Considered as one of the most celebrated writers in the realm of classic literature, Guy de Maupassant created “300 short stories, six novels, three travel books, and a volume of verse” (Read Print, 2006, n. p. ). His experience as a reporter and a columnist gave him the background for writing fictional stories. He believed that a contemporary novel aims to tell a story that will entertain or touch the hearts of the readers and encourage them to evaluate the underlying and deeper meaning of the events.
His style remains in the world of literature and was imitated by his fellow artists such as Anton Chekhov, W. Somerset Maugham, and O. Henry (Read Print, 2006). One of the popular works of Guy de Maupassant is The Necklace, which is a short story about a wife of a plain man who yearns for a well-off lifestyle. The story starts with the invitation to a ball that the husband obtained. Although the wife, Mathilde Loisel, very much wanted to go, she did not want to attend because she felt insignificant and unglamorous for such a high-class event.
Thus, to please his wife, her husband bought her a dress from the money he was saving to buy himself a gun which he would use to hunt during the summer. However, Mathilde still did not want to attend the ball because she did not have any jewelry to wear, which, for her, suggests poverty and common life. She then borrowed a diamond necklace from her friend, Madame Forestier. Thus, together with her husband, Mathilde wore her new dress and the borrowed necklace and attended the ball. On their way home, they discovered that the diamond necklace was gone.
They thoroughly searched for it, but it was nowhere to be found. Hence, they decided to replace the necklace, but they found out that it cost around forty thousand francs. To pay for the jewelry, they borrowed notes and spent the next ten years paying their debts. Mathilde, once a beautiful and charming lady, grew old with age and dressed like a plain wife. After paying off all their debts, she talked to her friend, Madame Forestier and confessed that the necklace was lost and they replaced it. Her friend was shocked for that piece of jewelry only cost five hundred francs.
Because of her materialistic attitude, I personally dislike the character of the Mathilde Loisel, especially her desire for glamour and things that are way out of her league. However, I like the underlying theme of the story which is centered on vanity and discontentment. Using the necklace to symbolize extravagance and vanity, the story teaches the readers a very important lesson of what may happen if we become too caught up in vanity and glamour. Mathilde Loisel thought that she deserved a better life than she already had.
Her anguish over his husband’s middle class status and their lack of wealth, her feelings of insecurity due to their low social standing, and her vanity ruined their lives and created a lifetime of misery and despair. I also like de Maupassant’s use of irony to portray the miserable story of Mathilde, as tragic as it may seem. The tragedy of losing the necklace was crucial to the story because she would never learn her lesson if that incident did not happen. The story would also not meet its objective of leaving the readers an important lesson: too much vanity can sometimes hurt us and render unpleasant events.
I believed that wanting a simple life and being content on what you currently have is the best thing to do. That is why I strongly oppose the actions of the main character, especially Mathilde, who was highly preoccupied with her desire to appear beautiful and glamorous. Although it is never wrong to have ambitions and to wish for a better life, one must not desire such a thing only for the sake of vanity. Thus, de Maupassant’s “The Necklace” presents a valuable lesson that everyone must learn.