Literary Analysis for "The Necklace"

Guy de Maupassant’s short story “The Necklace,” is formed around the loss of a diamond necklace. Mathilde Loisel losses her friend Mme.

Forester’s necklace at a party her and her husband attended. The Loisel’s have to change their lifestyles in order to pay off the debt needed to buy a new necklace for Mme. Forester. The conflict the Loisel’s face between paying off the debt and the characterization of Mathilde, contributed to the overall theme of the story. The story has two main themes. One is to be honest with people and the other is to be content with what you have.

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The conflict between the Loisel’s having to pay off the debt contributed to the theme. The guilt that Mathilde faced made her want to repay Mme. Forester since she lost her necklace. M. Loisel said, “The frightful debt must be paid.

And she [Mme. Loisel] would pay it” (5). This type of conflict is external conflict. The Loisel’s have to change their lifestyle just to pay off the debt. This conflict supports the theme because they have to stress about paying the debt, but if they would have told her that they lost the necklace they wouldn’t have to stress. The thousands of Francs they owe impacts them greatly.

The couple was afraid to tell their friend about the necklace. Loisel told his wife, “You must write to your friend that you have broken the clasp of her necklace and that you are having it repaired. That will give us time to turn around” (4). Mathilde has to make excuses and lie in order to hide the missing necklace to get more time to pay off the debt. This is external conflict also.

It enables the theme because thehide information from Mme. Forester instead of telling the truth. This costs the couple greatly. Conflict was a major part in contributing to the theme but it’s not the only literary term that contributes to this thought. Characterization of Mathilde helped contribute to the overall theme also.

The author describes her as “One of those pretty charming girls, born by a blunder of destiny in a family of employees” (1). The characterization the author uses here is direct. He is telling us that she is pretty, charming, and born into a family of destiny. Because of these attributes, she wants to live up to these expectations. She wants to look pretty and charming, so she desires to have a pretty necklace to wear to the party. Her greed and desire to be pretty, costs her after she loses the necklace.

De Maupassant tells us that, “She had no dresses, no jewelry, nothing. And she loved nothing else; she felt herself made for that only. She would so much have liked to be pleased, to be envied, to be seductive and sought after” (1). This quote shows the reader direct characterization of Mathilde. De Maupassant tells readers she has no jewelry or expensive things.

It’s also indirect because he’s clueing readers in that she isn’t wealthy, and wants to be popular and attractive. Readers can tell that she desires to look good and have fancy clothing. Popularity and being envied is all that she has ever loved. Characterization and conflict both helped display the overall theme in the story, “The Necklace”. Literary devices are used in most stories, in “The Necklace”, characterization and conflict were the major ones present.

These two devices helped convey the plot and the theme of the story. Both helped show the reader the theme which is to be honest and upfront with people or else it could cost you.