The Symbolism of the Necklace in The Necklace
Authors choose to use symbols for various reasons in short stories. It is a way for them to use on object or idea to convey many different meanings to the audience. In “The Necklace,” the author Guy de Maupassant uses a very lavish looking necklace as his main symbol. The necklace helps defining what type of woman Mme. Loisel is. It also acts as the central conflict of the story. The symbolism that is used throughout this story is crucial to revealing the theme and understanding the main character.
From the beginning of the story Mathilde seems to have a chip on her shoulder as if she has been done an injustice because of who she is married to. The time period, in which this story was set, the only way a women could move up the class scale was to marry a man who came from wealth. Ironically, Mme. Loisel’s husband is a clerk just like her father was. She longs to be rich. Her mind is concentrated on being in the social circle and living a life surrounded by everything that is fine and exclusive. She is greedy and unhappy with her modest but still quite tolerable lifestyle. It is illustrated beautifully in the passage where she describes her intolerable “worn out chairs” and “ugly curtains.” In the very next breath she speaks of her “little Breton peasant who does her humble house work” (Maupassant 178). When her husband comes upon the opportunity to go out for an evening to a ball, he assumes his wife would be overjoyed. Instead, she relishes in thoughts of looking poor among the rich. Try as he might there is no pleasing his deprived wife.
She quickly finds the solution to her anxieties, through a long time school friend. Mme. Forestier represents everything that Mme. Loisel wishes she could be; rich and popular in the social scene. Her friend, without a second thought, agrees to loan Mathilde a diamond necklace from her collection. The night of the ball went of without a hitch. “Mme. Loisel made a great success. She was prettier than them all, elegant, gracious, smiling, and crazy with joy” (Maupassant 180). Everything that she could have wished for was represented by this infamous evening; the necklace made it happen. “All the men looked at her, asked her name, endeavored to be introduced.” She danced, and received...