The Necklace, By Guy De Maupassant

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In Guy De Maupassant’s “The Necklace,” Mathilde is a 19th century French woman who desires a wealthier lifestyle than she can acquire. She is completely indulged in the material possessions of life and is focused on the items she does not have rather than what she owns. It seems her happiness is entirely dependent on wealth and status. She neglects her husband and is never content with what he can offer. Eventually, Mathilde’s struggles of envy, selfishness, and materialism drive her to poverty.
De Maupassant demonstrates Mathilde’s constant desire for other’s possessions. Mathilde is envious of the wealthy in every aspect of her life. De Maupassant describes her as a woman who is “as if by a mistake of destiny, born in a family of clerks” (68). The lack of wealth has led her to be miserable. De Maupassant shows this by saying, “[s]he suffered ceaselessly, feeling herself born for all the delicacies and all the luxuries” (68). She could never be happy because she was constantly observing the things she does not have. The envy even affects her social life with friends, and De Maupassant shows us that “[s]he had a friend, a former schoolmate at the covent, who was rich, and whom she did not like to go see because she suffered much when she came back” (68). The wealthy lifestyle is constantly on her mind; “…she thought of dainty dinners, of shining silverware…” (68). She also imagines “the long salons fitted up with ancient silk, of the delicate furniture carrying priceless

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