Maupassant’s story demonstrates that Madame Loisel is more concerned with how others perceive her than her own happiness. This is evident from the very beginning of the story, when the first description of her is only composed of adjectives that show how she affects others and not her own personality. The words “She had no dowry, no expectations, no means of meeting some rich, important man who would understand, love, and marry her” demonstrate that she desires to marry a man with material or financial wealth, regardless of her feelings for him, in order to maintain her image. This is an example of the theme of greed and desire for wealth in The Necklace. Madame Loisel chose to preserve her friend’s image of her, even if it meant self-destructive behavior. After losing the necklace, Madame Loisel decided to buy a replica and return it as if it had never been worn, leading to a decade of hard labor and debt. Her fear of losing the image she had created in front of others is highlighted when Madame Loisel rhetorically questions “what would she have thought? What would she have said? Would she not have concluded she was a thief?” Finally, the deception of appearances is highlighted by Madame Forestier’s necklace, which appears to be made of precious stones but is actually made of costume gems. The fact that it comes from Madame Forestier’s jewelry box gives it the appearance of wealth and value, had Monsieur Loisel suggested that Mathilde wear costume gems. The way that Madame Forestier, in Mathilde’s eyes, of class and wealth, has a necklace made of fake gems suggests that even the wealthiest people in society pretend to have more wealth than they actually have. The two women were deceived by appearances, Madame Forestier does not tell Mathilde that the stones are fake, and Mathilde does not tell Madame Forestier that she has replaced the necklace.
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