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Monday, February 27, 2012

Short Story Analysis: THE NECKLACE by Guy de Maupassant

I. SYNOPSIS /SUMMARY

A young woman named Mathilde Loisel is married to a little clerk of the Ministry of Public Instruction. They live a poor life, which Mathilde hates. One day, they are invited to a grand ball where the rich people will be. Mathilde buys a new gown from her husband’s savings intended to buy him a gun for shooting larks, for his hobby. To go with that very elegant gown, she borrows a diamond necklace from her friend Madame Forestier. At the ball, Mathilde is prettier than any woman there. When they arrive home after that ball, she discovers that the borrowed necklace is gone. She and her husband try to find it, but are not able to, so they buy another one exactly the same, for thirty-four thousand francs, from its original price of forty francs; such a very big amount of money for the couple. They use up Mathilde’s husband's inheritance, borrowed from usurers, and they work odd jobs for ten years just to make up for that amount. After a decade, Mathilde sees Madame Forestier by chance, and after those years, finally confesses that the necklace she returned was a replacement. Madame Forestier is shocked, and tells her that the necklace she lent her was fake, worth at most five hundred francs.


II. SHORT STORY ELEMENTS

A. CHARACTERS

There are three main characters in this short story:

1.   Mathilde Loisel, the wife
2.   The little clerk of the Ministry of Public Instruction, the husband
3.   Madame Forestier, the friend who lent Mathilde a diamond necklace

B. PLOT

a)  Introduction

Mathilde, the main woman character in this short story, is being described as unhappy because of her and her husband’s being poor.


b)  Rising Action

The complication starts when she and her husband are invited to a rich people’s ball. She buys a new gown, and to go with it, she borrows an elegant diamond necklace from her friend Madame Forestier.


c)  Climax

The peak of this short story iswhen Mathilde discovers that she lost the diamond necklace.


d) Falling action


 To replace the lost diamond necklace, Mathilde and her husband buy another one exactly the same, for thirty-four thousand francs, from its original price of forty francs, such a very big amount of money for the couple. The eighteen thousand francs was inherited by her husband from his father, and the rest of the amount he borrows from various sources.

e)      Denouement

       The problem resolves itself, though in a negative manner, when Mathilde and Madame Forestier meet again after ten years, and the latter tells the former that the diamond necklace she borrowed was fake.


C. SETTING

a)  place – in Paris


b)  time- sometime in the 18th century


c)  weather conditions - good


d)  social conditions- Mathilde Loisel and her husband were poor

e)  mood or atmosphere – Mathilde is not contented of her poor life. When she loses the borrowed diamond necklace, she and her husband become anxious. Then they buy a new one to replace the lost one, and they live a stressful life in order to pay their debts  incurred to buy such necklace.


D. POINT OF VIEW

The Point of View used in this short story is the Omniscient Limited - The author tells the story in third person (using pronouns they, she, he, it, etc).  We know only what the character knows and what the author allows him/her to tell us. We can see the thoughts and feelings of characters if the author chooses to reveal them to us.


E. LITERARY DEVICES

In my opinion, the literary devices used in this story are Symbolism andIrony. For Symbolism, the borrowed necklace symbolizes being wealthy, which Mathilde has been longing to be. While wearing it, she feels so superior. Meanwhile, for Irony, such borrowed necklace looks so sophisticated but is actually fake.

F. THEME

For me, the theme Things are not always as they appear to be and also Be content on what you have are applicable to this story.


G. CONFLICT

The conflict here are of Man vs. Himself, and Man vs. Society—Mathilde has been struggling as a poor woman because of her desire to “fit in” the society.

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