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What is Mathilde's problem in "The Necklace"?

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babycakes | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 19, 2008 at 1:55 AM via web

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What is Mathilde's problem in "The Necklace"?

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lnorton | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted February 19, 2008 at 2:13 AM (Answer #1)

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Mathilde, a woman unhappy with her social standing (lower middle class), has the chance to attend a ball with her husband. They stretch their funds to buy her a dress, but she is saddened because she doesn't have any jewelery. An old school friend, Madame Foster, loans Mathilde a necklace to wear to the event; during the course of the evening, Mathilde loses the necklace. She and her husband spend their inheritance and borrow a great deal of money to replace the piece of jewelery, and spend most of the rest of their lives working off the debt. At the end of the story, Mathilde discovers (via Madame Foster), that the necklace was made of paste, and worth very little. 

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Susan Woodward | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 19, 2008 at 2:14 AM (Answer #2)

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Mathilde's first problem in Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace" is that she is disatisfied with her position in life.  She wants to have expensive clothes and jewels, but her husband cannot afford to provide these things for her.  The Loisels are not poor, but they are not of the social status that Mathilde wants.

Her second problem is that she borrows a necklace and then loses it.  The problem isn't so much the lost necklace, but she does not admit to her friend Mme. Forestier (the owner of the necklace) that she lost it.  She instead says that she is having it repaired while she and her husband frantically try to come up with the money to purchase a brand new necklace.  They borrow from everyone they know, and it then takes ten years to pay off the debt.  If Mathilde had not been so full of pride and had admitted the loss to her friend right away, Mathilde would have learned that the necklace was a fake and not worth very much.  I would have to say, then, that her tragic flaw is her pride.

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 19, 2008 at 2:23 AM (Answer #3)

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Mathilde has several problems in the story, but all of them stem from her dis-contentedness with her station in life. She desires to be wealthy, beautiful, admired, and envied. She believes that she was meant to be these things and that somehow, somewhere along the way a mistake was made. She is not happy with anything in her life and her life is not meager by any means. She has a maid, but not enough. She has a house, but it's not fancy. She doesn't work, but she doesn't attend social functions. She has a husband, but he isn't good enough.

Because of her attitude toward her place in life she manages to get a fine gown and begs her husband for jewelry to match. He suggests she borrow and she borrows a "diamond" necklace from her rich friend Mme. Forestier. Upon losing the necklace Mathilde's pride will not admit the fact to her friend and she and her husband go into debt for 10 years so that they can replace what they thought was a pricey necklace. She becomes poor, she drops several stations in life. She works, she loses what beauty she had, she lives a life of poverty. When she meets Mme. Forestier on the street she tells her how the necklace changed her life and Mme. Forestier reveals to her that the necklace was a fake. She learned her lesson the hard way!

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jazlyn | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted September 30, 2008 at 3:14 AM (Answer #4)

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she used one of her freinds necklace to wear ti the ball but when she came home the necklace was not on her neck she must have lost it so they went to go trace there steps to go see if they saw it but they did not find it so they went to go she if they can buy a other one to replace it they found some where  they can buy it but it was going to take long they told her that it was being repaired it took long to give it back

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x3 | Student | eNoter

Posted October 7, 2008 at 5:45 AM (Answer #5)

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Because of her attitude toward her place in life she manages to get a fine gown and begs her husband for jewelry to match. He suggests she borrow and she borrows a "diamond" necklace from her rich friend Mme. Forestier. Upon losing the necklace Mathilde's pride will not admit the fact to her friend and she and her husband go into debt for 10 years so that they can replace what they thought was a pricey necklace. She becomes poor, she drops several stations in life. She works, she loses what beauty she had, she lives a life of poverty. When she meets Mme. Forestier on the street she tells her how the necklace changed her life and Mme. Forestier reveals to her that the necklace was a fake. She learned her lesson the hard way!

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x3 | Student | eNoter

Posted October 10, 2008 at 3:59 AM (Answer #6)

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1st she lost the neclace then she spent 10 years of her life saving money 4 the  one she lost

 

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viny | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted October 13, 2008 at 3:11 AM (Answer #7)

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she always seems to have self pity and, takes for grated what her husband gives her always wants more and more spends 10 years of her life working to repalce a necklace that she had lost that was fake to begen with and lies to her friend about loseing the necklace

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