She had a friend, a former schoolmate at the convent, who was rich, and whom she did not like to go to see any more because she felt so sad when she came home. But one evening her husband reached home with a triumphant air and holding a large envelope in his hand. Instead of being delighted, as her husband had hoped, she threw the invitation on the table crossly, muttering:.
- Short Stories: The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant;
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You never go out, and this is such a fine opportunity. I had great trouble to get it. Every one wants to go; it is very select, and they are not giving many invitations to clerks. The whole official world will be there. He stopped, distracted, seeing that his wife was weeping. Two great tears ran slowly from the corners of her eyes toward the corners of her mouth. By a violent effort she conquered her grief and replied in a calm voice, while she wiped her wet cheeks:.
Only I have no gown, and, therefore, I can't go to this ball. Give your card to some colleague whose wife is better equipped than I am. How much would it cost, a suitable gown, which you could use on other occasions--something very simple? She reflected several seconds, making her calculations and wondering also what sum she could ask without drawing on herself an immediate refusal and a frightened exclamation from the economical clerk.
He grew a little pale, because he was laying aside just that amount to buy a gun and treat himself to a little shooting next summer on the plain of Nanterre, with several friends who went to shoot larks there of a Sunday. The day of the ball drew near and Madame Loisel seemed sad, uneasy, anxious. Her frock was ready, however. Her husband said to her one evening:. Come, you have seemed very queer these last three days. I shall look poverty-stricken. I would almost rather not go at all. For ten francs you can get two or three magnificent roses.
You're intimate enough with her to do that. Madame Forestier went to a wardrobe with a mirror, took out a large jewel box, brought it back, opened it and said to Madame Loisel:. She saw first some bracelets, then a pearl necklace, then a Venetian gold cross set with precious stones, of admirable workmanship. She tried on the ornaments before the mirror, hesitated and could not make up her mind to part with them, to give them back. Suddenly she discovered, in a black satin box, a superb diamond necklace, and her heart throbbed with an immoderate desire. Her hands trembled as she took it.
She fastened it round her throat, outside her high-necked waist, and was lost in ecstasy at her reflection in the mirror. She threw her arms round her friend's neck, kissed her passionately, then fled with her treasure. The night of the ball arrived. Madame Loisel was a great success. She was prettier than any other woman present, elegant, graceful, smiling and wild with joy.
All the men looked at her, asked her name, sought to be introduced. All the attaches of the Cabinet wished to waltz with her. She was remarked by the minister himself. She danced with rapture, with passion, intoxicated by pleasure, forgetting all in the triumph of her beauty, in the glory of her success, in a sort of cloud of happiness comprised of all this homage, admiration, these awakened desires and of that sense of triumph which is so sweet to woman's heart.
She left the ball about four o'clock in the morning. Her husband had been sleeping since midnight in a little deserted anteroom with three other gentlemen whose wives were enjoying the ball. He threw over her shoulders the wraps he had brought, the modest wraps of common life, the poverty of which contrasted with the elegance of the ball dress. She felt this and wished to escape so as not to be remarked by the other women, who were enveloping themselves in costly furs.
But she did not listen to him and rapidly descended the stairs. When they reached the street they could not find a carriage and began to look for one, shouting after the cabmen passing at a distance. They went toward the Seine in despair, shivering with cold. At last they found on the quay one of those ancient night cabs which, as though they were ashamed to show their shabbiness during the day, are never seen round Paris until after dark. It took them to their dwelling in the Rue des Martyrs, and sadly they mounted the stairs to their flat.
All was ended for her. As to him, he reflected that he must be at the ministry at ten o'clock that morning. She removed her wraps before the glass so as to see herself once more in all her glory. But suddenly she uttered a cry. She no longer had the necklace around her neck! They looked among the folds of her skirt, of her cloak, in her pockets, everywhere, but did not find it. She sat waiting on a chair in her ball dress, without strength to go to bed, overwhelmed, without any fire, without a thought. He went to police headquarters, to the newspaper offices to offer a reward; he went to the cab companies--everywhere, in fact, whither he was urged by the least spark of hope.
That will give us time to turn round. The next day they took the box that had contained it and went to the jeweler whose name was found within. He consulted his books.
Then they went from jeweler to jeweler, searching for a necklace like the other, trying to recall it, both sick with chagrin and grief. They found, in a shop at the Palais Royal, a string of diamonds that seemed to them exactly like the one they had lost.
It was worth forty thousand francs. They could have it for thirty-six. So they begged the jeweler not to sell it for three days yet.
And they made a bargain that he should buy it back for thirty-four thousand francs, in case they should find the lost necklace before the end of February. Loisel possessed eighteen thousand francs which his father had left him. After attending the party, Mathilde discovers that she has lost the necklace.
She tries to find a quick way to replace it. She goes to the Palais-Royal shop and finds a similar necklace for 40, francs but they could get it in 36, francs. The couple sells everything they own and must secure loans at high interest rates to pay for the necklace. As the women are talking, Mathilde recounts the story of losing and replacing the necklace, and that it was because of Madame Forestier that she has lived so terribly the past ten years. Horrified, Madame Forestier takes Mathilde's hands, explaining that her original necklace was a fake or "made of paste", and was worth nothing more than francs.
One of the themes within "The Necklace" is the dichotomy of reality vs. Madame Loisel is beautiful on the outside, but inside she is discontented with her less-than-wealthy lifestyle.
The Necklace - Wikipedia
This reinforces the idea that wealth means happiness. Mathilde is gripped by a greed that contrasts with her husband's kind generosity. She believes that material wealth will bring her joy, and her pride prevents her from admitting to Madame Forestier that she is not rich, and that she has lost the necklace she borrowed.
Because of her pride and obsession with wealth, Mathilde loses years of her life and spends all of her savings on replacing the necklace, only to find out that the original necklace was a fake to begin with; a falsely wealthy appearance, just like Madame Loisel herself. The story demonstrates the value of honesty; if Mathilde had been honest to Madame Forestier, she'd likely have been able to easily replace the necklace and enjoy the prosperity she wanted but never had.
The moment in which this occurs is set in the book to be around , the year in which Maupassant actually published his short story. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Necklace disambiguation. La Parure , illustration of the title page of the Gil Blas , 8 October Writing Themes About Literature 7th ed. Retrieved 9 July Retrieved 23 July