How does Mathilde's pride result in suffering in the short story, "The Necklace"?Please help. THANKS in advance!

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bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Although Mathilde Loisel was "pretty and charming... she had no dowry, no expectations," and yet she is never satisfied with the life she lives. She is "unhappy" and "suffered ceaselessly" because she feels that somehow her "beauty, grace and charm" should "take the place of family and birth." She constantly laments over all of the things she could never have but feels she deserves, and complains bitterly to her husband over the family's poor financial status. When, at last, her husband presents her with an invitation to an evening gala, Mathilde is still unsatisfied because she has nothing appropriate to wear. Even when her husband allows her to buy a gown with the money he has been saving to purchase a gun, she complains even further.

The solution, her husband decides, is to borrow jewels from her good friend, Madame Forestier, and, at last, Mathilde is happy. On the big night, she proves to be the belle of the ball, but at the end of the evening, she reverts to her old, unhappy self. The evening takes an even more drastic turn when Mathilde discovers that she has lost her friend's borrowed necklace. Mathilde's pride will not allow her to admit the accidental loss to Madame Forestier, so she and her husband buy time until they can arrange to purchase a replacement. For the next 10 years, they live the life of paupers in order to pay for the necklace which, of course, turns out to be made of paste. She loses her home, pride and looks while learning what suffering and misery really is. 

scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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If Mathilde's pride did not hinder her from noticing and appreciating her husband's generosity and selflessness (he gives up money he has been saving for a weapon for her new dress), then she would cherish her relationship with him and would have never been put in the position of working away her health for a necklace that she borrowed for appearance sake. Instead, her pride causes her to borrow the necklace in the first place; her pride blinds her to the fact that not everything is as it appears (the necklace is fake), and her pride keeps her from confessing to her friend that she lost the necklace.  If only Mathilde had humbled herself and informed the necklace's owner that she lost the necklace, she could have still saved herself a life of misery.

chahal's profile pic

chahal | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Madame Loisel always craves for luxurious life.This extravagent yearning of her leads her into a miserable life .Her desire of wearing an elegant jewellery in the ball and therefore borrowing it from her rich friend then losing it ,makes her life a virtual hell.Her pride also prevents her from telling the fact of having lost the so called precious necklace to her friend .This way she was trapped in her own desires and pride.

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