The story entitled The Necklace takes its name from the jewelry that triggers the change in the protagonist’s identity. The primary lesson conveyed in the narrative is that giving up the pursuit of material wealth can reveal a person’s true self.
The author of the story is Guy de Maupassant, a French writer and advocate of naturalism in literature. Naturalism, a literary movement that emphasizes the impact of social and economic factors on character development, is reflected in the story’s plot. The Necklace was first published in the French newspaper Le Gaulois in 1884 and garnered critical acclaim for its author’s portrayal of the human psyche.
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The protagonist of the story is Mathilde Loisel, a woman from a poor family whose husband holds a low-ranking position in the Ministry of Education. Mathilde, however, desires to belong to the wealthy social class and live a lavish lifestyle. She is selfish, indulgent, and scornful of her modest surroundings and poorly dressed neighbors.
The turning point of the story is when Mathilde is invited to a formal event organized by the Minister. Her old friend Madame Forestier lends her a luxurious necklace, which she believes will make her look rich and successful. Mathilde revels in the illusion of glamour and indulges in dancing and socializing with the wealthy guests.
The happiness, however, is short-lived as the necklace is lost at the party. Mathilde and her husband purchase a replacement necklace using their inheritance, plunging them into debt. This leads to significant changes in Mathilde’s personality as she has to adapt to her new life of poverty.
Mathilde learns to become a good housewife and manages to take care of her household well. Her newfound role and social status help her to become a modest and humble person. The experience is a valuable lesson for her, and she realizes the futility of material things and luxury in ensuring happiness.
The story’s final scene depicts Mathilde meeting Madame Forestier and confessing to her that she lost the necklace. To her surprise, Madame Forestier reveals that the necklace was fake, which makes Mathilde realize that her pursuit of wealth and luxury was pointless. The moral of the story is that a simple and modest life can reveal a person’s true character and bring them greater happiness than material possessions.
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