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In The Necklace, compare and contrast what Madam Loisel was like before she lost the...

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strozier40 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 19, 2007 at 3:47 AM via web

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In The Necklace, compare and contrast what Madam Loisel was like before she lost the necklace and years later after she lost it.

Please give me some ideas of how she was before losing the necklace until she repaid the debt years later.

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted July 19, 2007 at 5:54 AM (Answer #1)

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Prior to losing the necklace, Madame Loisel wanted to be part of the upper class, feeling that money and nice things would somehow make her a better person. She's beautiful and feels she is "born for every delicacy and luxury" life has to offer. When she's invited to the ball, she's afraid her drab wardrobe isn't good enough to wear to the ball. She borrows a necklace from Madame Forestier for the ball and has the best night of her life at the ball. She loses the borrowed necklace and is afraid to tell her friend she lost the necklace. She replaces it with a diamond necklace that takes Madame Loisel many years to pay off. During that time, she lives in poverty. She loses all of her physical beauty due to all of her hard work.

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted July 19, 2007 at 10:42 PM (Answer #2)

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In considering comparison and contrast, it is useful, after identifying the similarities and differences, to ask the “so what?” question.  In other words, what is the thematic significance to how she is described at the beginning and how she is described at the end as a result of her experiences, namely, losing the necklace and living in poverty to pay for it?  Or, what is the significance in character?  Does she really change?  Madame Loisel tells her friend, "Yes, I have had a pretty hard life, since I last saw you, and great poverty--and that is  because of you!"  If she has lived a life of poverty, has she become more humble, changed her understanding of what is important in life, changed her values?  The irony of course is that she suffered to pay back something that she thought had value and did not.  Does this sentence, then, suggest to us that she now understands the meaning of value? While you need to think this out for yourself, I think that she does not, that her voice is full of resentment, and so her values in fact have not changed at all, she is every bit as superficial and vain at the end of the story as she is at the beginning.

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charms123 | Student , Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 7, 2011 at 6:04 AM (Answer #3)

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Before losing the necklace, she felt status was important and having luxuries was a significant thing in life. She was an unsatisfied, greedy and self-consience women. However, after losing the necklace, she became even more unhappy becuase she had to pay back for the replaced necklace. She worked very hard and instead became a very thrifty person.

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