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What is the author's purpose for this story, "The Necklace?"

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bsam | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:19 PM via web

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What is the author's purpose for this story, "The Necklace?"

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:50 PM (Answer #1)

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The author’s purpose in the necklace is to persuade readers to be true to themselves.

The author’s purpose is usually to inform, entertain or persuade.  In fiction, the author’s purpose is related to the theme of the story, a mixture of entertaining and persuading.

“The Necklace” is about a vain woman, Mathilde, who borrows a necklace from a friend, Madame Forestier so she can go to a fancy party.  She loses the necklace and they replace it with a similar one from a jeweler. She and her husband spend ten years working to repay their debts, and in that time Mathilde loses the only wealth she had: her beauty.  She meets her friend after ten years, who comments that she looks aged.  She explains about working to repay the necklace, and Madame Forestier tells her the necklace was a fake.

This is a perfect example of irony.  Mathilde, in her vanity, loses the only wealth she has in pursuit of rising above her station.  The fact that she goes broke replacing a fake necklace with a real one is not lost on readers.  The theme of the consequences of not being true to yourself comes out loud and clear.  Irony is very persuasive. 

 

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wshoe | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:43 PM (Answer #2)

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The purpose of the short story "The Necklace" is to show the danger in the pursuit of material possessions.  Mathilde longs for status in society and is so worried about impressing others that she does not appreciate or enjoy what she actually has.  Because of her selfish desires, she and her husband are forced to spend many years working to play for a borrowed necklace that she lost.  After working ten years to pay off the debt, Mathilde learns the necklace was not real and that all of the years of hard work were wasted.

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