Greed and Envy
In Guy de Maupassant’s short story “The Necklace”, he explores the theme that greed and envy can lead to self-destruction. In this story Matilda Loisel is a very envious wife whom always dreamed for a better existence. She was a beautiful but very discontent woman who thought that she must have been born into the wrong life, since she had no way of being recognized and courted by a rich and powerful man. Instead “she allowed herself to marry a petty clerk in the office of the Board of Education” (31). All the while she dreamed of living the life of the rich, with beautiful possessions all around her and all her wants answered. Oh how happy she thought she could have been. But her dreams are always short lived by the everyday evidence of their middle class furniture, food and conversation. Then one day her husband, Mr. Loisel, was invited to the Minister of Public Instruction’s dinner ball. Her husband thought this would make his wife so very delighted since this is what she spent all of her time dreaming of. Here it was, the thing that consumed her finally at her feet, but she still was not content. In fact, Matilda was even more distraught because it brought to her attention that she had nothing formal enough for the ball. Mr. Loisel sympathized with his wife and knowing he had money set aside for a new shot gun, he gave her the 400 francs she so desperately needed. This was enough money for a pretty dress, not too fancy, but pretty because he knew for sure this would be a rare occasion. As the day of the ball drew nearer Matilda’s envy overtook her once more and she became distraught. She decided that she could not attend the ball. Her husband then asked her what was the bothering her and pointed out that she has been acting strangely. She responds to his comment by saying, “I am vexed not to have a jewel....I shall have such a poverty laden look” (33). He then suggests flowers to compensate for the missing accessory. She...
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