use all her means to get there. After receiving the good news from the husband that they have been invited to a ceremony, she got excited from inside but because her ego, she had to ask for an expensive dress. “And what do you expect me to wear if I go” (Maupassant 3). She was controlled by greed thoughts and feelings claiming that she did not want to look deprived among the rich people at the event. Deep in her mind, she knew well that the garment would cost them almost all their savings but because of her greed desires, tricked her husband by shading crocodile tears and empty threats. Her husband Monsieur Loisel who out of love was moved by the deception, sacrificed all the four hundred francs which he had saved to buy a gun for hunting and gave his wife to buy the new dress. The incidence portrayed Mathilde as not only selfish and greedy but a destructive woman. She collected all that had been saved for future productive use just to satisfy a one-night pleasure without thinking of tomorrow.
Mathilde is a woman who does not appreciate anything or gets filled however much she given, she would still ask for more. Maupassant proved this element in her when Monsieur, regardless of all the efforts he devotes to his wife, she kept asking for more. He strived and got a chance to take her wife to the ceremony, the consort demanded a new dress of which he provided. Monsieur was delighted that he had satisfied everything that would make his spouse happy and that they were ready for the occasion. Amazingly, Mathilde confronted him claiming that she did not have jewelry to match her address for the occasion. She could do anything within her powers to win what she felt her heart deserved. The husband got frustrated and called her stupid after proclaiming that she would look cheap before other rich women. Her words following her demands penetrated into her husband piercing his heart leaving him with no choice to refer Mathilde to her friend Madame Forestier to borrow the jewelry. She proved to be stubborn, annoying, and unsatisfied despite everything she is given. At her friend`s place, she exposed her greed and the need to have more when is given the jewelries to choose. Mathilde was tempted to like everything but still asked for more.“You have nothing else?” “Why, yes. But I don’t know what you like” (Maupassant 6). She luckily sees a superb necklace made of diamond from a satin box overwhelming her desire and eventually picked it.
Finally, the awaited night came; Mathilde in her beautiful dress and diamond necklace as it gleams around her throat looked at herself ecstatically and felt that was what she was meant to be. She fulfilled all she had longed for, out of her selfish desires she won the night (Maupassant 8). The trouble that took them ten years to solve arose when she got home without the precious necklace she lent from her friend. The jewelry got lost while she was enjoying herself at the party without her knowledge. They were forced to replace the lost necklace, given that they no longer had enough amount left with them, they had to shift to a another apartment worse than they had before and worked tirelessly. Their life turned bitter than ever while scratching for ten years to save enough cash to acquire a new necklace but only to find that it was fake and had no value to Madame. “Oh, my poor Mathilde! Mine was an imitation! It was worth five hundred francs at most…!” (Maupassant 10). However, the ten years changed the attitude of Mathilde about life; she began to see life in a different perspective.
In summary, Maupassant played a magnificent role using Mathilde`s character as a symbol of revolution whereby he connected her dreaming life with reality. Her greed and deceptions to change dreams into reality landed her into a life of struggle and suffering, her life of dreams ended up harming her real life. During the ten years of struggle to replace something that was worth nothing, made Mathilde to change both physically and emotional, she became strong and could struggle to get what she wanted by herself other than when she used to demand and given. Mathilde changed the way she used to feel and think about life status. She learned that life is not about how one desires it to be but the ability to accept environments, dreams are valid but should not be allowed to bar one from reality. Although the story is fiction, the author makes it lifelike and a great lesson reflecting the transformation in Mathilde`s character who is seen as greedy, ungrateful, stubborn and self-centered but learned from her mistakes, paid the price and turned out to become a reliable person.
Maupassant, Guy de. The Necklace and Other Stories. Kindle Edition. Paris: Shamrocke Edem Publishing, 2009. Print.
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