When his wife complains that she cannot attend the party because she has nothing to wear, Monsieur Loisel asks her,
How much would it cost, a suitable dress...?
The situational irony here is that it will cost the couple a great deal, and not just in money. Mathilde will have to sacrifice her pride, her beauty, and years of her life as a result of making this purchase to attend the party. Monsieur Loisel is likely also considering the fact that he has been saving up money for a gun and a hunting trip for himself the following summer; therefore, his wife's purchase will not only cost him the four hundred francs but also his dreams of a hunting getaway.
Mathilde is so concerned with appearances that a new dress worth 400 francs is not enough to placate her desire to impress "rich" women. Thus, she enlists the help of her friend Madame Forestier in obtaining a necklace which she believes further illuminates a wealthier lifestyle than she actually lives. Ironically, this act of borrowing her...
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