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Please compare the reality of Madame Loisel's real life with her daydreams in "The...

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kmdl | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 8, 2011 at 6:13 PM via web

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Please compare the reality of Madame Loisel's real life with her daydreams in "The Necklace."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 10, 2011 at 8:32 PM (Answer #1)

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"The Necklace" is a story about discontentment and wanting what you cannot have. As the story opens, we are presented with a character who is unable to accept all the many good things she has and resorts to living in daydreams so that she can actually attain that which she so much desires. In thinking about this contrast, clearly you will want to focus on how the reality of Madame Loisel's life is presented and how it is juxtaposed or placed next to her dreams:

She grieved over the shabbiness of her apartment, the dinginess of the walls, the worn-out appearance of the chairs, the ugliness of the draperies. All these things, which another woman of her class would not even have noticed, gnawed at her and made her furious. The sight of the little Breton girl who did her humble housework roused in her disconsolate regrets and wild daydreams. She would dream of silent chambers, draped with Oriental tapestries and lighted by tall bronze floor lamps, and of two handsome butlers in knee breeches, who, drowsy from the heavy warmth cast by the central stove, dozed in large overstuffed armchairs.

This, of course, is but one example of her daydreams, but note how her daydreams are inspired by an improvement on what she has and is so dissatisfied with. Thus it is that the "little Breton girl" is compared with "two handsome butlers" and the "worn-out chairs" are transformed into "large overstuffed armchairs." Madame Loisel is repeatedly shown to be a character who is consumed by envy and a desire for what she does not have, that ironically does not allow her to enjoy the comfort that she does possess, because she is constantly hankering after more.

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