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What is the internal or external conflict, if any, in "The Necklace?"  

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vorona1 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:22 PM via web

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What is the internal or external conflict, if any, in "The Necklace?"

 

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:45 PM (Answer #1)

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In "The Necklace," the internal conflict lies in the fact that Madame Loisel is embarrassed by her poverty. However, that internal conflict is caused by an outer, social struggle of class conflict.

While she is physically beautiful, and married to an understanding husband, she believes that the key to her happiness lies in expensive necklaces, balls and the luxuries that come with being rich. You can't blame the poor for wanting to be better off, or wanting to be rich for that matter. So, this story is certainly a statement about class consciousness and the internal struggles that are caused by societies with rigidly defined class structures.

That being said, the internal struggle, Madame Loisel's, is partly her own construction. Sure, one can sympathize with her desire for a more comfortable lifestyle. But she is obsessed with the idea that rich people are generally more happy and she's obsessed with how other people see her. Therefore, she augments her internal conflict because she is unable to find happiness in her own conception of herself and in the joys of life that have nothing to do with money or the culturally constructed, and therefore "made up," images in the heirarchy of social positions.

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