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Literary Analysis Essay of 'The Necklace' by Guy de Maupassant

0 August 08 2014, 13:57 in Literary Essay

Literary Analysis Essay of ‘The Necklace’ by Guy de Maupassant

Guy de Maupassant’s ‘the Necklace’ is a short story that describes the tale of Mathilde Loisel and the experience she had with a diamond necklace. In providing context, de Maupassant introduces Mathilde’s character as one who is not happy about her social standing. More often than not, she is described as someone who aspires to get material things such as fancy jewelry and clothing. She believes that these possessions remain to be important for her to maintain her desirability (de Maupassant 1). As the story progresses, Mathilde suddenly faced the problem of replacing the lost diamond necklace she borrowed from Madame Forestier. It is through this experience that she and her husband struggled to pay off their debt only to find out in the end that their efforts were futile because the diamonds were not real.

Looking closely, the setting of the story was set in 19th century France where social standing remained to be evident particularly on the manner that a woman dressed and possessed material things. Using the point of view by Mathilde, readers are able to understand her viewpoints and consider the reasons as to why she continues to strive for material things and social events (Bernardo 1). Equally, the story also showcases the use of symbolism and literary devices such as irony to offer lessons to readers. For instance, by using descriptions between Mathilde and her high class counterparts, de Maupassant is able to connect to readers and help them appreciate that there is more to life than material wealth and possessions.

The short story can also be analyzed with de Maupassant use of symbolisms in the story. The most evident is of course the necklace that Mathilde borrowed from Madame Forestier. This remains to be an important instrument in telling the story. It shows that beyond the elegance and prestige associated with this jewelry remains to be nothing more than just a material accessory used by people (Drusset 1). Since Mathilde was so fixated with trying to replace the diamond necklace, it led to her miserable life. In addition, due to her inability to accept her current social position it eventually led to her downfall. The necklace clearly remains to be a symbolism of man’s continued reliance and hold to material things. Rather than focusing on the intangible things, it becomes a motivation that people seek to pursue. This remains to be the case for Mathilde that eventually led to further problems.

Lastly, there is de Maupassant’s use of irony in the story. This remains to be manifested in the ending of the story when Madame Forestier revealed that the diamond necklace was a fake. Seeing this, it particularly shows that looks can be deceiving especially for material things. Arguably, this can also be the case of Mathilde as she continues to try to act beyond her position and thus resulted to further problems and the couple suffering to pay off their debt only to find out that their efforts through the years were futile and unnecessary.

In the end, ‘the Necklace’ by Guy de Maupassant remains to be a good story due to his ability to utilize different literary elements to express his point. By using symbolism, he is able to portray the relevance of the necklace to Mathilde’s character. Equally, the application of irony in the end offers readers to appreciate the lessons he seeks to impart and highlights that there are far more important things other than material possessions. Though it might be a sad ending for Mathilde, it serves as an example to readers about potential consequences of such actions.

Works Cited

Bernardo, Karen. ‘An Analysis of Guy de Maupassant’s ‘The Necklace’ Storybites. 2006. Web.

Accessed 13 July 2014.

de Maupassant, Guy. ‘The Necklace’ The Short-Story: Specimens Illustrating its Development,

Brander Matthews, Ed. New York: Bartleby, 2000. Print.

Drusset, Alana. ‘Literary Analysis the use of Symbolism in the Necklace by Guy de Maupassant’

Humanities 360, 11 Mar. 2008. Web. Accessed 14 July 2014.


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