The Necklace Questions and Answers
by Guy de Maupassant

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Indirect aspects of poverty in "The Necklace"?

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One of the indirect aspect (as opposed to the direct implications of poverty, like hunger or inadequate housing) is envy for things others have, perceived by Mathilde as unfairly distributed between women who have fine tastes, like herself, and those who do not appreciate what they have.  Further, Mathlide feels that she is unlike other women of her unfair status, who don't know or care about the better things that money can buy.   Maupassant writes:

Mathilde suffered ceaselessly, feeling herself born to enjoy all delicacies and all luxuries. She was distressed at the poverty of her dwelling, at the bareness of the walls, at the shabby chairs, the ugliness of the curtains. All those things, of which another woman of her rank would never even have been conscious, tortured her and made her angry. The sight of the little Breton peasant who did her humble housework aroused in her despairing regrets and bewildering dreams...She thought of long reception halls hung with ancient silk, of the dainty cabinets containing priceless curiosities and of the little coquettish perfumed reception rooms made for chatting at five o'clock with intimate friends, with men famous and sought after, whom all women envy and whose attention they all desire.

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