There are a number of clues in the story. For one thing, we're told that Madame Loisel was born into a family of clerks. Despite her pretensions to aristocratic lineage, it would seem that Mathilde is, by birth and marriage, a member of the respectable lower-middle class. Further evidence of her middling social status is the revelation that she had no dowry and so also had no expectations of marrying a man of wealth and distinction. Instead, Mathilde ended up getting hitched to a minor official at the Ministry of Education. And so the social class into which Mathilde was born is the social class in which she appears destined to remain. Little wonder, then, that she craves a better life, full of fine clothes, elite social gatherings, and opulent jewelry.