Can you give me a fact and opinion of the story "The Necklace"?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Assuming that you want an example extracted from the story, on one fact and one opinion, let's see exactly where you need to look. 

As you may already know, opinions are constructs based on the feelings and and conjectures made by someone. Opinions are not to be corroborated, nor taken as actual events; they can even be optional when making a decision. Therefore, what you may want to do is look for events within the story where one or more characters is rendered prone to make a comment or statement reflecting their point of view. 

An example of such event is easily found at the beginning of the story. Maupassant tells us that Mathilde is, essentially, very miserable. She suffers "endlessly" because of her current social and financial condition. The author tells us that Mathilde wishes to be rich and opulent. Factually, she is described as someone who belongs to a lower-middle class and has always been so. Hence, this leads the reader to question exactly why Mathilde would be feeling so dejected over a situation that she has always experienced invariably? 

This clarified, let's see an example of what an opinion would be coming from the character of Mathilde:

She had no gowns, no jewels, nothing. And she loved nothing but that. She felt made for that. She would have liked so much to please, to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after.

This is an opinion based on Mathilde's own views of herself. Notice that she puts herself quite highly up there on her own pedestal, thinking that she was born for bigger and better things. Since none of this has any solid foundation of truth, it is to be instantly considered as an opinion. 

Another instance that is noteworthy is a comment Maupassant makes on women, in this same section. Maupassant, whose mother was quite domineering, was himself a ladies' man. When describing Mathilde as the "pretty thing" that happened to be born to a lower class system, he writes:

...with women there is neither caste nor rank, for beauty, grace and charm take the place of family and birth. Natural ingenuity, instinct for what is elegant, a supple mind are their sole hierarchy, and often make of women of the people the equals of the very greatest ladies.

Therefore, here is a great opinion that is placed "out there" in the story, where Maupassant takes a chance to describe his own views of women. It is an example that shows that Maupassant wished to introduce a part of himself into the narrative. 

In that same, first part a lot of facts are also told. Let's stick to a fact that serves to show that Mathilde's opinion of herself is both shallow and false. Maupassant tells us that Mathilde was born to a family of clerks and, as such, she cannot afford anything more than what her family has to offer. Hence, she cannot have the luxury of finding a rich husband because, by the social stipulations of the time, women were to come into a marriage with an amount of money meant to serve as a trade that shows, in good faith, that she, too, will bring benefits and riches into a family. Remember that women had no personal capital at this time, nor could hold jobs to support themselves. In order to be "worthy" of the expenses and sacrifices of married life, the more she could bring in, the better the match. 

She had no dowry, no expectations, no way of being known, understood, loved, married by any rich and distinguished man; so she let herself be married to a little clerk of the Ministry of Public Instruction.

Although Maupassant's fact may seem "opinionated", there is a lot of this tone in the narrative, which still does not take away from the fact that Mathilde is "one of those" women discussed, which has no dowry to offer into a "well-made" marriage. 

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