How does Madame Loisel change at the end of "The Necklace" from how she was before she lost the necklace?

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literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Madame Loisel, from Guy du Maupassant's short story, "The Necklace," is a dynamic character (this means she undergoes dramatic change over the course of the story--unlike a static character who does not change).

In the beginning of the story, Madame Loisel is a person who is not accepting of her place in the soc ail structure of life. She believes that she should be a woman who lives a luxurious life, attending parties and wearing the best jewels and clothing.

Her tastes were simple because she had never been able to afford any other, but she was as unhappy as though she had married beneath her.

In trying to make his wife happy, M. Loisel is able to obtain an invitation to a party. Instead, of being happy, Madame Loisel states that she cannot go on the account that she has no dress or jewels. She is able to purchase a dress (from her husband's savings) and borrow a necklace from a friend. Unfortunately, she loses the necklace. In order to replace the necklace, she and her husband worked for ten years to pay off the multiple loans it took to purchase a replacement.

Over the ten years, Madame Loisel realized what it meant to be truly poor. Her mindset regarding poverty and what it meant to work changed. She, too, was required to work. In the end, Madame Loisel did not only change mentally, she also changed physically (from the demanding work she had to do).

Therefore, Madame Loisel changes dramatically over the course of the story. She no longer expects the life of the rich. She realizes that she did have a good life when looking back. One could assume that she would have taken back the night at the party if she would not have had to come to know real poverty.

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englishguru4's profile pic

englishguru4 | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Mathilde was a very materialistic person at the beginning of the story and wanted to appear to be rich and sophisticated. By the end of the story she was no longer materialistic and no longer cared about appearances. She was simply happy to have her debt repaid.

zendowg39's profile pic

zendowg39 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

 I disagree. Although Madame Loisel changes physically and is forced to do the work she looked down upon at the beginning of the story, I don't really see that she comes to appreciate what she had in the first place. At the end of the story, it states that while her husband is at work, she sits around and daydreams about the night of the party when everyone was admiring her. She wonders what would have happened if she had not lost the necklace? She goes on to ponder "how unpredictable life is" and how "little there is between happiness and misery." To me, this shows no emotional growth at all- no introspection about how her pride led her to make decisions that ultimately led to her poverty. She never accepts any responsibility for her plight at the end of the story, and, instead, views herself as a martyr (when she is the farthest thing from one). When she encounters Madame Forestier, she blames HER for her great misfortune! There is no self-reflection- no self-actualization. She is still an arrogant brat. So, I do not think she is a dynamic character.

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zendowg39's profile pic

zendowg39 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I disagree. Although Madame Loisel changes physically and is forced to do the work she looked down upon at the beginning of the story, I don't really see that she comes to appreciate what she had in the first place. At the end of the story, it states that while her husband is at work, she sits around and daydreams about the night of the party when everyone was admiring her. She wonders what would have happened if she had not lost the necklace? She goes on to ponder "how unpredictable life is" and how "little there is between happiness and misery." To me, this shows no emotional growth at all- no introspection about how her pride led her to make decisions that ultimately led to her poverty. She never accepts any responsibility for her plight at the end of the story, and, instead, views herself as a martyr (when she is the farthest thing from one). When she encounters Madame Forestier, she blames HER for her great misfortune! There is no self-reflection- no self-actualization. She is still an arrogant brat. So, I do not think she is a dynamic character. 

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