Literary Analysis of The Necklace: A Compelling Essay Example | SiteName

Literary Analysis of The Necklace: A Compelling Essay Example | SiteName

In Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace,” the author explores the theme of the complexities of life through the story of Mathilde Loisel, a married woman who is deeply dissatisfied with her circumstances. The narrative is related from the point of view of a detached and objective third-person narrator, which sets the tone for the entire story, emphasizing the issue of appearances versus reality. Through the use of irony, Maupassant reveals the true value of material possessions, challenging the reader’s perception of what is truly important in life.

The story revolves around a necklace that Mathilde borrows from her wealthy friend, Madame Forestier, to wear to a high-profile event. When Mathilde loses the necklace, she and her husband spend the next ten years in poverty, working tirelessly to repay the debt they have incurred to replace the necklace. However, it is revealed at the end of the story that the necklace they replaced was actually a fake, rendering all their efforts and sacrifices fruitless. This twist of fate shows the irony of Mathilde’s desire for expensive things and the conflict between appearance and reality.



Through the use of these narrative elements, Maupassant skillfully conveys his thesis that material possessions and social status are not the defining factors of a person’s happiness. The necklace, which symbolizes wealth and luxury, becomes a catalyst for Mathilde’s downfall, highlighting the negative consequences of placing too much importance on materialism. By contrasting Mathilde’s initial perception of the necklace with its true value, Maupassant critiques the shallowness and superficiality of the wealthy and the allure of their lifestyles.

“The Necklace” is a prime example of Maupassant’s dynamic storytelling and moral language. The author’s skill in weaving a narrative that captivates readers lies in his ability to make them realize the consequences of their actions and the choices they make. In this story, Mathilde’s desire for wealth and social recognition ultimately leads her to a life of poverty and regret. Maupassant’s use of foreshadowing throughout the narrative adds a thrilling element to the story, keeping readers engaged and anticipating the eventual downfall of the characters.

By the end of the story, readers are left with a sense of irony and a new understanding of the true value of life. Mathilde’s long-held desire to become part of the wealthier class is shattered, revealing the emptiness and hollowness of a life based solely on appearances. Maupassant challenges readers to reevaluate their perception of success and happiness, urging them to look beyond material possessions and societal expectations.

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Literary Analysis of “The Necklace”: A Compelling Essay Example

A Comparison of Themes

In Maupassant’s “The Necklace,” the allure of wealth and the perception of high society play a significant role in the narrative. The necklace serves as a symbol of social status and the desire for material possessions. The contrast between the protagonist Madame Loisel’s yearning for a higher lifestyle and the eventual realization of the necklace’s actual worth drives the story’s plot and moral message.



Similarly, in Hawthrone’s “The Scarlet Letter,” the protagonist Hester Prynne’s red letter represents her sin and the societal judgment upon her. Both stories explore the theme of the intricate relationship between societal norms and individual perception.

The Danger of Vanity

This essay highlights how Maupassant’s portrayal of Madame Loisel’s obsession with the necklace demonstrates the dangerous consequences of vanity. The necklace becomes a catalyst for Madame Loisel’s descent from her loving marriage to a life of deception and misery. Through a vivid comparison with Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” the essay delves into the destructive power of desires rooted in vanity and the need for self-reflection.

An Analysis of Morality and Perception

The moral dilemma presented in “The Necklace” forces readers to question whether appearance truly reflects reality. The essay analyzes how Maupassant’s skillful storytelling leads readers to question the importance placed on material possessions and societal acceptance, unraveling the facade of perceived worth. By contrasting Madame Loisel’s perception of happiness with the reality of her situation, the essay explores the pitfalls of being led solely by external appearances.



Maupassant’s “The Necklace” is an enduring tale that holds relevance in today’s society. This essay example provides a thought-provoking analysis of the story’s themes and the dangers of chasing superficial dreams. Through the exploration of character motivations and actions, readers are led to reflect on their own perceptions and the value they place on material possessions and societal approval.

The Significance of Symbolism in Guy De Maupassant’s ‘The Necklace’

The Diamond Necklace: Symbol of Appearance vs. Reality

The diamond necklace itself serves as a powerful symbol in the story, representing the theme of appearance versus reality. At first glance, the necklace appears to be a valuable and glamorous accessory, a symbol of wealth and social status. However, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that the necklace is nothing more than an illusion, a mere costume jewelry piece that Madame Loisel borrows for one evening of grandeur.

This symbolizes the danger of placing too much importance on material possessions and appearances, as those who appear wealthy and successful may be hiding a much poorer inner life. By showcasing the allure and thrill of the necklace, Maupassant reveals the irony of how a simple accessory can have the power to drastically change one’s life. The necklace becomes a representation of the destructive consequences that arise from obsessing over external validation and the pursuit of social status.

The Necklace and Madame Loisel’s Transformation

The necklace also symbolizes Madame Loisel’s desire for a different life. By longing for the necklace, she yearns to be someone else, to escape the limitations of her own reality. This symbolizes the dissatisfaction and disillusionment she feels with her own life and the longing for more. It serves as a commentary on the human tendency to compare oneself to others and the negative consequences that can arise from such comparisons.

Maupassant uses the necklace as a means to explore the theme of societal expectations and the pressure placed on individuals to conform. Madame Loisel believes that her social standing and happiness are contingent on possessing objects of wealth and charm, leading to her obsession with the necklace. The necklace reveals the moral lesson of the story: that the pursuit of material possessions and the desire for what others have can ultimately lead to dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

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Overall, the symbolism in “The Necklace” offers a profound insight into human nature and the complexities of personal desire and societal expectations. Through the use of symbols such as the necklace, Maupassant crafts a compelling narrative that invites readers to examine their own desires and the consequences of obsessing over appearances.

Character Development in ‘The Necklace’: Exploring the Transformation of Madame Loisel

Throughout the story, we see Madame Loisel’s obsession with appearances and social status. She believes that by wearing expensive jewels, she will be able to fit in with the higher social classes and have a higher quality of life. The author uses irony to highlight the importance Madame Loisel places on material possessions and the detrimental effects it has on her life.

The character of Madame Loisel is compared to Alice Walker’s character in ‘Everyday Use’ to explore the theme of appearances versus reality. Both characters are dissatisfied with their current lifestyles and believe that material possessions will bring them happiness and acceptance. However, they both learn a valuable lesson about the true importance of personal fulfillment and self-acceptance.

Madame Loisel’s transformation is also evident through the shift in her marital relationship. At the beginning of the story, she resents her husband for not being able to provide her with the luxuries she desires. However, after losing the borrowed necklace and enduring years of poverty and hard work to replace it, Madame Loisel’s gratitude and admiration for her husband grow.

The author’s use of dialectical narration helps to emphasize the stark contrast between Madame Loisel’s desires and the reality of her situation. This dialectical approach creates tension and adds depth to the character’s development as she navigates the consequences of her actions.

The Power of Irony in “The Necklace” and its Impact on the Narrative

One example of irony in the story is the fact that Madame Loisel and her husband spend ten long years working hard to repay their debts, only to realize that the necklace they had dedicated their lives to replace was actually a worthless imitation. This twist of fate is both unexpected and ironic, as Madame Loisel spent years trying to pay off something that had no value. This irony serves as a critique of society’s obsession with appearances and the belief that material possessions are essential for happiness.

Another example of irony is when Madame Loisel finally confesses to Madame Forestier that she had lost the necklace and replaced it. Forestier, unaware of the switch, casually reveals that the original necklace was only made of glass and not the valuable gemstones that Madame Loisel believed it to be. This irony highlights the disconnect between Madame Loisel’s perception of herself as a rich and glamorous woman and the reality of her situation. It also raises questions about the true nature of wealth and beauty, suggesting that they can be superficial and fleeting.

The use of irony in “The Necklace” also serves to explore the themes of love, pride, and materialism. Madame Loisel’s obsession with appearances and her longing for a more extravagant life ultimately drives her to make choices that lead to her own downfall. The irony lies in the fact that her desire for material wealth and social status ultimately brings her misery and poverty, rather than the happiness she had hoped for.

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Social Critique Reflected in ‘The Necklace’: Unveiling the True Nature of Class and Materialism

The story revolves around Mathilde, a young and beautiful woman from a modest background who becomes consumed by her desire to be among the wealthy and elite. When Mathilde and her husband are invited to a high-class event, the conflict arises when Mathilde refuses to attend because she believes her borrowed necklace isn’t elegant enough.

Maupassant uses this situation to highlight the irony of materialism and its consequences. Mathilde’s obsession with class and appearance leads her to borrow a necklace that she believes will make her fit in among the upper-class attendees. However, her world is turned upside down when she loses the necklace, leading to financial ruin as she and her husband must work tirelessly to repay the debt.

The necklace serves as a symbolic representation of the societal expectations placed on women. It represents the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty and luxury, regardless of the cost. Through this symbolism, Maupassant criticizes the superficiality of society and the pressure put on individuals to live beyond their means in order to fit in.

The irony of the situation is further emphasized by the revelation that the necklace Mathilde lost was actually a fake, making the sacrifices she and her husband made to replace it all the more tragic. Maupassant uses this twist to underscore the arbitrary nature of wealth and status, suggesting that true happiness and fulfillment cannot be found in material possessions.

Furthermore, Maupassant subtly critiques the rigidity of social hierarchies through the character of Monsieur Loisel, who is content with his simple and frugal lifestyle. While society dismisses him as lower-class, Monsieur Loisel’s contentment and moral character shine through, emphasizing the emptiness of material pursuits.

Maupassant’s ‘The Necklace’ is a powerful literary analysis that exposes the detrimental effects of class and materialism. Through the story’s situational irony and symbolism, Maupassant’s critique of societal norms and values is clear. The transformation of Mathilde from an ambitious and idealistic young woman to a disillusioned and impoverished wife is a cautionary tale that reminds us of the importance of living within our means and valuing the intangible aspects of life over material possessions.

FAQ

What is the main theme of the story “The Necklace”?

The main theme of the story “The Necklace” is the obsession with material wealth and social status.

What is the significance of the necklace in the story?

The necklace symbolizes the protagonist’s desire for wealth and her downfall due to her obsession with appearances.

How does the social class affect the characters in “The Necklace”?

The social class affects the characters in “The Necklace” by determining their opportunities, happiness, and the way they are perceived by others.

What is the irony in “The Necklace”?

The irony in “The Necklace” lies in the fact that Madame Loisel spends years paying off a replacement necklace, only to find out that the original necklace was a worthless imitation.

How does “The Necklace” explore the theme of appearance vs reality?

“The Necklace” explores the theme of appearance vs reality by showing how Madame Loisel’s obsession with looking wealthy and elegant leads to her ultimate downfall and misery.

What is the main theme of “The Necklace”?

The main theme of “The Necklace” is the idea that material possessions and appearances do not bring true happiness. The story explores the consequences of a woman’s obsession with wealth and social status, and the ultimate realization that these things are not as important as personal happiness and contentment.

How does the protagonist change throughout the story?

The protagonist, Madame Loisel, undergoes a significant change throughout the story. At the beginning, she is dissatisfied with her life and constantly yearns for more wealth and luxury. However, after losing the necklace and spending years in poverty to repay the debt, she realizes the true value of happiness and contentment. By the end, she has become humbled and appreciative of the simple joys in life.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.