The Jewelry (or The False Gems) Questions and Answers
by Guy de Maupassant

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What role does irony play in "The Jewelry"?

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Other contributors have already spoken about the major ironies of "The False Gems": that Monsieur Lantin had assumed his wife's fidelity when, in fact, she had been in all likelihood unfaithful; that the jewelry he believed had been false had been real all along; and finally, when he married a second, virtuous wife, only to be made miserable in the process. To this, I would add a few smaller ironies, interwoven among those major ones.

For example, take the following passage, as written by Maupassant:

Sometimes, of an evening . . . she would place on the tea table the morocco leather box containing the "trash," as Monsieur Lantin called it.

The trash, of course, refers to the presumed false jewelry. While this sentence ultimately reads back into the larger irony relating to the false jewelry actually being real, there's something deeply ironic in the thought that he would label these gemstones specifically as "trash," when they are, in fact, worth a fortune. In fact, this "trash" will later...

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