"The Necklace": The Development of Ironyby Kimberly EdnieMrs. ConnollyENC 1102 M-W-F 9:00AMShort Story EssayJanuary 29, 1997Guy de Maupassant’s ;The Necklace; is situational irony written in 1884. The story was written in a time when there were very distinct social classesprimarily determined by one’s birth.
It is about a woman who can not come toterms with her position in the middle class. Although she knows she can notescape her class, she refuses to accept it gracefully. It is through Matildethat Maupassant develops the story’s irony. This is reflected throughMatilde’s daydreaming, which only serves to torment her, the loss of thenecklace borrowed for show, which only worsens their economic position, andfinally, their unnecessary sacrifice. The irony begins with Matilde’s frequent daydreaming.Order now
She is a beautifuland charming woman who feels ;herself destined for all delicacies and luxuries;(4). Fate, however, placed her among the middle class where life was verysimple. For her, the only means to a more affluent class was through herimagination. She dreams of ;large silent anterooms, expensive silks and ofachievement and fame that would make her the envy of all other women; (4). Whatshe fails to realize is that these daydreams only make her more dissatisfiedwith her real life. As a result, she becomes more focused on what she does nothave rather than what she does have.
Contributing to the irony is the borrowed necklace. Matilde’s husbandbrings a coveted dinner invitation home, and her first reaction is concern forappearances. She tells her husband that they can not possibly go because shehas "nothing to wear" (5). Her husband agrees to buy her a new dress. This,however, is not enough for Matilde; she needs jewelry. She explains that,without jewelry, she will appear "shabby in the company of rich women" (6).
Inher quest to present herself as a wealthy woman, she decided to borrow a "superbdiamond necklace" (6) from a friend. Unfortunately, upon arriving home,Matilde noticed that the necklace was lost. When the necklace can not be found,Matilde and her husband have no choice but to replace it. As a result,Matilde’s desire to appear part of the upper class has only succeeded in makingthem part of a lower one.
Without a doubt, the most ironic part of the story is the Loisel’sunnecessary sacrifice. The Loisel’s decide to replace the necklace withouttelling the owner of its loss. ;In a shop in the Palias-Royal, they found anecklace that seemed to them exactly like the one they were looking for; (8). They secure the thirty-six thousand for the necklace from Mr. Loisel’sinheritance and in the form of loans.
They struggle and live in poverty for tenyears to pay off the necklace. By now, Matilde looks old. "She had become thestrong, hard, and rude woman of poor households" (9). Matilde is walking alongthe Champs-Elysees when she encounters the friend who loaned her the necklace.
Her friend is shocked when Matilde finally tells her about the necklace. It isthen that Matilde learns that the necklace her and her husband toiled to replacewas only costume jewelry. Even among the rich there are apprearances to keep up. Maupassant, through irony, shows us that in pursuit of wealth or statusit is easy to forget what one already has to appreciate. Also, appearances arejust that, no matter what class you belong to. Because Matilde did notunderstand this, desire to rise above the middle class was replaced with adesire to merely rise above poverty.