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Madame Loisel is consumed with a desire for material wealth. She is married to a working man who is content with his life. She longs for a life of luxury, with fancy clothes and jewels.
"She believes that superficial things—a ball gown, better furniture, a large house—will make her happy, and an invitation to a ball makes her miserable because it reminds her of her dowdy wardrobe and lack of jewels."
Emily, is a daughter of an aristocratic Southerner living in the pre-Civil War South. Her father has prevented her from marrying, finding all her suitors unworthy. When the South loses the war, and her father dies, Emily is left alone with a house in ruins and a life that is no longer relevant.
Madame Loisel and Emily both end up have unfulfilled lives. Neither has what she wants. One wants riches, the other a husband, each life is sacrificed for the mistaken idea that their lives are empty. Although Madame Loisel has a husband, she is not content, the pursuit of wealth and glamor ends up shaping her life. A life of hardship to repay the cost of the necklace.
Emily ends up murdering a man so she would not be alone. Desperate for a husband, she cannot allow Homer Barron to leave her, so she poisons him and spends many years sleeping next to a corpse.
Neither woman sees the value of the life she has, but rather imagines that she has missed out on the life she deserved.
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