February 14th, 2013
Power of Possessions: An analysis of ‘The Necklace’
Materialism. What does it mean to be materialistic? Why does materialism bring out the worst in others? Being materialistic means that your spiritual beliefs and morals are often discarded by what objects people have or do not have. Society is consumed by material processions and people believe that objects are what define you. In Guy de Maupassant’s short story, ‘The Necklace’, the main character, Mathilde, believes that objects have the power to change her life. Mathilde’s happiness in life is directly dependent on objects she does not even possess. Her materialistic obsession with what she does not have leads to her perpetual discontent. ‘The Necklace’ by Maupassant demonstrates the theme of materialism by the author’s use of conceit, egotism, and jealousy. The author uses conceit throughout his short story to display the theme of materialism. Maupassant shows the main character as having excessive self-pride that makes her unhappy. Mathilde’s husband tries to please her by inviting her to a high-status ball and, “instead of being delighted… she threw down the invitation on the table with disdain… ‘what do you want me to do with that?’ ” (265). Mathilde shows that she is prideful and has a high opinion of the wealthy people who will attend the ball and she knows that she would not be able to go without feeling like she is inferior because she is poor. She is not happy with her husband’s invitation because she does not want other people to see her as without material possessions. Mathilde is prideful because she cares what her peers think of her. She is concerned with her status and how people perceive her. Her pride is shown when she says, “I have no dress and therefore I can’t go to this ball. Give your card to some colleague whose wife is better equipped that I” (266). Mathilde holds on to her pride when she says that she cannot go to the...