The Necklace

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Interpreting “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant
The value of interpretive fiction lies in the ability of the story to convey some sort of principle that is translatable to everyday life, illustrating practical truths and the demonstrating moral ethics. Guy de Mauppasant’s short story “The Necklace” is full of interpretive and thematic significance. This significance lies in the ability of the story to convey the idea that it is important to recognize the worth in oneself and not to attach meaning to material possessions. Another important point that resonates after reading this story is that happiness does not come in the form of material wealth and that greed for material wealth can ultimately function to diminish all that one has. Mauppasant introduces us to the story’s main character, Mathilde Loisel, a middle-class woman who is overwhelmed with her lot in life or lack thereof. She feels as though she has been cheated out of all of the things that are important and resents the fact that she is “one of those pretty and charming girls who are sometimes, born into a family of clerks.” The idea of living modestly is a tragic injustice to Mathilde who desires “to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after,” but her unfortunate financial situation will not allow this superficial appearance that she so desires to uphold , “she had no dresses, no jewels, nothing. And she loved nothing but that; she felt made for that.” One day her husband, a clerk from the Department of Education with whom she reluctantly allowed her family to match her with, comes home with an invitation to a party, an invitation he is sure his wife will be thrilled about. Her reaction is completely the opposite, she is horrified and questions him, “and what do you suppose I am to wear at such an affair?” It is at this point in the story that the reader can clearly see how important impression and class are to Mathilde. Mathilde’s husband manages to spare her the money for a new dress but...
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