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

At the end of "The Necklace," Madame Loisel changes into a humble, industrious woman, who no longer dreams about being rich and works hard for everything she earns. After losing the necklace, Madame Loisel sacrifices her comfortable lifestyle and loses her entitled attitude. She experiences the hardship of being poor and transforms into an old-looking, frugal woman.

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When the story opens, Madame Loisel is described as "pretty" and "charming." Despite having a comfortable home, she finds herself endlessly bored, always believing that she deserves more than her modest life affords her. She therefore spends entire days weeping with misery at the thought that her friends live more luxurious lives than she does, and she longs to charm men and have them desire her. When she is invited to the ball, her fantasies become reality for one night. Wearing her new dress and borrowed necklace, Madame Loisel is indeed as captivating as she's always dreamed she could be. Men ask to be introduced to her, and she notes their eager stares. Madame Loisel is ecstatic in the "triumph of her beauty."

Having to engage in hard labor transforms both Madame Loisel's outer appearance and sense of endurance. At the end of the story, her beauty is gone, and she is described as looking old. Her hair reflects her poverty, her clothes are "awry," and her hands are red from the harsh elements she works in. Yet because of her conflict, Madame Loisel gains a strength that she lacks early in the story. Instead of endlessly suffering in boredom, Madame Loisel engages in the "heavy work of the house." She does her own shopping and haggles for every halfpenny with various vendors. After dismissing her servants, she becomes intimate with taking care of her household duties herself.

Although her beauty has vanished, Madame Loisel gains a sense of self-efficacy. Because of her financial struggles, she demonstrates a courage and inner strength that she lacks when financially comfortable.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 9, 2020
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At the beginning of the story, Madame Loisel is depicted as a selfish, ungrateful woman, who dreams of living a luxurious life and is unhappy with her humble social class. She is also an attractive, entitled woman and desires to experience the life of an aristocrat. Nothing pleases Madame Loisel, and she dismisses her husband's invitation to the Ministry's magnificent ball when she first hears about it. After Madame Loisel loses Madame Forestier's diamond necklace, she and her husband go into extreme debt to pay for an authentic necklace to replace it. For ten years Madame Loisel toils and engages in arduous manual labor to pay off their debts.

The narrator comments that Madame Loisel came to know the "horrible life of the very poor" but "played her part heroically." Madame Loisel made sacrifices, took on housework, dressed like a commoner, and worked hard to save every "miserable sou." In addition to transforming into a hardworking, frugal individual, Madame Loisel also loses her beauty and looks old after ten years of intense labor. By the end of the story, Madame Loisel no longer dreams of riches or feels entitled. She develops into a humble, industrious woman, who appreciates everything she earns. Madame Loisel's transformation is so dramatic that her friend Madame Forestier does not recognize her when they meet in the street.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 23, 2020
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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.

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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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