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The Necklace


The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant


"The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant is a poignant tale that explores themes of pride, vanity, and the destructive power of envy and materialism. Mathilda, a woman of beauty and charm, is married to Loisel, a modest clerk, which places her in a social class far removed from the luxury she desires. Her longing for a life of opulence leads her to borrow a seemingly expensive necklace to wear to a high-society ball, hoping to appear more affluent than she truly is.

The evening ends in disaster when Mathilda loses the necklace, setting off a chain of events that would change her life forever. To avoid disgrace, Mathilda and Loisel replace the necklace with an identical one, incurring a huge debt that takes them ten years of hard labor to repay. The twist in the tale comes at the end when Mathilda learns that the original necklace was a fake, worth only a fraction of the amount they had spent to replace it.

This story serves as a critique of the societal obsession with appearance and the lengths to which people will go to maintain a facade of wealth and status. Maupassant masterfully illustrates how vanity and pride can lead to one's downfall, highlighting the irony and tragedy of Mathilda's situation.


  • The Deceptiveness of Appearances: The story illustrates how appearances can be deceiving and how the pursuit of keeping up appearances can lead to severe consequences.
  • The Cost of Vanity: Mathilda's vanity not only leads to her financial ruin but also causes her to lose ten years of her life to hardship and labor.
  • Irony: The ironic twist at the end of the story highlights the futility of Mathilda's sacrifices, underscoring the story's moral lesson about the dangers of materialism and pride.

Character Analysis

  • Mathilda: A character driven by vanity and a desire for a life beyond her means, whose life is dramatically altered by a single night of pretense.
  • Loisel: Mathilda's supportive but practical husband, who sacrifices much to help his wife maintain her illusion of wealth, demonstrating loyalty and love in the face of adversity.

##Conclusion "The Necklace" remains a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of vanity and the unreliability of appearances, reminding readers that the pursuit of superficial status can lead to devastating consequences.