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“The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant: McManus’s Review

“The Necklace” is a story of a young woman who expresses discontent with the life she leads. Her unhappiness is the result of false expectations, and she is driven to despair by her humble surroundings. She is intent on escaping her reality by engaging in endless daydreaming. In addition, she works to acquire and borrow items that demonstrate her wealth. The contrast between Mathilde and her husband’s view of life illustrates how an insatiable appetite for material things leads to crippling discontentment.

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Plot Summary

“The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant details the life of Mathilde Loisel, who believes that her birth into poverty was unsuitable. Her husband’s low social and economic status allows her to lead a modest life. She spends countless hours imagining a life filled with extravagance (Maupassant 51). Mathilde wishes for fancy jewelry and clothing and often feels undesirable unless she adorns beautiful ornaments. It is worth noting that even though Madame Forestier is Mathilde’s friend, they rarely visit each other, seeing as Mathilde gets heartbroken by the extravagant display of affluence.

One evening, Mathilde’s husband comes home with an invitation to a dinner hosted by the Ministry of Education. To his surprise, she retorts angrily and resorts to crying. She is forlorn because she has no fancy clothes to wear to the event. She tells her husband to offer the invitation to his friends whose wives have clothing suited for the gathering. Her husband is dismayed and attempts to get her what she desires. He offers her money to purchase a suitable party dress (Maupassant 53). As the special day approaches, Mathilde adopts a strange demeanor as she claims that she lacks jewels for her dress. She borrows a diamond neck ornament from Madame Forestier, who is more than willing to come to her aid.

Mathilde is the most alluring woman at the party that night. She finds the attention intoxicating and is immensely satisfied by their lingering stares. She is sad when the night ends and is terrified when she realizes that the borrowed necklace is missing. A search for the prized piece of jewelry is futile, and Monsieur Loisel instructs his wife to write to Madame Forestier and lie that the necklace is being mended. They search local stores to find a replacement and find one at an inflated price (Maupassant 55). The husband works to get the money by selling off their possessions. They are now destitute as each works longer hours to earn income. A final encounter with the necklace’s owner is astonishing because she reveals that the lost necklace was a worthless part of a costume.


The impact of deceptive appearances is the author’s most important theme in the story. Mathilde is not wealthy, nor is she a member of the elite social class. Despite this reality, she is determined to create a façade that highlights her non-existent wealth. The necklace is the epitome of deception because it appears expensive, yet it is made of cheap material. Its origins give it the illusion of value because Madame Forestier is the embodiment of wealth. It demonstrates, however the wealthiest members of society work to magnify the appearance of their wealth. The diamonds show how actual value is inextricably linked to perception and that appearances may be deceiving.

The author highlights the peril of martyrdom in Mathilde’s selfish actions. She is incapable of appreciating essential aspects of her life, such as her husband. She struggles with the belief that her beauty and charm are going to waste. Mathilde embraces martyrdom as she works to repay the money spent on replacing the lost necklace. In the process, she loses her beauty, and she holds on to the belief that she got less than she deserved in life. Her husband is the true martyr in the story because he sacrifices his happiness for Mathilde’s selfish desires.


The author is a firm believer in the idea that fiction must convey reality as accurately as possible. The text demonstrates his desire to be objective as opposed to being romantic or engaging in psychological exploration. Maupassant defines his story around a well-defined plot that features specific and observable details. It is evident that his adherence to focused observation reveals new perspectives in seemingly non-remarkable aspects of life. “The Necklace” demonstrates the author’s obsession with facts because he does not elaborate on Mathilde’s yearning for riches. Instead, he tells his readers about her unhappiness and desire for the finer things in life. In addition, the story’s conclusion is devoid of moral commentary regarding the shocking revelation. Maupassant merely details events as they unfold without any pretense, deception, or idealization in the treatment of characters.

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Coveting is a strong motif applied throughout the story as Mathilde struggles with ideas of poverty. While her husband is eager and excited about having a simple dinner, Mathilde dreams of a grand banquet with wealthy friends and acquaintances. She also covets a new dress and jewelry to avoid looking like a peasant. She desires fluffy coats as she expresses dismay at having to cover herself with tattered wraps. The persistent coveting leads to Mathilde’s downfall after she is forced to work tirelessly to pay off a debt accrued from losing a worthless necklace.

Maupassant uses symbolism to pass important messages through his writing. For instance, the necklace, which is beautiful yet worthless, is a representation of the power of perception and the disparity between reality and appearances. Mathilde is driven to borrow jewelry in an attempt to appear wealthy. It is vital to note that the owner of the fake ornament fails to mention its worthlessness, perhaps because she too is focused on posing as an affluent individual. As a result, Mathilde does not question the item’s authenticity and is easily deceived into believing that the diamond is real. It is evident that denial of one’s actual situation oftentimes leads to trouble.

The Necklace: Short Story Review

Dermot McManus’s article on Guy de Maupassant’s short story highlights the author’s key themes. McManus emphasizes the relevance of insecurity, materialism, sacrifice, and happiness. The article evaluates Maupassant’s exploration of materialism and its impact on an individual’s worldview. It proposes that Mathilde believes that associating with wealthy and affluent people will somehow improve her status in life. McManus skillfully evaluates the author’s assessment of the conflict between one’s reality and hopes for a life of luxury.

Summary and Explanation

McManus presents a detailed assessment of the key points in “The Necklace.” His evaluation of Mathilde’s materialism is articulate and precise. He notes that she considers herself unfortunate and deserving of a better life (McManus). Her husband also believes that his ability to meet Mathilde’s selfish needs will make her happy. Her desire to own valuable and precious items worsens her misery and exposes her husband’s sacrifice. Monsieur Loisel gives all his hard-earned money to his wife to buy a dress. His selfless acts are meant to support his wife’s selfish desires. The loss of the necklace forces the family to sell their house and find odd jobs to help pay off the debt due to the loss of the necklace.

McManus highlights how Mathilde’s obsession with wealth and high stature has resulted in drastic changes in her life. He proposes that Madame Forestier’s happiness despite owning fake jewelry demonstrates how an individual can remain satisfied despite holding very little (McManus). In addition, McManus argues that even though the author does not categorically point out that Mathilde has learned her lesson, there is a sense that she has. This is because, during her labor to repay the debt, she shelves her aspirations for material things. Her sole objective is to pay off the money owed. She is glad when the entire ordeal comes to an end which is perhaps an indicator that she is happy with the little she owns. The desire for material possessions seems to fade as she embraces her reality and accepts her fate. McManus insists that in the end, Mathilde is happier despite owning less than she did prior to the loss of the necklace.


McManus presents a concise analysis of “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant. His evaluation of Mathilde’s materialistic nature is accurate, as is his assessment of her husband’s sacrifices. There are clues in the article that highlight how the desire for wealth often leads to misery. It is evident that Mathilde is so obsessed with wealth that she misses the most important aspects of her life. It is vital to note that McManus’s insistence that Mathilde learned her lesson contradicts Maupassant’s realistic writing style. There is no proof in the text that she has learned her lesson or that she is happy with her current lifestyle. In addition, McManus’s statement that Madame Forestire is happy with fake jewelry is untrue. Even though she is rich, she insists on portraying more wealth than she actually possesses. Her actions are deceptive and are not indicative of contentment. Despite the differences above, McManus’s analysis is largely accurate and insightful. He presents a comprehensive evaluation of materialism and its impact on an individual’s worldview.


“The Necklace” is a demonstration of how materialism impacts a person’s life. Mathilde’s refusal to accept her reality led to a series of events that forced her husband to sacrifice his happiness in an attempt to fulfill her selfish desires. The loss of the diamond ornament led to a life of misery as the couple toiled to replace the fake item. The author’s use of symbolism and motifs such as coveting emphasize Mathilde’s view of life. It is vital to note that the article captured the essence of the story and evaluated critical aspects of Mathilde’s character. It presented a concise assessment of the effects of materialism on an individual’s worldview. Maupassant’s determination to be objective instead of employing romantic descriptions or engaging in psychological exploration exemplifies his realistic writing style. The maintenance of a keen focus on facts reveals new perspectives in seemingly ordinary events.

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Maupassant, Guy. The Necklace and Other Short Stories. Xist Publishing, 2016.

McManus, Dermot. “Short Story Analysis: The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant.” The Sitting Bee, 2017. Web.

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