Explain the beliefs, attitudes and values of Mme. Loisel (in "The Necklcae") concerning her station in life.

Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mathilde Loisel, from Maupassant's "The Necklace," believes that she should have been born into money. Give that she was not, she is forced to accept that her fate. She honestly believes that she should have been born into wealth, but fate insured something different.

The girl was one of those pretty and charming young creatures who sometimes are born, as if by a slip of fate, into a family of clerks. 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.

Extremely unhappy about her life, Mathilde dreads not only her life, but also her clothes. She does seem to believe that, given her rank in social class and her personal ideology, nothing matters but one's material possessions.

She dressed plainly because she could not dress well, but she was unhappy as if she had really fallen from a higher station; since 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.

Not only was Mathilde unhappy, she is also angry at her life.

Mathilde suffered ceaselessly, feeling herself born to enjoy all delicacies and all luxuries. She was distressed at the poverty of her dwelling, at the bareness of the walls, at the shabby chairs, the ugliness of the curtains. All those things, of which another woman of her rank would never even have been conscious, tortured her and made her angry.

Essentially, Mathilde believes that she should have been born into wealth, that she deserves a better life, the poverty she lives in is unfair, and her surroundings make her utterly miserable. Mathilde, ultimately, believes that she deserves a higher station in life (propelled by the wonderful time she has at the party--she believes that her life should always be like it is at the party).

cburbine | Student

Mme Loisel believes that she should be wealthy and glamorous. Her attitude with her husband is one of entitlement. She believes that if she looks rich then she will be rich. She believes in the illusion of wealth, and that it brings happiness. She values wealth and wants to be wealthy. This is why she asks her husband to buy her a new dress and jewelry for a ball her husband has been invited to. If she is dressed as a wealthy person, she will be treated as such. She believes wealth is the value one must have to be important and noticed in life. However, this attitude results in her losing everything.