People know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. In “The Necklace,” Guy De Maupassant tells the story of a middle-class woman who is materialistic and ambitious; she desires to be in the upper-class society. She goes great lengths to be a different person; she purchased a fancy dress and borrowed a diamond necklace from a friend. This necklace will change her destiny. Maupassant uses the setting to reflect the character and development of the main character, Mathilde Loisel. As a result, his setting is not based on vivid details. He does not even give a full description of the necklace, the main object in the story, but only states it’s a “ superb diamond” (202). The author seems to give vivid details of the setting, such as the dream-life mansion and the sophistication of higher class, to illuminate Mathilde’s qualities.
The modest apartment of the Loisel’s indicate Mathilde’s “desolation and lost hopes” of life (200). Though everything is livable, she is unhappy with “drab walls, threadbare furniture, ugly curtains” (200). She has a maid, but she wants more servants than the “simple young country girl” who does her light housework in her apartment. Her embarrassment and unhappiness are shown by details of her “three day
old tablecloth” and inelegant beef stew her husband adores. Even her best theater dress, which was only suited for apartment life, but which is unsuitable for wealthier places, makes her unhappy. All of these details of the apartment illuminate Mathilde’s major trait as the story’s beginning is a failure to meet the demands of society.
The impossibly wealthy setting of Mathilde’s daydreams about owning a mansion exacerbates her unhappiness and keeps her away from reality. She fantasized abou...
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... adjust to her new life of poverty (204). The loss of the necklace does not cause a moral downfall in the lives of the Loisels. They did not inform Mrs. Forestier of the incident, nor did they simply take responsibility and challenge to replace the article however much it is of value. The Loisel’s paid thirty-four thousand francs for a real diamond necklace to replace the one they lost. If they were just honest in the beginning with Mrs. Forestier, they could’ve only paid four hundred francs. Maupassant uses the setting to illuminate Mathilde’s qualities, her misfortune, her loss of beauty, and finally, her growth into a responsible woman.
Maupassant, Guy De. “The Necklace.” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts and Robert Zweig. 10th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2012. 200-205.
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