Themes of “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant


The society within Maupassant’s story The Necklace is focused on vanity and does not consider a person’s hard work, choosing to dwell on material issues. Mathilde is fascinated by expensive items that women in her class cannot afford. She sees herself as invisible and feels elated to become the object of fascination at the palace of the Ministry’s party (Maupassant). The main character does not consider the implication of her longing as she uses up her husband’s inheritance while remaining nostalgic for being the center of a party ten years before the story ends. Mr. Loisel’s choice to go shooting with some people from the Ministry of Public instruction also requires extensive saving. The people in this story indicate how individuals are prone to live strenuous lives to impress others while failing to ascertain the importance of accepting one’s station to avoid detrimental purchases and a loss of money over frivolous issues to impress others (Maupassant). For instance, while Mrs. Loisel attracts people at the palace, she adopts a harsh lifestyle for ten years after losing a fake diamond necklace she could not afford to lose. Societal pressure and a need to fit in has detrimental consequences for the Loisel family.

Greed, Conformity, Societal Pressure in The Necklace by Maupassant

The Necklace subtly indicates different political, social, and economic issues affecting how people interact in the story. People in a high station within government institutions lives a varying life from their counterparts in lowly positions (Davis 47). For instance, Mr. Loisel has difficulty affording a gun and joining his colleagues hunting. These individuals go to shoot larks almost every Sunday while he has to save for a considerable amount of time to afford the activity (Maupassant). Individuals with a high social standing are likely to look down on those that conduct menial duties as Mrs. Loisel wounds up doing to pay off her debt. The main character’s friend, Madame Forestier, does not recognize her after ten years apart (Maupassant). Their economic difference makes it possible for the main character’s friend to pass off fake jewellery as original. This act leaves one to wonder how many high profile individuals act in a similar manner within the society while their less prosperous friends are envious of these accessories (Mooney and Evans 11). The author chooses to communicate these ideas because of their connection to the main story. For instance, politics and economics illustrate why the Loisel family experiences an economic and physical downturn from their loans while Mrs. Loisel does not cringe at the thought of the party that caused these issues.

Women in this society are dependent on their husbands to achieve fame and acquire expensive jewellery. In a way, their partner’s rank is responsible for their social position (Kippenhahn and Dunlop 58; Dobtraz 87). A woman with a rich husband has a larger role in society than her counterpart with a poor husband. Similarly, when Mrs. Loisel loses Madame Forestier’s necklace, her husband takes responsibility for these actions and takes loans or issues papers to pay back her debt (Maupassant). This illustration of a gender divide is synonymous with traditional life in societies. It allows one to discern the reason Madame Loisel felt inferior compared to her peers as these women did not have a lot of power, deriving strength from these interactions and their husbands.

Mathilde appears disillusioned about her station in life and partially blames Mr. Loisel for their predicament. While she was unable to find a rich husband to marry her, the narrator’s description of the events surrounding her marriage indicate some form of spite (Maupassant). She argues about going to the party despite her husband’s effort to get tickets illustrating a selfish and unappreciative trait. Mr. Loisel posits his capacity to forgive and understand his wife. While people at his office go to shoot larks every Sunday, an activity he intends to take advantage of, to ensure she is satisfied, he gives his savings to Mathilde to make her happy (Maupassant). Mathilde’s overambition leads her to lose their family inheritance while working or ten years to account for her blunder.

This story indicates a typical theme, power and its implication in society as people are willing to do anything to achieve it. In this first instance, Madame Loisel is unable to understand the privileges she enjoys compared to other women of her station (Maupassant). She fails to recognize this error and chooses fame over her family. In the long run, she forces her husband to give up his life savings. Her assertion that power is intricately tied to expensive products and services is shattered when she realizes that she gave Madame Forestier the wrong diamond necklace and her friend has been maintaining a fake while knowing. In this way, her thirst for power leads to her family’s problems for ten years. The author conforms to power dynamics as they are intricately woven in our society.

Symbolism is used in the story to depict the power of illusion. Madame Forestier’s fake necklace represents the chancer her friends has been anxious to own and use expensive things (Maupassant). Her necklace turns out to be fake, an issue that leads to a similar case as Cinderella experiences the same feeling before the clock hits midnight. Madame Forestier’s fake jewellery alludes to the impossible image her friend holds other people while looking down on her life.


In conclusion, The Necklace is a story that talks about greed, conformity, societal pressure, and a costly mistake that leads one to wonder about its connection with modern life. Comparing oneself to others invites ruin and should not happen as it requires one to consider their lives badly. Individuals should discern the importance of a devoted and loyal partner, counting it as a blessing and gift as opposed to material things. Fitting in illustrates that one has to struggle to get accepted, a concept that Madame Loisel showcases is dangerous for one’s wellbeing.

Works Cited

Bennett, Tanya Long. Writing and Literature: Composition as Inquiry, Learning, Thinking, and Communication. University of North Georgia Press, 2017.

Davis, Joseph E. Identity and Social Change. Routledge, 2011.

Dobratz, Betty A. Power, Politics, and Society: An Introduction to Political Sociology. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2019.

Kippenhahn, Rudolf, and Storm Dunlop. Discovering the Secrets of the Sun. John Wiley & Sons, 1994.

Maupassant, Guy de. “The Necklace.” Short Stories and Classic Literature, 1984, Web.

Mooney, Annabelle, and Betsy E. Evans. Language, Society and Power: An Introduction. Routledge. Taylor Et Francis Group, 2019.

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