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Relating The Setting To The Characters In

The Necklace By Guy De Maupassant Essay, Research Paper

Daniel Beck

English 113 D

January 15, 2001

Essay 1

“The Necklace”

The author of “The Necklace”, Guy de Maupassant, relates the setting to Mathilde throughout the story. The central character in “The Necklace” is Mathilde. She dreams many dreams of rich living and high society. Her dwellings throughout “The Necklace” show her mood towards the way she is forced to live.

Mathilde marries Mr. Loisel, a minor clerk in the Ministry of Education. She becomes unhappy with the way she has to live. “She suffered because of her grim apartment with its drab walls, threadbare furniture, ugly curtains.” (paragraph 3). She owns cheap belongings and still dreams of being rich and having gourmet food while her husband likes plain things and seems rather happy for where he is in life. She dreams these wonderful and expensive things and it frustrates her. A dream come true happens but instead of being happy she is upset and even more frustrated.

Mr. Loisel comes home with a large envelope and gives it to Mathilde. She opens the envelope to find an invitation to dinner at the Ministry of Education. She says she has nothing to wear. Mr. Loisel gives up his saved vacation money so she can buy her dress. She still is not happy and complains that she does not have any jewelry to wear. Mr. Loisel proposes for Mathilde to borrow jewelry from Mrs. Forrestier. She borrows a diamond necklace. Mr. And Mrs. Loisel go to the party and she is the hit of the party and dances with everyone but her husband who slept through some of the party. When they get to their drab apartment, Mathilde looks into a mirror and the necklace is missing from around her neck. Mr. Loisel searches every where for the necklace and has no luck in finding it. They delay taking the necklace back by saying the clasp broke. They find a replacement and it will cost 36,000 francs. Mr. Loisel had saved eighteen thousand francs but he would have to borrow the rest. They make a deal with the jeweler, borrowed money, and gave the new diamond necklace back to Mrs. Forrestier. The Loisels’ have lots of money to pay back.

Mr. Loisel and Mathilde, now had to work to back their debt on the necklace. They fire the maid and moved to an attic flat. Mathilde did housework and had even cheaper belongings than before. She negotiates prices when she buys things and tries to save as much money as possible. She sees her dreams totally unreachable as the days passed. They worked hard for ten years and finally paid all the money they owed. Mathilde looked old and worn down from the ten years of hard labor paying the loans off. The attic flat represents how Mathilde finally accepts she will never be rich. One day soon after paying the loans off she sees Mrs. Forrestier at the Champs-Elysees while taking a relaxing walk. Mrs. Forrestier notices the aged appearance of Mathilde. Mathilde tells Mrs. Forrestier about the lost necklace and about how her and her husband worked ten long hard years repaying the debt of the necklace. Mrs. Forrestier replies with, “Oh, my poor Mathilde! But mine was only costume jewelry. At most, it was worth only five hundred francs!”(paragraph 127) All the hard work was for nothing. The setting of the relaxing walk signifies the closure of all of the struggle Mr. And Mrs. Loisel went through.

Guy de Maupassant uses the settings throughout the story to relate to Mathilde’s feelings. She is unhappy in the drab apartment, she has to work hard in the attic flat, and feels at peace with all that has happened while she is walking along the Champs-Elysees. Mathilde’s mood changed with the settings.


Literature (Text Book to English 113) by Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs