Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace"

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Jessica Reuland
Essay on “The Necklace”
Mathilde Loisel refuses to be happy with her average, middle-class life because she believes she deserves better, which leads her to borrow something she cannot buy, and ultimately dooms her to an even worse life than she started with. In the story “The Necklace,” Guy de Maupassant communicates his theme that envy and want of better things will blind you to what you have. Mathilde Loisel refuses to be happy with her life as it is. She is a middle class woman who felt that she should have been born to a more wealthy, distinctive family but instead was “born by a blunder of destiny in a family of employees”. Mathilde “suffered intensely, feeling herself born for every delicacy and every luxury.” When she watches the little maid doing their housework, all she can do is “let her mind dwell on the large parlors, decked with old silk, with their delicate furniture, supporting precious bric-a-brac, and on the coquettish little rooms…” She doesn’t realize that the life she has come to think of as ‘not good enough’ is the best she will ever have. She should have been married to a handsome, well-known man so that she would come to have a place in society but knew it would never happen, so she “let them make a match for her with a little clerk in the Department of Education”. Mr. Loisel is a good man, always gracious, giving and kind but she is never able to appreciate any of what he does for her. He tries his best to make her as comfortable as possible, making sacrifices for her and giving her whatever she asks for that is within their means. Being unhappy with what she has leads Mathilde to borrow what she cannot afford to buy. One day Mr. Loisel brings his wife an invitation to a party, one that he had “tremendous trouble to get.” All Mathilde can do is “[throw] the invitation on the table with annoyance”. She doesn’t appreciate the fact that he got them an invitation to a party that she’s always wanted to go to. She feels...
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