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In order to convey his theme of Appearance vs. Reality as well as the theme of the false value of materialism, Guy de Mauppassant employs characterization and symbolism in his short story "The Necklace." In addition, Maupassant uses ironic situations to convey his messages about appearances and materialism.
Her belief that beautiful things and luxury are essential to her happiness is the fallacy that leads to the ruin of Madame Loisel's happiness and her physical beauty. For, in placing importance on the appearance of wealth and social position, the irony of the necklace's illusion is that she herself is fooled by it and replaces its loss with a real diamond necklace. Thus, is her wish to appear wealthy and socially superior, Madame Loisel loses even her bourgeois position and falls into the lower class. That her charms at the ball have been artificial is evinced in her having to haggle with the grocer and in her final meeting with her former friend who lent her the necklace since Madame Loisel never admitted having lost the loaned necklace, but with a false pride relates that it took her a decade to replace necklace, blaming Madame Forestier for her hardship:
I brought you back another exactly like it. And it has taken us ten years to pay for it. You can understand that it was not easy for us, for us who had nothing. At last it is ended, and I am very glad."
The necklace, which was not real as Mme. Loisel has believed symbolizes for Maupassant the illusionary values of appearances over reality and materialism. Thus, through his characterization, irony, and the symbolism of the necklace Maupassant communicates his themes in "The Necklace."
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