The Necklace by Guy De Maupassan

The Necklace by Guy De Maupassant BA/AD Part1

About the Author

Guy de Maupassant (1850 -1893) is the most celebrated and accomplished French short story writer of the 2nd half of the 19th century. He studied law in Paris but soon he quit it and joined the French army during the Franco-Prussian War in 1869. He worked at the ministry of maritime affairs and also at the ministry of education. 

At the beginning of his literary career, he composed some poetic verses and then he switched to short story writing He wrote about 300 short stories during the 1880s. He also penned down six novels, three travelogues, and an anthology of verse during this period.

Has literary masterpiece was Boule de Suit (Ball of Fat) which he accomplished in 1880. His short stories used to be objective, sheer comic, and highly controlled in tone. His literary contributions used to encompass the issues of everyday life of the simpletons. 
He had also successfully unraveled the hidden aspects of human psychology. There were also some autobiographical and supernatural elements found in his short stories. A year before his death, he tried to commit suicide by cutting his throat and he died in 1893 due to complications developed by his suicide attempt.

SUMMARY

The Necklace is written by Maupassant, who is a famous French author. In this story, he has described the social and economical conditions of France before the French Revolution. The French society was divided into two classes: Aristocratic and poor class.

In the story, the heroine Matilda was a beautiful, but vain and prideful lady. She was born in a poor family. Unfortunately, she married a poor clerk, Mr.Loisel. She wanted to lead a life of luxury. One day her husband brought an invitation card for her to attend a ball party at the house Of Ministers of Education. 

She was extremely dejected to participate in the ball party without having a proper dress and jewelry. She threw the card, as she had no jewelry and dress to wear at the party. Mr. Loisel also became sad over her condition.

Anyhow, he gave her four hundred francs to buy a fantastic dress of her choice, which he had saved to buy a gun. She was still disappointed because she had no jewelry to herself. Her husband advised her to borrow a necklace from her friend, madam Forestier.

Matilda went to Madam Forestier's house. She had a large variety of jewelry. Matilda selected a beautiful necklace of diamonds. Madam Forestier permitted her to take it away. At the party, Matilda was greatly admired by everyone. She was the central figure of attraction for all men, as every man desired to talk with her. 

At the party, she danced with enthusiasm and passion. She was the prettiest woman in the whole gathering. She was intoxicated with pleasure. She felt herself in a cloud of happiness. The intoxication continued till she came back.

When they returned home, Matilda came to know that her necklace had been lost. They searched it everywhere but could not find it. Finally, they decided to buy a replacement for Madame Forestier. They got together all their saved money and borrowed from everybody they knew. 

Madame Forestier got the new necklace and did not realize that it was a replacement. In order to be able to pay all the loans back, Matilda had to free the maid and did all housework by herself, They lived through ten years of poverty in a small house.

After the long years of discomfort, Matilda met Madam Forestier in the street and decided to tell her the truth about the necklace and how she had to suffer. At first, Madame Forestier did not even recognize Matilda whose beauty had faded.

When Matilda disclosed the story of the loss of the necklace and told her that she had to replace her lost necklace for thirty-six thousand francs, Madame Forestier was greatly shocked and told her that its actual worth was not more than five hundred francs as it was only an artificial. Matilda became disappointed and repented over her folly.

Important Questions and Answers

Question 1

Discuss The Necklace as a story of human vanity.

The Necklace is a criticism of pride and materialism. Discuss.

Answer

The Necklace by Guy De Maupassant is a criticism of the prideful and materialistic nature of Matilda. He has also criticized the prideful  and materialistic nature of French people. The French society was divided into two classes, the aristocratic and the poor class.

The rich people like Madam Forestier did not care about their things. Even they had artificial things but showed themselves modern and aristocrat. They lived in big mansions and did not care about others.

On the other hand, the poor like Matilda copied them and wanted to be like them. She always grieved over her poor condition. She wanted to become rich In this way she did not tell madam Forestier about the loss of the necklace. Because of her false pride, she suffered a lot. 

Matilda thought that others had a very high opinion of her beauty and appearance. She felt helpless and became inwardly angry when she compared Loisel's position with that of any rich and fashionable person. He was a petty clerk in the office of the Board of Education in Paris.

He did not earn so much as to let Matilda enjoy new fashions and charm others. Matilda's burning desire to have the best in life landed her in extreme trouble after she borrowed the necklace. Loisel and Matilda both were responsible for their tragedy.

Loisel did not check Matilda's unjust demands for expensive clothes and jewelry. In short, the story is a criticism of the social life of France, where people had divided themselves into two groups and were aloof from the requirements of one another.

Question 2

Describe the life and feelings of Matilda after she lost her borrowed

necklace at the Minister's ball.

Why did Mrs. Loisel borrow the necklace?

Why did Matilda refuse to attend the ball at first?

Why was she reluctant to go to the party?

What Was the reaction of Matilda to the invitation to the ball?

Answer

The story The Necklace shows the different reactions of Matilda to the invitation card of the party. First of all, she did not take notice very seriously due to her poor condition, She threw the invitation card on the table. She did not deserve to go there because of a shortage of proper outfit.

Her husband made sure to her that he would arrange for her a good dress. She again became gloomy as she had no proper jewelry to wear at the party. So Matilda's normal reaction to the blessings of life and all other things was ungrateful.

She normally took the negative side of everything. She was also a pessimistic character in the story. Her behavior and reactions were also hopeless in the story. So these were the different reactions of Matilda in the story. She wanted to join the party as she had a heartily desire to meet the aristocratic women. She wanted to look like them.

Matilda complained that she did not have proper clothes and jewelry for the party. They settled that Loisel would buy her a pretty dress with the money he had saved for a gun. So she was in fine clothes with her husband wearing this necklace at the party. 

The party continued till morning. After it, Loisel and Matilda stayed in a saloon. They came out of it at about 4:00 a.m.They tried to get a carriage in the street when it was too cold. They further walked to the river Seine. on returning to the apartment she got shocked not to find the necklace around her neck. 

Question 3

Matilda's love of jewelry brings about her doom. Discuss.

What is the role of fate and destiny in the story? The Necklace?

The necklace is a tragedy of a vain, proud, and showy woman.

The story "The Necklace" has been called a story of human vanity.

Discuss.

Answer

Fate plays an important role in the story. Sometimes life plays strange tricks on human beings. Human beings seem like pitiable actors in the hands of fate. Matilda possessed all the physical and intellectual qualities. 

Those qualities made her a perfect lady. But because of her low birth, she could not enjoy the luxuries of life. Matilda borrowed a necklace of diamonds from one of her friends to attend the party.

Chance or luck made Matilda and her husband suffer without any fault. After getting the necklace, Matilda attracted everybody's attention at the party. It was the irony of her situation that all her successes were going to disappoint her. 

Matilda did not like to put her friend to inconvenience by declaring that the necklace was lost. To save her friend from timely disappointment, she was more ready to stake her marriage and even her whole life.

Fate was constantly plotting against her and through her, against her husband. The second attack of fate was more ironic or cruel. She and her husband thought that it was a genuine necklace. In fact, the diamonds in it were false.

At the end of the story, Matilda was stunned to learn that the necklace was not but made of fake diamonds. She came to know that how small things and events change the life of a person. In short, we can say that fate and destiny played a negative role in the life of Matilda and brought disaster for her.

The story teaches us that truth and honesty are always helpful. Matilda Loisel and Loisel should have told Madame Forestier about the loss of her necklace. They should not have lied that they were getting its damaged part repaired.

Question 4

There is always a suspicious hope for Matilda Loisel in "The Necklace" Discuss.

What are the dreams of Matilda? What type of life she wants to lead?

Why was Matilda reluctant to go to the party?

Answer

The necklace is one of Guy de Maupassant's. In this story the central character is Matilda. She was born in a poor family and she got married to a poor clerk. So she was leading her life hand to mouth. But she had dreams of luxurious life. 

If she was eating something she would dream what the elite class would eat in the same manner. She wanted every luxury of life. She wanted to lead the life of comfort, and pomp and show. She had the dreams of having great wealth. 

So that she could join the women of some higher society in her locality Matilda had dreamed of wearing costly jewelry. She also had dreams about wearing very costly and fashionable clothes. But she could not get all these things due to her.

Question 5

What troubles Matilda had to face for wearing the borrowed necklace for one night.

What type of life did Matilda lead after the loss of necklace?

Write a note on the condition of Matilda after she lost her necklace.

She replaces the necklace at the cost of her life and marriage, Discuss.

How was her entire life determined by the loss of the necklace?

Answer

After the loss of the necklace, Matilda became very sad. Both Matilda and her husband searched a lot but could not find it. Her husband had to borrow money on interest from his friends to replace the necklace. They found a necklace of diamonds, which resembled exactly like the one they had lost.

They could buy it for thirty-six thousand francs Loisel had eighteen thousand francs, which his father left, and the remaining collected raised by borrowing from several friends, It was simply disastrous for them.

Great hardships and misfortunes remained in their house, for ten long years. In fact, they were determined to compromise With their whole existence, undergoing miserable conditions of and privations life, moral and mental torture, and all physical afflictions and privations.

Matilda performed all her household chores by herself. Loisel got an extra job and had to copy manuscripts at cheap rates. At the end of ten years, they paid back all the loans with a lot of interest. They had to undergo strenuous and hard circumstances of daily life. 

Matilda grew old and developed hard habits of life. All her ambitions of aristocratic life were gone forever, and all the delicacy and elegance were forgotten and gone. The necklace was easily lost but their ten years of hardships were involved in replacing it.

Question 6

Write a note on the character sketch of Matilda.

Answer

Matilda was the heroine of the story. She was a very beautiful and prideful lady. She performed a significant role in the story. Matilda was born in a poor family and wedded to a poor clerk. She was a charming and graceful woman.

She was endowed with an inborn fitness. If fate had been little kind to her, she, with her beauty and charm could have attracted a man of high rank, social status, and means. Matilda wanted to lead a life of luxury.

She wanted to join parties and functions, but it was impossible for her as she was poor. Matilda imitated the rich aristocratic women and wanted to be like them. She always grieved over her poor condition.

One day Matilda's husband brought an invitation card for her to attend a ball party at the house of the Minister of Education. She threw the card because she had no jewelry and dress to wear at the party. She borrowed a necklace from her friend.

Everybody praised Matilda in the patty, When she returned home, she came to that necklace had been lost somewhere, She searched a lot but could not find it. At last, her husband borrowed  money and replaced the necklace to madam Forestier. 

For ten years, they had to work and live in a humble house so they had to pay the debts. During that period of hard labor, Matilda lost her physical charms appeared haggard, was always dressed poorly, and spoke in a voice. She not only lost her beauty but also lost the charm of her life.

 

 







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