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"The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant - summary of narrative, themes

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Introduction

The Necklace Guy de Maupassant "The Necklace" tells the story of a fairly rich couple in France who are invited to a grand ball with some of the richest people in the land. The woman wants to make a good impression so she contacts an old friend and borrows one of the nicest diamond necklaces she has ever seen. Unfortunately, the necklace is lost and the couple go to great lengths to find it. They eventually give up and decide to find an exact replica. In effect, the couple live in poverty for several years only to find that the expensive looking original necklace was made from paste. In this story there are two main characters - Mathilde and her husband. Mathilde is presented in such a way that makes her sound selfish. ...read more.

Middle

The writer enhances this statement by saying Mathilde was "wrapped in a cloud of happiness." Mathilde's weakness is exposed once again when she runs away from the ball because she does not have an expensive coat like the other ladies at the ball. She comes across as unbelievably selfish but I soon realise that this could be an exaggerated human reaction. When the couple arrive home, they discover that the necklace has gone astray. The frantically look for it but they have no luck. Mathilde does not seem so selfish at this part of the story but she did not look for the necklace as hard as her husband, Loisel. Instead, she sits at home and waits for him to come home with the necklace. Unfortunately, he does not return with the necklace so therefore they go round many shops looking for a similar necklace. ...read more.

Conclusion

Madame Loisel returned the necklace to an annoyed Madame Forestier because of the delay for the necklace. The story then skips forward ten years and tells us what happened one day. Madame Loisel has aged dramatically, and as she is walking in Champs-Elysees, she sees Madame Forestier. She decided to tell her of the terrible ten years she has had. She blames Madame Forestier for this: 'Yes I've had a pretty grim time since I saw you last, with lots of trouble - and it was all your fault!' There is a very unexpected ending when Madame Forestier tells Madame Loisel that the original necklace was made from paste. The story ends there and we do not hear of Madame Loisel's reaction. This story is made memorable by the use of language and the unexpected ending. In my opinion Maupassant describes a scene like this very well and this story has urged me to read more of his work. Yvonne Murray The Nicolson Institute ...read more.

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