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Things Are Not Always What they Seem in The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

Decent Essays
The well-known proverb says, “Things are not always what they seem.” The line betwixt perception and reality can not only be hard to discover, but can hide major differences between the two. What we believe about our world, both on a material and philosophical level, can be far from the truth. Nowhere is this fact more evident than in the classic short story, The Necklace, written by Guy de Maupassant. The Necklace successfully shows that ones' perception and reality often are not even close to being the same. This essay will prove this to be true by exploring the theme of perception versus reality through the three literary elements of character, irony, and symbolism. The most obvious way that the theme is found in the story is…show more content…
She believes that she must look equal to all the others at the party, and thus must dress the same, down to the necklace. This prideful aspect of her character once again demonstrates the theme of the story. The reality is that the Loisel's are a simple middle class family. Yet Madame Loisel attempts to make those around her at the party perceive her as wealthy, higher class, and therefore “happy.” In chasing after one falsehood she perpetrates another. Thus, a careful look at the character of Madame Mathilde Loisel reveals the underlying theme of the story. She is either herself confused with reality due to her perceptions of the classes and happiness, or she is trying to fool others into thinking she belongs to the upper crust and is thus hiding the reality of who she really is. The idea of the way things are perceived versus the way they actually are is also exposed by the use of irony within the story. Firstly, we can see clear examples of dramatic irony, which combats the character's expectations against what the reader can see to be the truth. Madame Loisel sees the higher classes as happier and better, while whenever she thinks of her own level, she feels miserable. Her very attempts to become more like the upper classes is the very means by which she falls even lower than before. This ironic situation just shows that while she perceived that being more like the wealthy would make her happier, in reality it just led to
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