October 31, 2013
Guy de Maupassant: The Necklace
This short story is centered on Mathilde Loisel, a charming and beautiful young woman who was born in a less fortunate economic status. She met a young man from the Ministry of Education who would provide her with a very modest lifestyle. She was very dedicated to the concept of marriage, but often fantasizes of a grand elaborate dinners served on fine china and eating in the company of well to do friends. Grand thoughts of this nature captivated her thoughts on a daily basis and motivated her self-esteem. This paper will display how Mathilde Loisel was driven by her fantasies to be wealthy and a part of the aristocratic society in her daily life. Mathilde Loisel has one wealthy friend by the name of Madame Forestier, but she avoids visiting with her because of the disappointment it will bring. Her husband realized her dilemma to be a part of aristocratic society and presented her one night with an invitation to a party held by the Ministry of Education. His intent was that Mathilde would be ecstatic about the opportunity to attend the gala, but instead she became immediately distressed, and broke down in tears. She began to tell him her reason for her reaction and communicated that she did not possess that appropriate clothing for such an event. Also, she felt that he should give the invitation to someone else who can better afford to wear better clothing. Alarmed by her response, her husband asked, “How much a suitable dress would cost?” (Maupassant, 1989). After careful deliberation, he communicated to her that he would come up with the sum of 400 francs in order to purchase the dress. As time progressed, her mannerisms began to change and now she focused on her lack of jewels for the party. Initially her husband asked, why not wear flowers, but she emphatically resisted. So he made the suggestion, why not borrow some jewels from Madame Forestier and see if she would agree to lend them to her on a temporary basis. Much to the surprise of Mathilde, Madame Forestier agreed, and loaned her the jewels; she chose a diamond necklace. She was so elated by the generosity of Madame Forestier that she was overcome with gratitude. When the gala commenced, Mathilde felt that she was the most beautiful woman at the event and everyone’s eyes were glued to her. She was overwhelmed with attention and floored by her sense of satisfaction. Once the event was over, Monsieur Loisel; garnered a cab and returned home. When Mathilde arrived home, she uncloaked her wrap and realized the necklace was gone from her neck. After several hours of searching, her husband returned in a great panic citing that he had not found the necklace. Subsequently he communicated to her, “write to Madame Forestier and say that she has broken the clasp or the necklace and is getting it mended.” (Maupassant, 1989). After a week of searching for the necklace, the two surmised that the best course of action was to replace the necklace. Instead of asking Madame Forestier the cost of the necklace as to not alarm her of its disappearance, they proceeded to visit with an abundance of jewelers until they were able to find a reasonable facsimile. The cost of the necklace was 40,000 francs, but the jeweler was gracious enough to part with it for 36,000 francs. Monsier Loisel worked feverishly to locate the money to purchase the necklace. After purchasing the necklace, Mathilde returned the jeweled piece to Madame Forestier. Much to Madame Forestier’s dismay, it had taken so long for Mathilde to return the necklace, and she never inspected the piece. Mathilde was relieved that she did not take the time to look. The Loisels initiated a long life of poverty based on their attempt to replace the necklace. They were forced to move to a lesser size apartment, take on extra jobs, and heavy housework for the next ten years. Over time Mathilde’s beauty had diminished and the many years of hardship had taken its toll. While out for a stroll, she spotted Madame Forestier and Mathilde reminded of their acquaintance; attempted to explain the dilemma with her necklace. Finally, Madame Forestier explained to her that the piece she had given her was just a piece of costume jewelry. Based on the issues in this short story there was much to be learned. The Loisels should have communicated that the piece of jewelry was lost between the function and the ride home. The two parties should have engaged in dialogue to search for the best course of action to resolve the situation amicably. Instead, they proceeded with what they thought was the best course of action. The intent cost them what seemed to be a lifetime of grief and misery over what was later revealed to be costume jewelry. In closing, I have demonstrated how aspirations on a small scale can become a catastrophe caused by lack of communication and a lack of self-esteem. It cost Madame Matilde Loisel and Mousier Loisel many years of hardship and beauty for something she could have averted. Reaching for things in life that are above your means can be costly if you are not careful. It may cost you your soul if you are not careful.
Maupassant, G. (1989). The Necklace. Balance Publishing Company. Retrieved from http://www.balancepublishing.com/neckstry.htm