The Necklace Questions and Answers
by Guy de Maupassant

The Necklace book cover
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Discuss how the settings and changing circumstances in the story affect Madame Loisel’s choices. Record your ideas in a chart.

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Initially, in her home, Madame Loisel is quite unhappy. She cannot dress well because she is not rich, and so she "dressed plainly." She suffers "ceaselessly" because she cannot have the luxuries afforded by those with wealth, and she feels that her home is "wretched" and "worn-out" and ugly. Though, the narrator says, other women would not even be aware of the flaws Madame Loisel hates so much, she chooses to see them and refuses to be grateful for what she has. She only imagines what her rooms could look like with richer decorations and furnishings. Moreover, she has a friend with whom she went to school, though she chooses not to visit her anymore "because she suffered so much when she came back" to her own home and was forced to compare it with her friend's abode. She only decides to pay her friend a visit when she wants to borrow some jewelry.

After the fateful night of the party, however, and after Madame Loisel has lost the seemingly priceless necklace belonging to her friend, her life changes most dramatically. She can no longer make very many choices at all. They must downsize, moving to a smaller apartment. They must let their servant go.

However, Madame Loisel takes her part "all on a sudden, with heroism." She does heavy housework and her hands grow coarse and rough. She bears up under this debt better than she seemed to before it was acquired. She chooses to accept her responsibility with more grace and poise than she accepted her position before. It's an interesting irony that she is a more positive person when she is truly poor than when she only thinks she is.

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