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What happens to Mathilde in the story "The Necklace" that results in her pychological...

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sexymama1267 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:31 PM via web

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What happens to Mathilde in the story "The Necklace" that results in her pychological suffering and analyze how Mathlide deals with the situation?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted June 9, 2012 at 11:11 PM (Answer #1)

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In "The Necklace," Madame Loisel "suffers incessantly." She feels she was born for the finer things in life. She complains about her "shabby walls." She complains about the worn furniture. She is not content:

Living modestly with her husband before the ball, Madame Loisel believes she is suffering a terrible injustice by having few luxuries.

No doubt, this has had a psychological effect on Mathilde Loisel. She suffers in her mind and heart.

It is Madame Loisel's desire to be part of the upper class which sets the story's events in motion. She is a beautiful woman who feels herself "born for every delicacy and luxury." Her belief that she is meant for better things than middle-class drudgery forms the core of her personality.

Madame Loisel believes she was born for the finer things in life. She lives everyday of her life psychologically upset. She lives a miserable existence. 

Then one day, Madame Loisel's husband brings home an invitation to a fancy ball. This causes Madame Loisel to suffer even more so than before. In her mind, she has nothing to wear. Even after her husband declares that he will give her 400 francs for a new dress, she complains that she has no jewels. Again, Madame Loisel suffers psychologically. 

Although Madame Loisel is suffering psychologically because she does not have fine jewels, her real suffering only begins after the ball. She had borrowed a diamond necklace from her friend Madame Forestier. After the ball, she realizes she has lost the borrowed necklace. She and her husband go in debt to replace the necklace. Now, the suffering really begins. They have to sell their modest home. They get rid of the maid and Madame Loisel learns what hard work is really all about. She scrubs floors, sloshing mopping water. She ruins her nails. She becomes old and haggard looking, working hard to pay off the debt of replacing the lost necklace. No doubt, Madame Loisel has really learned what poverty is. She has suffered for ten long years before she reveals to Madame Forestier the truth about losing and replacing her necklace. Madame Forestier can only sigh. She reveals that her necklace was a fake:

Years later, the two meet on the street. Madame Loisel has aged prematurely by toil and hardship, while Madame Forestier is "still young, still beautiful, still attractive.'' She does not recognize her old friend when they meet and is ‘‘deeply moved’’ when she learns that the Loisels had spent the last decade to replace a fake necklace. 

Truly, Madame Loisel has suffered physically and psychologically because of a necklace that was not real. 


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