At the beginning of "The Necklace," why is Madame Loisel constantly unhappy?

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Despite hailing from a long line of humble clerks, Mathilde has got it into her head that she's actually descended from aristocrats. As far as she's concerned, this entitles her to better things. She compares her ideal life as a lady of quality with the actual life she leads as the wife of a minor government official, very much to the latter's detriment. Simply put, Mathilde wants so much more out of life than she's currently getting. She aspires to wealth and social prominence, which is why she sees the forthcoming Education Ministry ball as a potential entrée into the upper echelons of French society. Mathilde is convinced that if she can only get her hands on some fancy jewelry then she'll make a lasting impression, allowing everyone to see her for the natural aristocrat she believes herself to be.

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Madame Loisel is unhappy with her lot in life. She lives comfortably well as the wife of a public clerk, but she constantly wants more grandeur in her life. She always felt that she should have been born into an aristocratic and wealthy family. That way she could have beautiful clothing, fancy furniture, and could attend the most important social events. She feels entitled to the finer things in life, but due to her middle-class status, these things are forever out of her reach. Every time she encounters a reminder that some people live more glamorous lives than her, Madame Loisel enters a deep depression that lasts for days. She wants other people to envy her, but she knows that few people of means are jealous of the wife of a bureaucrat. In short, wanting a life she could not have with all its luxuries instead of being satisfied with the comfortable life she already has fills Madame Loisel with constant unhappiness.

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