Have you ever wanted to be rich but at the time you couldn’t be and would do anything to look like you were? Guy de Maupassant writes about who a woman named Mathilde which wanted to live the life which she was out of her means. In the short story, “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant, he uses the symbol of a necklace, characterization, and foreshadowing to describe a woman who wanted to live the high life even though she couldn’t afford it. Maupassant uses the symbolism of the necklace to express wealth when in reality it’s a fake. The diamond necklace in this case represents money and happiness.
Maupassant writes, “She was the prettiest woman present, elegant, graceful, smiling, and quite above herself with happiness” (Maupassant). She only felt this way when she had the necklace on which reiterates what I previously stated. The fact that Mathilde talked to Madame Forestier in the end and she said “It was worth at the very most five hundred francs… ” (Maupassant) is very ironic and funny. She wasted ten years of her life working hard for an expensive diamond necklace when she could have just been honest with her friend and just gave her 500 francs to replace the fake necklace.
The characterization of Mathilde is very important and direct. The first sentence is direct about the character of Mathilde by saying, “She was one of those pretty charming girls born” (Maupassant). The reader can conclude from this first sentence that she was beautiful, charming, and not fit for the poor life. The first sentence for the second paragraph states, “She suffered endlessly, feeling herself born for every delicacy and luxury” (Maupassant). Guy does this on purpose to say Mathilde believes she is only made for the finer items in life and the high life.
She has the thought that the poor and hard working life is not for her. To add on to her mindset, after receiving an expensive dress for the party she states, “I’m utterly miserable at not having any jewels, not a single stone, to wear” (Maupassant). Furthermore, after her husband buys the expensive dress, she contemplates not going to the party. Her attitude about looking rich shows how extreme she is about appearance and self-conscious. Foreshadowing is major in this specific short story. To talk about how poor Mathilde is Maupassant states, “She had no clothes, no jewels, nothing.
And these were the only things she loved” (Maupassant). We already read in the first two sentences how much she gold luxury items and the fact that she has nothing at all close to luxury has to put the reader in the mind that she would do anything and any cost to appear or be rich. Maupassant adds on the foreshadowing because she refuses to see her friend and he says every time she sees her rich friend she, “weep whole days, with grief, regret, despair, and misery” (Maupassant). Why would she do this every time she sees a friend? The initial emotion of seeing a friend is happiness and love in most cases but this one is different.
Maupassant tells us early in the short story that something is going to happen devastating with the rich friend and Mathilde. In conclusion, Mathilde is a woman who wants to be wealthy and show her wealth through appearance. Maupassant shows he was ahead of his time by writing a short story with symbolism, characterization, and foreshadowing. In conclusion, Guy shows you that money is not the key to happiness and you don’t need expensive items to feel good about yourself because Mathilde felt great with a fake necklace on. Is it worth to act like something you’re not?
Works Cited Page
Maupassant Guy de. “The Necklace”