When did the story "The Necklace" take place?
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According to enotes' page on the historical context of the short story "The Necklace," "Monsieur Loisel is a civil servant under the...'ministre de l'Instruction publique,' or Minister of Public Instruction."
This organization was formed to more actively enforce a separation of church and state by creating non-religous public schools. These schools were made law in 1881, so if Monsier Loisel worked in the public school system, it would date the story sometime in the late 1800's. It is likely that it was set in the same time frame that it was first published, in 1884.
This date would also correspond with the literary movements reflected in the story. Around 1850 the themes of literature shifted from romance adventures to realism and naturalism. "The Necklace" is certainly an example of realism, which depicts characters who are less archetypal and more realistic, with real shortcomings and situations like Madame Mathilde Loisel.
While there are no historical references that give an exact date for the setting the Franc was used in France before 1999 until the establishment of the euro and in the story the “little girl from Brittany” is mentioned and Brittany is in France so we know where but not when.
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