The famous short story "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant tells of a woman who borrows what she supposes is a diamond necklace to wear at a special government party and then loses it. Unable to tell the friend from whom it was borrowed of the loss, Madame Loisel and her husband buy a new necklace for an exorbitant price and labor for ten years to pay off the debt. Only in the end do they find out that the borrowed necklace was made of paste and worth very little.
Madame Loisel is responsible for her own misfortune and suffering for two reasons. First of all, she is discontent with her lot in life and consumed with envy of those more fortunate. Instead of being happy with the food and clothing that she has, she constantly longs for the extravagant trappings of the wealthy. For the party, she cannot bear to appear lesser in station than the other attendees, and for this reason she unnecessarily borrows the necklace.
Her other weakness that brings about the great hardship that she suffers is her dishonesty. She is unwilling to go right away to Madame Forestier, from whom she borrowed the necklace, and confess that she lost it. If she had, Madame Forestier would have told her then that the necklace was made of paste, and Madame Loisel and her husband could have easily replaced it without the ruination of their lives.
Madame Loisel is responsible for her own suffering because she wanted more than she had, and she wanted people to believe she had more. If she had not been putting on airs, she would not have gone into debt. If she had told the truth, she would not have gone into debt.
Madame Loisel’s first problem was that she was not satisfied with her lot in life. Few people are, I guess, but she seemed to feel that she was born into the wrong social class. She deserved more than she got. Even when her husband tried to help her feel better by getting her invited to a party for the rich, she was upset because she didn’t have the right dress or jewels. She wasted all of the money they had saved on a dress, and borrowed a jewel from a friend.
She had no clothes, no jewels, nothing. And these were the only things she loved; she felt that she was made for them. She had longed so eagerly to charm, to be desired, to be wildly attractive and sought after.
At the ball, people do pay attention to her. She loves it. Then I suppose you could say she gets an attack of irony, or karma. She loses the necklace. Instead of owning up to it, she pretends that nothing happened but a broken clasp. Then she replaces it with another necklace like nothing happened. The problem is that this was a diamond necklace, and the Loisels can’t afford it, so they go into debt.
Years later, Madame Loisel runs into her friend and finds out the necklace she lost was fake.
"Oh, my poor Mathilde! But mine was imitation. It was worth at the very most five hundred francs! . . . "
By this time, Madame Loisel looks so old and haggard her friend barely recognizes her. She has had to fire all of her servants and work hard to pay off the debt. Whatever beauty and social standing she had is gone. It’s sad, but it is all her own fault because if she had told the truth they would have just had a good laugh and gone on with their lives.