The Necklace





The Necklace


The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant is a short story on Madame Mathilde Loisel who had always imagined and wanted a higher social standing accompanied by wealth and jewels. Instead, she is a simple and poor woman who settles for a clerk in order to get her happy. With her love for jewelry and wealth, Mathilde faces an agonizing period trying to pay her debt from acquiring a dress for a ball a she cannot raise the amount instantly. Later, her enabler, Madame Jeanne Forestier, explains of the dress’ imitation to Mathilde as she comes to grips with the effect of true living in poverty. The theme on women and femininity is displayed by Mathilde’s character in The Necklace.


Femininity in The Necklace is testament of associated desperate homemakers of the classical 19th century. Women were presented as having no control in life especially with the depiction of a man’s world (Duclert and Windish 143). Mathilde only envisioned her life through wealth and associating with the high and mighty. In addition, she could only master the courage of acquiring a husband who would make her happy as opposed to enabling herself according to her plans and dreams. The theme is characteristic in depicting that women could not rely on themselves as well as achieves considerable gains without prioritizing material objects in the society. In addition, their measure was through the eyes of the male counterparts.

            The unhappiness of a woman is crucial in understanding of feminine tendencies as demonstrated by Mathilde in The Necklace. From the onset, the author talks of how unpleasant and unsettled Mathilde was especially without accepting her state. Despite a slight achievement, she still could not be content with it. It was demonstrated when she had acquired a dress for the invitational ball. Instead of recognizing the efforts made possible for her, she still was not satisfied. She wanted the additional jewelry to it. It led her to seeking desperate measures from outsiders in order for her to attend the event. The resultant choice fulfilled her desire of the jewelry despite it coming at a cost.

            Mathilde shows the ungrateful nature of women and feminine theme with her characterization in The Necklace. The author describes some of the virtues Mathilde had as important for her success story, it is stated that she was charming, beautiful and graceful, but lacked wealth. Mathilde could not embrace her nature and instead sought appreciation and desire from other men. Her restitution was based on acquiring wealth while associating with the wealthy individuals. According to Curnutt (344), she captures the plight of a patriarchal society placing demands on material things as opposed to full recognition of humane values. She became the victim of the society before accepting her poverty status.


The theme of women and femininity in The Necklace is a moral lesson for the society especially in terms of wealth, personal virtues, and success. All individuals within the societal fabric should be allowed to prosper without basing on materialistic gains as opposed to maximizing their potential. In addition, individuals should prioritize their expectations in terms of success without jeopardizing their status. The conclusion from the story teaches a moral lesson on the humbling manner of consequences undertaken especially with added pressure from the environment. It is vital for individuals to accept their status and use it in order to advance in a holistic approach.

Works Cited:

Curnutt, Kirk. “Maupassant and the American Short Story: The Influence of Form at the Turn of the Century.” The Henry James Review, 16. 3, 2005: 343-347. Print.

Duclert, Vincent, and Colette Windish. “The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful: Reflections on a hidden Motif in Literature. South Central Review, 29. 3, 2012: 141-162. Print.

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