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How is Mathilde presented in "The Necklace"?

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julius-caesar-s | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 8, 2012 at 8:16 AM via web

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How is Mathilde presented in "The Necklace"?

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dmcgillem | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted January 8, 2012 at 7:30 PM (Answer #1)

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In Guy de Maupassant's story "The Necklace," Mathilde Loisel is presented to the reader as a woman in a constant state of unhappiness.  She focuses on the "poverty of her rooms," and the lack of the type of wardrobe she felt she should have, for "those were the only things she loved."  Never does she reflect with gratitude on the fact that she has the means to employ a cleaning woman while she herself does not work, or that she has a husband who is hard-working and thinks of her happiness.  Her dissatisfaction and envy even keep her from maintaining a friendship because the stark difference that she perceives between their financial situations cause her such misery.  She is presented as such an unsympathetic character that the reader doesn't even feel sorry for her when the necklace is lost and she must begin a ten-year struggle to pay back the money she and her husband were forced to borrow to replace it.    Guy de Maupassant presents Mathilde Loisel as a proud, vain, ungrateful woman who suffers not because of some strange twist of fate, but as a direct result of her character flaws.

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