How is Mme. Loisel characterized in "The Necklace"?

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The beginning of the short story "The Necklace" written by Guy de Maupassant is interesting because it sets us up for our opinion of Mme Loisel later. We are deliberately told of her lower middle class status and a lifestyle that is similar to a lowly clerk's. Clearly, this girl has great ideas to better this!She thinks she's a beautiful woman worth " every delicacy and luxury." The author shows how this moulds her whole personality. She thinks that trivial materilaistic things such as a gown, better furniture, a posh house will make her happy. But her ball invite makes her sad because it reminds her of her shabby clothes and lack of jewels. She finally gets these and enjoys herselfat the ball, for one evening flaunting the appearance of wealth and beauty she believes she is worth. Then she can't own up to losing the jewelry, and spends the rest of her in poverty paying for a paste necklace and losing her looks.

jdslinky's profile pic

jdslinky | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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Mme. Loisel is characterized as a woman unhappy with her life because she feels she was meant to live a more glamorous one. From the beginning of the story, she imagines herself surrounded by finer things, even though her actual life is very ordinary.

When her husband comes home with the invitation to the party, Mme. Loisel initially refuses to go because she complains that she has nothing to wear. M. Loisel selflessly offers her his savings to buy a dress. She borrows the jewels that ultimately lead to her downfall.

At the party, she is the happiest she's ever been because she is viewed as a society woman in her beautiful dress and gorgeous jewels, (which is what she has believed she should be all along). She prolongs the evening, not wanting it to end, and then ultimately and irrevocably changes her and her husband's lives forever by losing the necklace.

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