The Happiness and Misery of Monsieur Lantin
At the beginning of "The Jewels", Lantin meets the woman of his dreams (and of every other man's) and immediately falls in love with and marries her. Their lives go on in perfect harmony and happiness, and every day Lantin falls more deeply in love with his adorable wife. Lantin has only two complaints about the character of his wife: her love of the theater and her love of fake jewelry. Eventually Lantin stops going to the theater, and his wife goes alone. After returning from the theater one night, his wife develops a cough and dies eight days later. This point marks the beginning of Lantin's misery as he uncovers more about his wife than he might have wanted to know.
Lantin is very happily married to his wife, and the reader gets the impression that everyone else in the community feels she is a fine woman to have as a wife. "Happy the man who wins her love! He could not find a better wife" (Maupassant 105). The reader learns just how devoted he is to his wife when he confesses that after six years of marriage, he loves his wife even more than he did at first. Lantin's life seems a perfect picture of what a happy marriage should be, but then it changes suddenly and drastically.
When Lantin's wife comes home one night with a chill and dies eight days later, Lantin is devastated. His life is filled with sorrow and despair and even "time, the healer, did not assuage his pain" (Maupassant 106). Lantin sits in her unchanged room everyday and thinks of her. At this point, the reader understands the depth of his suffering since he was so in love with her.
When Lantin starts losing money and realizes that he scarcely has enough to buy food, he immediately thinks to sell his wife's beloved gems. "He cherished in his heart a sort of rancor
against the false gems" (Maupassant 106). The very sight of the gems spoiled the wonderful memory of Lantin's wife and the first piece that Lantin sells is the...
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