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The Necklace The Downfall Of Mathilde Loisel

The Necklace: The Downfall Of Mathilde Loisel Essay, Research Paper

The Necklace: The Downfall of Mathilde Loisel

Chad Pugh

English 2025

Dr. Bovey

Jealousy and envy are among the greatest of sins and have been the down

fall of many. Maupassant’s “The Necklace” is the story of a woman who is

overcome with jealousy and envy. Mathilde Loisel feels she has been cheated by

life from all of the wonderful things it has to offer. The reader learns how

these qualities in Mme. Loisel come back to haunt her for many years as the

story unfolds with an ironic ending.

Mathilde Loisel, as the main character of the story, is truly believable.

She is described as “one of those pretty and charming girls who are sometimes,

born into a family of clerks”(900). The author describes how she suffers from

her lifestyle of being middle-class. There is a stereotypical “rich man, poor

man” quality as Mme. Loisel longs for the material things that her old

schoolmate Mme. Forester has. The physical appearance of the characters as well

as their actions, thought, and emotions are very detailed throughout the story.

The main character’s life, as well as her husband’s, takes a dramatic turn and

the author describes the physical and emotional changes in great detail.

The story’s title does not signify the theme however, the theme of the

story is reiterated throughout the story. “She had no dresses, no jewels,

nothing. And she loved nothing but that; she felt made for that. She would so

have liked to please, to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after”(900).

Mme. Loisel was envious of her friend and anyone else who had more than what she

had. She felt that she deserved these things.

The plot grows completely out of the personalities of the characters. As

the story opens, Mme. Loisel’s husband comes home with an invitation to a ball

at the palace. He had hoped that this invitation would lift Mme. Loisel’s

spirits but it had an opposite effect. She insisted that she could not go

because she had nothing to wear. Mme. Loisel’s husband reluctantly gave her the

money he had been saving for a gun so she could buy a “suitable” dress. Next,

Mme. decided that she would rather not go than go without jewelry. Her husband

suggested that she borrow a piece from her friend, Mme. Forestier. Mme.

Forestier allowed Mme. Loisel to borrow “a superb necklace of diamonds”(902).

Mathilde Loisel had a wonderful time at the ball. “She danced with

intoxication, with passion, made drunk by pleasure, forgetting all, in the

triumph of her beauty, in the glory of her success, in a sort of cloud of

happiness composed of all this homage, of all this admiration, of all these

awakened desires, and of that sense of complete victory which is so sweet to a

woman’s heart”(902). Upon arriving home, Mme. Loisel realized that the

wonderful necklace she borrowed from Mme. Forestier was gone! Mathilde and her

husband looked everywhere but could not find the necklace. Mathilde called Mme.

Forestier and told her that she had broken the clasp of the necklace and was

having it fixed for her. The next day, Mme. Loisel and her husband bought a

necklace to replace the one she had lost for thirty-six thousand francs. Buying

the necklace was not a simple process for the couple. They borrowed a great sum

of money from several different people and they both took on several jobs. “She

came to know what heavy housework meant and the odious cares of the

kitchen”(904-905). “And dressed like a woman of the people, she went to the

fruiterer, the grocer, the butcher, her basket on her arm, bargaining, insulted,

defending her miserable money sou by sou”(905). After ten long years of hard

work, they finally finished paying their debts. Mathilde wondered what life

would have been like if she had not lost the necklace. “How little a thing is

needed for us to be lost or to be saved”(905).

The climax of the story comes when one day, Mme. Loisel was taking a walk

and saw Mme. Forestier. She called out to Mme. Forestier, but she insisted that

she did not know Mme. Loisel. “Mme. Loisel looked old now. She had become the

woman of impoverished households – strong and hard and rough”(905). When

Mathilde told her who she was, Mme. Forestier replied, “Oh, my poor Mathilde!

How you are changed!”(905). It had been such a long time and Mathilde had been

working her fingers to the bone to pay for the necklace she lost.

Mme. Loisel felt that her lie had gone on long enough so she told Mme.

Forestier what happened to her original necklace and what she had been through

to pay for the replacement that was thirty-six thousand francs. Mme. Forestier

was terribly suprised and replied, “Oh, my poor Mathilde! Why, my necklace was

paste. It was worth at most five hundred francs!”(906).

Mathilde Loisel was an envious woman. She desperately wanted to be like

her friend Mme. Forestier, with plenty of money, jewels, and beautiful clothes.

She felt cheated from all of the good things in life that she felt she deserved.

This overwhelming feeling of envy cast a shadow throughout Mme. Loisel’s life as

she found out that things are not always as good as they seem to be.