Essay on The Necklace

Submitted By slok245
Words: 1073
Pages: 5

Luxury or Affordability: Mme. Loisel’s inner conflict in Maupassant’s The Necklace
In Maupassant’s “The Necklace” Mme. Loisel lives a comfortable and affordable middle-class lifestyle, but one that she criticizes and hopes to abandon; she dreams only to live within the silk walls that only a more lavish lifestyle could bring, a lifestyle she knows could never be hers. Mme. Loisel believes that she is made for a luxurious lifestyle and therefore longs the life of an upper-class woman. Mme. Loisel’s central conflict between longing a lavish and luxurious lifestyle and the bold truth of her mundane middle class reality is essential to a proper understanding of the story. Mme. Loisel views her life as a sad, uncomfortable, and unlivable poverty; However, she presumes that she is deserving of a grand lifestyle, which renders her incapable of appreciating the lifestyle that she has. She is described as someone who “suffers incessantly, feeling born for all delicacies and luxuries...she felt she was made for them” like someone born into royalty (172). She sees herself as someone who is granted these luxuries and does not have to work for them at all. People who do live lavish lifestyles work for their fortune, but Mme. Loisel believes she should be easily granted these luxuries in trade for her middle-class banal life. Moreover, Mme. Loisel disregards her reality and ends up hiding behind the truth when she is given the chance to ignore her own lifestyle. When she goes out into a ball specially held for the elite, she dresses herself from head to toe with a lavish costume, refusing to put on her “modest garments of every-day life” because she immediately felt shame (175). The physical juxtaposition of her reality and her utopia is a horrible reminder of the life she cannot have. Mme. Loisel can not come to terms with the notion that the luxurious lifestyle she so desires for is something she can never have. Instead of accepting the truth, she runs away from it, both literally and figuratively. The camouflage that she covers herself up with is a mental shield she hides behind to avoid the truth of her reality. Her “poverty” is something so disgusting to her she can not bear the idea of being judged by those of a higher class. Mme. Loisel is ashamed of her lifestyle when compared to the upper class because she knows she does not belong to that life, she longs for something she interprets as her birth right and when she is given a glimpse into this world she completely ignores the reality of her actual life. Furthermore, Mme. Loisel’s inner battle intensifies when she loses the necklace because she realizes that the consequences of losing that elegance is something she will have to make up for while living her reality of a middle-class woman. This is the first time Mme. Loisel’s reality finally hits her hard, enough to make her realize the certainty of her life. The losing of the necklace represents Mme. Loisel’s lost idea of an unattainable lifestyle. When Mme. Loisel lost the necklace she also lost her need for the world she has desired for all her life. During this ten year period of paying back the necklace she lost, she “now knew the horrible life of necessity” realizing the life she wanted was a life she could never have (176). Years of hard middle-class work is what Mme. Loisel needed for her to realize that her utopia was something she could never live. In addition to her already-conflicting battle between her necessities and wants, Mme. Loisel goes through her most intense and confusing inner battle in the whole story after finding out her ten year toil was done for nothing. Maupassant’s intentional abrupt ending to the story leads the readers to interpret their own resolution to the story. This time, instead of reverting back to her necessity of a high class lifestyle, Mme. Loisel learns that it is more important to accept and appreciate the lifestyle she has.