Can anyone tell me the summary plot of "The Jewelry"?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Jewelry," not to be confused with "The Necklace" by the same author, is a short story that deals with the themes of deceit, social expectations, marital roles, and love.

The setting of the story is nineteenth-century Paris, and the main character is Monsieur Lantin, a clerk with the Ministry of the Interior. 

The rising action takes place during a party. There, Monsieur Lantin meets his ideal woman. She is a girl that comes from a "poor and decent" family, and she is in Paris hoping to meet a potential husband. At first sight, the girl "seemed like the perfect example of the virtuous woman,"  featuring "simple beauty" and a beautiful smile. Monsieur Lantin falls madly in love with her and sees her as a prime choice for a wife. Shortly after he meets her, he proposes to her, and they get married. 

The marriage goes very well, and the only things that he finds to be peculiar about his wife are her fixation on buying imitation jewelry and her love for attending the theater. He isn't too keen on the latter, so he encourages his wife to find companionship in other ladies. She does this, and each time she goes to the theater she wears her flashy jewels. They contrast a bit with her simple yet tasteful dresses. 

Years into the marriage, both Madame and Monsieur Lantin catch a "chest cold." However, Madame Lantin dies from it, while Monsieur Lantin is left penniless, and in despair, from the expenses that mounted up after her death. 

Finding no other way to make much-needed money, Monsieur Lantin goes on to sell his wife's fake jewelry. It is then that the climax of the story happens: He finds out that the jewels are not fake. In fact, they are all real and worth around 200 thousand francs. The implication of this, is that his wife may have been acquiring these jewels from male admirers. The method by which she motivated these men to gift her these expensive jewels is left to the reader's imagination. 

The falling action occurs when Monsieur Lantin, after suffering the despair and humiliation he endures when he learns about the source of the jewels, ends up selling and getting money from them. It is a good amount of money. He quits his job, enjoys himself, and even spends some nights with prostitutes. 

The ending of the story is that Monsieur Lantin remarries a woman who also seems like an example of virtuosity. However, she also has a "terrible temper." The last line of the story says that he was not happy with her. He may have fallen again for the false social expectation of "virtuosity" bestowed upon all women of this time. 

DECEIT:  The theme of deceit is central to the story. Madame Lantin deceives her husband by secretly accepting jewels from admirers. Furthermore, she lies about the jewelry, saying that it is fake. Monsieur learns about the deceit, suffers, and yet goes on to remarry another woman, one who will make him unhappy, only because she seemed "virtuous."  

pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The plot revolves around M. Lantin and his wife. He really loves her and they have a wonderful marriage. The only things that bother him are his wife's fascination with fake jewels and her love of the theater. Even though he really loves his wife more and more, after a time, he begs off going to the theater with her. He tells her that he does not like the fake jewels, but she wears them anyway, saying that she can't help it, she likes them.

One cold night attending the theater, M. Lantin's wife becomes ill and 8 days later she dies. After her death, he is grief stricken and he can't bear to look at the fake jewels. In need of money, he decides to sell the jewels and takes them to a merchant who tells him that the jewels are real and very valuable.

M. Lantin is shocked when he learns that the jewels were in fact real, he does not know how his wife could have afforded to buy them, he did not buy them, so he realizes that she must have had a lover who bought them for her. Confused by the discovery of his wife's infidelity, he determines to find a virtuous woman if he marries again.

M. Lantin finds a woman he wants to marry. He chooses a woman that is without question, very virtuous and will be totally faithful to him. They marry, and his wife is a model of virtue, and M. Lantin finds that he is miserable.

poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Guy de Maupassant's short story "The Jewelry," Monsieur Lantin is a chief clerk for the office of the Minister of Interior who meets and marries the woman of his dreams-- a beautiful and respectable girl who has moved to Paris with the objective of marrying. 

Despite loving her deeply, Monsieur Lantin is irritated that she loves the theater and wears such gaudy fake jewelry. Although he convinces her to attend the theater with her friends rather than with him, he is unable to sway her to stop wearing the jewelry he so despises. 

Eventually, his wife contracts pneumonia after a night at the Opera and dies a mere eight days later. Finding himself in debt, Monsieur Lantin decides to sell his wife's fake jewelry but ends up finding out that it is worth a tremendous amount of money and is not fake at all. After selling the jewels, Lantin resigns from his position, enjoys dinner and a night of theater and then, six months later, winds up marrying an awful woman who makes him terribly unhappy.