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What are three quotes that shows Mathilde Loisel materialism and selfishness? List...

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littledots23 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 28, 2012 at 12:15 AM via web

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What are three quotes that shows Mathilde Loisel materialism and selfishness?

List three quotations with explanations illustrating Mathilde Loisel's materialistic attitude and her selfishness in "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant.

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 20, 2012 at 8:20 PM (Answer #1)

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Guy de Maupassant’s intriguing story “The Necklace” features an unusual protagonist.  Mathilde Loisel could also serve as the antagonist in the story since she is her own worst enemy. 

Mathilde has a home, a servant, and her wonderful husband.  Her parents were poor.  She entered her marriage without a dowry [which was unusual for the times].  These are things for which she should have been grateful to her husband.

Mathilde’s personal characteristics were not admirable.  She was pretty on the outside, but what was inside Mathilde was somewhat despicable. She was not satisfied with any part of her life.  Her determination of success was entirely materialistic. 

  • She dressed plainly.
  • She wanted luxuries that her husband could not afford.
  • She was angry all of the time because she felt that she deserved more.
  • She wanted to be sought after.
  • She did not appreciate her husband.

Quotations illustrating Mathilde Loisel’s materialism

(1) “The sight of the little Breton peasant, who did her humble housework aroused in her regrets which were despairing, and distracted dreams.”

Coming from a family of clerks, it is doubtful that she grew up with servants to wait on her.  Her husband is also a clerk.  It is surprising that they can afford to have a servant at all.  At least, she has a servant.  How ungrateful!  Mathilde is even uncomplimentary toward her servant.  The lady must have been from a farm in Brittany.  Mathilde does not deserve to have someone who does her work for her because she does not appreciate it.

(2) “The day of the ball drew near, and Mme. Loisel seems sad, uneasy and anxious.”

“What is the matter? Come, you’ve been so queer these last three days.”

“It annoys me not to have a single jewel, not a single stone, nothing to put on.  I should almost rather not go at all.”

When the husband brought home the invitation to the ball, he was so excited because he thought it would please her.  She immaturely told him to give it to someone else that had a dress to wear.  To please her, he gives her the four hundred francs that he had been saving to buy a gun. 

Mathilde buys her dress, yet she is still unhappy because she has no jewels to wear. Every suggestion that the husband makes is rejected.  Finally, he reminds Mathilde of her friend who has a lot of jewelry. 

Nothing seems to be good enough for Mathilde.  Her husband is quite a man to put up with her foolish attitudes. 

(3)  Her husband threw over her shoulders the wraps which he had brought whose poverty contrasted with the elegance of the ball dress.  She wanted to escape so as not to be remarked by the other women, who were enveloping themselves in costly furs.

Mathilde had a great time at the ball.  Her dress was beautiful, and she was admired by everyone.  When it is time to go home, her husband has been waiting for her in the coat room.  He places the wrap around her to keep her warm;  however, she is embarrassed by it because the other ladies were putting on furs.  Rather than wait on her husband to get a cab, she runs out of the building so that no one will see her coat. 

This is the time that she discovers that she has lost the necklace. After this, life is not easy for Mathilde.  She has to face up to her responsibilities, and she does grow and change.  If Mathilde had not been so unhappy, possibly none of the pathetic things that happened to her after the necklace is lost would have occurred.

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