Madame Loisel wants to be wealthy, but she is really just the wife and daughter of a clerk.
In the first six paragraphs of the story, Mathilde is described as being pretty but poor.
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.
As a result, Mathilde “suffered ceaselessly” because she wanted the finer things in life and could not afford them. She longed for pretty dresses, nicer furniture, and a better flat. She had “no jewels, nothing” and was not happy about it.
What makes matters worse is that she had a friend who was rich. This was a woman she had gone to school with. The disparity between herself and her friend frustrates her, and makes her even sadder and more depressed.
The first six paragraphs describes Mathilde's point of view in a third-person sort of way, but we do not develop sympathy for her. She comes across as a whiny and selfish woman who wants what she can't have for no particular reason other than the fact that she thinks she deserves it.