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Essay on "The Diamond Necklace".

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Introduction

Essay on "The Diamond Necklace" Blind Vanity Mr. Pacchioli English 2, T&Th: 3:45 "Choice has always been a privilege of those who could afford to pay for it" (Ellen Franfort). Some people delude themselves into thinking that they are in positions that they are not; they aspire to always move up the social hierarchy. In the short story, "The Diamond Necklace," the author Guy de Maupassant makes clear that only the rich have the financial freedom of choice; sadly, some people are not so fortunate. Those who cannot enjoy the rewards of wealth attempt to find ways to fit in and become affluent. Maupassant uses setting, symbols, point of view, and character, which are explored in this essay, to convey this insightful message. Matilda, the main character in the story, wants so badly to become a member of "high society," that she allows her blindness and her desire for vanity to induce her to make foolish decisions, which ultimately lead to her downfall. Living in nineteenth century France, a time and society where class defines one's worth, Matilda is unsatisfied with her present status. Although she feels that she was "born for all delicacies and luxuries," Matilda ceases to see the simple splendor of her own quarters and suffers "from the poverty of her apartment" (297). ...read more.

Middle

The creation of her image for the party fuels her desire to forget what she knows to be the truth, and thus she too becomes blind to her inner most feelings. Her special dress, which she wore for the fantastic festivity, is also a mask behind which Matilda can hide. Long after the ball has ended, Matilda, wanting to latch onto the image she has made for herself, remains "in her evening gown" (301). Not only does she use her gown to veil her true self from the prosperous people at the party, but she also wants to grasp onto the fantasy, that she, too, is wealthy, for as long as possible. It was not until ten years later that Matilda had come to terms with reality, finally having removed all of the masks, which concealed her genuine self. The point of view in which Maupassant writes this story allows the reader to identify lessons that Matilda does not. There is no real evidence that Matilda learns what causes her hardships. As she sits, prematurely aged, before her window, she is not thinking of how vain and silly she had been as a young woman; she is daydreaming about how lovely and glamorous the Minister's party had been, "of that ball where she was so beautiful and so flattered" (303). ...read more.

Conclusion

But now, after ten years of toil, "she had become a strong, hard woman" (303). Matilda has finally realized her downfall. In the end, although she is a "crude woman of the poor household," she is finally in harmony as she admits, "I am decently content" (303). For the first time in her life, Matilda has had her fill; she is satisfied. If Matilda had not been so foolish as to attempt to be what she was not: rich, or had she told Mrs. Forestier the truth, she would have saved herself and her husband from the grief and devastation it caused. Nobody ever wants to feel in adequate in life; however, one's standing in society is not something that can easily be altered. The lengths to which one may go to acquire a respectful social status are dire. Nevertheless, sometimes trying too hard ultimately separates one from her goal, and in the process, loses all that she knows to be familiar and comfortable. Matilda, at the end of the story, finds herself further away from riches than she has ever been; she should have been content with her position in life, but because she was not, Matilda actually brought all the hardship she faced onto herself because of the vain efforts she made to belong with the wealthy. ...read more.

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