By Guy De Maupassant
Analysis of the Chapter
· The story ‘The Necklace’ is written by Guy De Maupassant, a French writer who is renowned as a master of the short story form.
· It is a dramatic story from the life of a pretty woman, Matilda Loisel who went through a difficult phase of her life due to her dreams and uncontrollable desires.
· The story conveys that contentment is the greatest wealth and materialistic possessions can’t give us real happiness.
· The story comprises of all the elements of a wonderful story such as action, twist, life like characters and surprise ending, all beautifully employed by Guy De Maupassant, a great story writer.
Summary / Synopsis
· The story is about Matilda Loisel, a very pretty young lady. She felt as if she was born in a family of clerk through an error of destiny. But, she wanted to appreciated and talked by the rich gentry. She got married to a clerk, Mr. Loisel, in the Education Board Office. Matilda would dream of beautiful things, so she remained unhappy.
· One evening Mr. Loisel came home with an invitation to the Minister’s party. But, contrary to his expectation Matilda became sad because she did not have a good dress for the party. Her husband loved her so much that in order to console her and make her happy he told that she could buy a new dress and was ready to give the amount of four hundred francs that he had kept aside to buy a gun.
· Matilda bought the dress but she was still unhappy as she did not have a jewel suitable for the grand party and special guests on the party. He suggested her to wear natural flowers. Then, he reminded her about her rich friend, Madame Forestier who could lend her some jewels. The next day, she went and borrowed a diamond necklace for the occasion from her friend.
· All praised her at the ball party. She was the prettiest of all. She danced gracefully. All men appreciated her. The party was over at four o’clock in the morning. She covered herself with the modest wrap and hurried to go home as she did not want to be noticed in an inexpensive wrap by other rich women who wrapped themselves in rich furs.
· Reaching home Matilda wanted to admire herself having a glimpse in front of a mirror, so she unwrapped herself and found that the necklace was not there round her neck. Loisel went out to look for the necklace on the road and all the places where they had walked, in the carriage and surroundings. He filed a report in police and gave advertisement in newspaper. But, all in vain, the necklace was not found anywhere.
· After a week, her husband suggested her to replace the necklace. They found a necklce just like the lost one, in the Palais Royal. The price was 40,000 francs but they got it for 36,000 francs. Mr. Loisel's father had given him 18,000 francs. He borrowed the remaining amount from various money lenders at a high interest. At last, they were able to buy the necklace and returned it to Madame Forestier who didn’t even look at the necklace but expected that it should have been returned earlier.
· Madame Loisel was now facing the horrible life of wants and difficulties. They removed the maid, lived in cheaper accomodations, did all the household works herself. She bargained for each penny and the husband worked day and night. This life of poverty continued for ten years.
· Matilda now looked old, a hard and ordinary working woman. Her hair were badly dressed and her dress was awry. In peaceful moments she would think of the earlier times and thought what would have happened if she had not lost the necklace.
· One Sunday she was walking in the Champs Elysees. Suddenly she saw Mme Forestier walking with a child. She was still pretty and attractive. Mme Forestier could not recognise Matilda. Matilda told everything about losing the necklace and what had happened to her. At the end Mme, Forestier disclosed that the necklace she had lent was artificial.
The story ‘The necklace’ voices out the message very clearly that ‘contentment is the greatest wealth and it brings real happiness. Therefore, one should be content with what he/she possesses and should live happily within the means. Material possessions are like fake diamonds that only glitter but happiness lies in being contented.
Important Question answers
Q. Who is responsible for Matilda's loss? How could she have avoided this tragic turnout in her life?
A. Matilda herself was responsible for her loss. Her greed and strong desire to lead a lavish and luxurious life led her to the tragic end of the story. In order to satisfy her desires, she had to borrow the necklace which was lost. She could have chosen something within her husband’s budget and given more importance to real happiness, and a loving and caring husband. Even her own beauty was a great asset, If she had told truth to her friend when necklace was lost, she could have avoided this tragic end.