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Transcript of The Necklace
Henri Rene Albert Guy de Maupassant was born on August 5, 1850, to an affluent family at the Chateau de Miromesnil, in France. As a child, Guy adored his mother and loathed his absent father. His mother was very literary and passed on her love of books to her son, Guy, and his brother, Herve. Much of Guy’s childhood was spent in the countryside playing sports or simply spending time outdoors. Point of View
The story's focus is certainly on Mathilde, but the narrator does not speak from her point of view. Instead, he talks about Mathilde as if he were from the outside looking in. When he brings her up at the beginning, she's just "one of those girls". It sounds like he's seen a lot more of them than just this one. That's omniscient, all right. Mathilde's also not the only character whose thoughts he can see into; he's able to speak into her husband's thoughts just as easily, when he wants to. Overview
Mathilde Loisel is “pretty and charming” but feels she has been born into a family of unfavorable economic status. She was married off to a lowly clerk in the Ministry of Education, who can afford to provide her only with a modest though not uncomfortable lifestyle. Mathilde feels the burden of her poverty intensely. She regrets her lot in life and spends endless hours imagining a more extravagant existence. While her husband expresses his pleasure at the small, modest supper she has prepared for him, she dreams of an elaborate feast served on fancy china and eaten in the company of wealthy friends. She possesses no fancy jewels or clothing, yet these are the only things she lives for. Without them, she feels she is not desirable. She has one wealthy friend, Madame Forestier, but refuses to visit her because of the heartbreak it brings her. Theme
"The Necklace" gets its title from the gorgeous piece of diamond jewelry that drives the story's plot. The expensive nature of the necklace is not the only way in which wealth is central to this story. The main character of "The Necklace" is obsessed with wealth. She wants nothing else than to escape from her shabby middle-class life with a shabby middle-class husband and live the glamorous life for which she was born. She's so jealous of her one wealthy friend it hurts. When Mathilde's given the chance to get decked out in diamonds and go to a ritzy party to mingle with all the beautiful people, it seems like her dreams have finally become a reality. Then she loses the borrowed diamond necklace, gets cast into poverty, and learns what it means to truly live without money. Women and Femininity
Mathilde Loisel, the main character of "The Necklace," is a 19th century French version of a desperate housewife. Because she's a woman in a man's world, she has almost no control over her life. She finds herself married to a husband she doesn't care for, and cooped up in a house she despises. What she wants more than anything else is to be desirable to other men. And what's particularly irritating is that she has all the "womanly virtues" she needs in order to be desirable: she's charming, graceful, beautiful. She's just doesn't have the necessary wealth. Characters
Madame Jeanne Forestier is a school friend of Mathilde Loisel, and she lends her the necklace that Madame Loisel wears to the ball.
Madame Mathilde Loisel desires to be part of the upper class which sets the story’s events in motion.
Monsieur Loisel’s complacency and contentment with his social situation contrasts markedly with his wife’s desire to experience life among the social elite.
It is set in 19th century Paris, France
The events take place at Rue de Martyrs where the Loisels live
The Seine-Mathilde waits for a cab
The Palais Royal- Mathilde buys a necklace to replace the lost one
The Champ Elysees- The street where Mathilde meets Madame Forestier Plot
It's a party and I'll cry if I want to…
The action proper begins when M. Loisel (Mathilde's husband) comes home with the invitation to the fabulous ball and Mathilde reacts by having a fit. Now we have a specific problem: Mathilde's now has the best opportunity she's ever had to have a taste of the high life, but she has nothing to wear. That problem sets the rest of the plot in motion. Complication
Diamonds are this girl's best friend
Mathilde solves the first problem when her husband gives her money for a dress. But then she runs into a second problem: she's needs to have some jewels. Luckily, her friend Mme. Forestier is able to provide her with a fabulous diamond necklace. But now Mathilde's been entrusted with something expensive that belongs to someone else and we have the potential for disaster. It's true that the complication is often when things "get worse," and that doesn't really happen here (for that, we have to wait for the climax). Climax
The necklace is missing!
Mathilde's discovery is the most exciting and dramatic moment in the story (until that crazy twist in the last line). It's also the turning point in the plot. Before, the story was a build-up to Mathilde's one glorious night with the rich and famous. Now it transitions into a desperate search. We have a feeling things are not going to end well. Suspense
Diamonds, when lost, are a girl's worst nightmare
After the loss of the necklace, we're kept in constant suspense. First, there's the search for the necklace: will it be found? When it becomes clear it isn't going to be, the question becomes: what will the Loisels do? Will they find a replacement? And when they do, the question is: how the are they going to pay for it? It turns out paying for it takes quite a toll on them – their lives are ruined for ten years. Denouement
A fateful stroll down the Champs Elysées
When Mathilde meets Mme. Forestier on the Champs Elysées, it looks like we're just about to tie up the last loose end in the story. The main action is over – the Loisels have finally finished paying off their debts for the necklace. All that remains is for Mathilde to see whether her friend ever noticed the substitute necklace, and tell her the sad story of the whole affair. But then things don't quite wrap up the way we expect. Conclusion
Sometimes critics say that the twist ending is the climax of the story. You could think that the twist is the most exciting moment of the story, and represents a turning point since it reverses everything that came before. But we're sticking to our guns, and saying that the twist ending isn't the climax, but the conclusion. A climax is technically the point of the plot that everything builds up to, and that's not true of the twist. What makes the twist so effective is that by the time it happens the plot has already "risen and fallen," and seems to be wrapping up naturally. Then, right in the denouement, everything changes. Unlike your run-of-the-mill conclusion, this conclusion is exciting, and it upsets everything. Analysis
“The Necklace” clearly demonstrates Maupassant’s fixation with facts and observations. Rather than explore Mathilde’s yearning for wealth or unhappiness with her life, Maupaussant simply tells us about her unhappiness and all the things she desires. At the end of the story, he provides no moral commentary or explanation about Mathilde’s reaction to Madame Forestier’s shocking revelation; he simply reports events as they happen.There is no pretense, idealizing, or artifice to Maupaussant’s prose or treatment of his characters. END