Guy de Maupassant’s Short Story “The Necklace”

“The Necklace” is a short»story written by Guy de Maupassant in 1884. It is famous its twist ending style, which Maupassant is famous for, “The Necklace” was made into a few TV shows and movies before because of its famous story. The story demonstrates the consequences of class greed and materialism, The story starts with a woman who was “one of those pretty and charming girls who are sometimes as if by a mistake of destiny, born in a family of clerks”. The author describes how beauty is the ultimate ‘hierarchy‘ for women is through beauty, not through family or blood like it is for men. However, she was born into a family of poverty and married a poor man. So she never could afford the commodities to demonstrate her beauty. Even though she was never able to have them, “She suffered ceaselessly, feeling born for all the delicacies and all the luxuries”.

She had a deep awareness of class consciousness that other females in her position don’t have. The protagonist is very material-driven – giving off the vibe that certain ‘deemed’ material items show an equivalent to wealth, When she gets invited to a ball, she starts to cry because she doesn‘t have a formal enough dress to wear without being embarrassed Her husband is sympathetic, and gives her the money to buy a cheaper, yet more formal gown. After she gets it, she wallows in the fact she doesn‘t have any jewels to complement her outfit. She says “There’s nothing more humiliating than to look poor among other women who are rich” Her insight shows how class perception and expectations drive self-perception in usually negative ways. It also charges the us-them binaries of different classes She borrows a diamond necklace from her friend for the dancer. When she goes to the ball she gets more attention than all the other women there, supercharging her belief that materialism is the starting point to class mobility and increased attention.

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When she leaves the ball, she somehow loses the necklace and has to work off ten years of debt in order to replace it to her friend She finds out from her friend, when she finally confesses, that the necklace was actually fake. This ultimate idiom demonstrates the irony and consequences of lust for class mobility and the belief that materialism is the precursor for social worth Guy de Maupassant ultimately criticizes the desire for class mobility and the consequences that it can bring. Now, he is not advocating that everyone should stay in the social class they are born in, but rather not place the stereotypical ‘worth‘ of people based on their materialistic possessions.

This warps people, not only of low class but high as well, to be greedy, deceptive, and lustful for things that in reality don’t provide intrinsic value to living, “The Necklace” is the perfect representation of a Marxist criticism [0 materialistic driven society. Mathilde attends the party, and she is the belle of the ball, receiving attention from all the important guests. However, as she is leaving the party, she realizes that the necklace is missing. The couple spends the next ten years paying off the debt they incurred to purchase a new necklace to replace the lost one.

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Guy de Maupassant’s Short Story “The Necklace”. (2023, May 11). Retrieved from