Excellence in Literature unit one
Novel or Story Title: 'The Necklace”
Author: Guy de Maupassant
“The Necklace” is a brilliant short story that reveals a lot about human nature, showing what can happen when you ask for too much, are too careless, and, ultimately, the benefits, and trials, of doing the right thing. It has a hilariously ironic ending that leaves the reader full of imaginings, wondering, “What if it had gone differently?” and that thought leading into an endless chain of questions.
Mathilde Loisle lives under a great burden, one that she cannot see, lift, or take hold of, but is always there. Her birth. Though she possesses great taste, admirable beauty and refined manners, she has been born into a family of low-income clerks and has married a clerk at the Ministry of Public Instruction. She sits in her house all day long wishing to have better drapes, a larger house, fancier food, elegant dresses, and so on. She is filled with so much self-pity that she cannot even bare to be with her rich friend, Mme. Forestier, who always tempts Mathilde with her fine things.
The story begins when Mathilde and her hsband receive an invitation to a party for the Ministry of Public Instruction. But, instead of being delighted as her husband had hoped, Mathilde becomes all the more depressed, complaining that she had nothing to wear to such a gathering. But her husband gives her money to make herself a dress, and when the issue of jewelry arises, he suggests that she borrow some of Mme. Forestier's. The story then spirals towards it's ironic ending after Mathilde loses the diamond necklace she has borrowed, and creates more and more debt as she tries to pay for the necklace she buys to replace the lost one.
“The Necklace” takes place in France, in the 1900's.
Guy de Maupassant wrote this story with much narrative and little dialog, with spare, to-the-point sentences used by the characters. He is very good at giving a life to his characters. The reader has a very good idea of the nature of them, which is quite a feat to be accomplished in a such a short tale.