About the Author
Guy De Maupassant was a great French writer. He was one of the best short story writers in the world. He was a representative of the naturalist school of writers. He depicted human lives often in pessimistic terms. He wrote more than three hundred stories. He also wrote novels, travel books, and poetry.
Theme of the Story
The story of ‘The Necklace’ is a satire that gives a strong message on human values. The very first thing that this lesson teaches us is that everyone should be content in life with whatever little that he has. One should live within one’s means or else he invites unnecessary problems, anxieties, and confusion in life. The most important message of the story is that we should be what we are. False pride or show-off is the cause of our sufferings. Mrs. Loisel had lost the necklace that she had borrowed from her friend and instead of confessing it to the owner, she got into more debt and poverty in order to repay the amount. The story tells us about the negative effects of pride and vanity and emphasizes the importance of being content with what one has.
Summary of The Necklace
The story ‘The Necklace’ was written seven hundred years ago by Guy De Maupassant in France. Matilda Loisel lived in a small flat with her husband who worked as a clerk for the Minister of Education. Matilda was a very pretty young lady. Neither did they live a luxurious life nor were they poor. Matilda was very unhappy because she always thought that she was born for all luxuries in the world but she had to live a petty and simple life.
One day, her husband brought an invitation to a dinner party organized by his office. He thought his wife would be excited but instead, she was upset. She complained that she had nothing suitable to wear to such a great occasion. Her husband generously agreed to give her four hundred francs that he had saved to buy a new rifle to get herself a dress. Matilda became anxious in the week of the party. On asking her she told her husband that she had no jewelry to wear with her gown. He suggested that perhaps she could borrow something from her friend Jeanne Forestier. Jeanne heard her story of distress and she generously opened her box of jewels. Matilda borrowed a sparkling diamond necklace.
Matilda and her husband attended the gala and had a great time. Matilda looked very pretty, elegant, and graceful. Everyone at the party noticed her and they all wanted to be introduced to her. She was so glorified by her beauty that she became very careless. They arrived home in the early hours of the morning. When Matilda viewed her glory in the mirror, she realized the necklace was missing. They searched for it everywhere in the house. They wondered if it fell in the cab that brought them home but neither of them noticed the number. Matilda’s husband went out to search the streets but returned empty-handed. He also went to the policeman and to the cab offices to raise a complaint. He advertised in the newspaper and offered a reward. To buy some time from Jeanne, Matilda wrote a letter that she broke the clasp of the necklace and so she sent it for repair. In the meantime, they found a similar kind of necklace. The cost of the necklace was thirty-six thousand francs. Her husband inherited eighteen thousand francs from his father and he borrowed the rest of the amount from the moneylenders. Finally, they purchased the necklace and Matilda gave it to Jeanne who did not care to look at it.
Matilda’s life changed dramatically in the next ten years. They moved to a much smaller apartment where she cooked and cleaned herself. Her husband did multiple jobs and she also did other work to pay all the money they had borrowed. After ten years, they were able to pay all the money back but by then Matilda had aged a lot.
One day, Matilda met Jeanne Forestier. She decided to confess the truth about the necklace. Jeanne was surprised to see Matilda’s state. Matilda told her that she had lost the necklace that she borrowed from her and had to pay a huge amount for the replacement. Jeanne was shocked to hear the entire story behind the necklace and she confessed that the necklace Matilda borrowed was a fake, which was not more than worth five hundred francs.
The lesson of the story is ‘Honesty is the best policy’. If Matilda honestly told her friend the truth about the necklace, she would have learned that the necklace wasn’t made of real diamonds and that would have saved her from living a miserable life for ten years.
Q1. What Kind of a Person is Mrs. Loisel? Why is She Always Unhappy?
Ans. Mrs. Loisel was a young, pretty, and ordinary but discontented woman. She was of a simple and ordinary background but dreamed of riches and comforts. She was proud of her beauty and wanted to be admired. Her meager resources were not enough to satisfy her expensive cravings, making her angry all the time.
Q2. How Did Mrs. Loisel Manage to Buy a Diamond Necklace to Return it to Jeanne Forestier? What Were the Consequences?
Ans. Mr. and Mrs. Loisel spent all their savings, i.e., eighteen thousand francs which Mr. Loisel inherited from his father. They borrowed the rest of the money from usurers at high interest. They had to arrange thirty-six thousand francs for the new diamond necklace. All this ruined their life. They rented a small room in the attic and they had to let their maid go. Matilda did all the household chores herself and also did odd jobs besides. Mr. Loisel had to do multiple jobs to save money. He worked late at night after office hours, putting the books of some merchants or to copy pages at five soups a page to earn extra money.
Q3. What would have Happened to Matilda, if She Had Confessed to Her Friend that She had Lost Her Necklace?
Ans. If Matilda were honest then she would have been saved from her doom. If only she had the courage to confess to her friend about the truth of the necklace, she would have come to know that the necklace was not made of real diamonds and that it was only worth five hundred francs. She would not have spent her husband’s entire savings that he had inherited from his father and borrowed eighteen thousand francs to pay for its replacement. In fact, she would have saved herself and her husband from ten long years of miserable life.
Q4. What Kind of a Husband was Mr. Loisel?
Ans. Mr. Loisel was a simple man and he was a clerk in the office of the Board of Education. He knew his limitations but he was very generous and kind to sacrifice his savings to make his wife happy. He was a caring and loving husband who always stood by his wife.