Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace"
During the course of Guy de Maupassant's short story "The Necklace," the main character, Matilda Loisel, makes a number of ironic discoveries. In addition, there are other discoveries that the reader makes but Matilda does not. The discovery that forms the story's climax concerns the true nature of the necklace she has borrowed from her friend Mrs. Forestier. But this is perhaps not the most important lesson of this story. As the story opens, Matilda, a young middle-class wife who aspires to join the upper ranks of society, is finally invited to a high-society affair given by her husband's employer. Hoping to impress her guests and thus "fit in", she borrows a beautiful diamond necklace from her friend Madame Forestier. Unfortunately, during the course of the evening, the necklace is lost. Rather than confront her friend directly with the story of her carelessness, she and her husband scrape together every bit of money they can. As de Maupassant explains, "[Mr.] Loisel possessed eighteen thousand franks which his father had left him. He borrowed the rest. He borrowed it, asking for a thousand francs of one, five hundred of another, five louis of this one, and three louis of that one. He gave notes, made ruinous promises, took money of usurers and the whole race of lenders. He compromised his whole existence, in fact, risked his signature without even knowing whether he could make it good or not, and, harassed by anxiety for the future, by the black misery which surrounded him, and by the prospect of all physical privations and moral torture, he went to get the new necklace, depositing on the merchant's counter thirty-six thousand francs." Matilda then places the new necklace in the same case in which she had borrowed the old one, and returns it to her friend without explanation, hoping against hope that the deception will not be discovered -- which it is not. Now comes the task of paying back all the money that the Loisels...
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