In "The Necklace," Madame Loisel wishes to have an expensive dress for the reception. How does her husband react to her wish?

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bree1228 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Necklace," by Guy de Maupassant, Madame Loisel is disappointed to learn that her husband has obtained an invite to a reception, because she does not own any expensive jewelry or a proper gown.  She complains continually until her husband relents, allowing her to take his savings for a rifle so that she may purchase a new dress.

Madame Loisel's greed does not stop there, however, and she then insists upon fine jewels to wear with the dress.  Her husband is but a lowly clerk who does not earn the kind of money Loisel desires. Thinking positively, and knowing their financial situation, he recommends she adorn herself with fresh flowers instead of costly jewelry.  Madame Loisel does not react well to this suggestion, and begins to fret over her poor lot in life.  She is the classic example of someone who always believes the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  She wants what she cannot have, despite her wishes to attend the reception with her husband. She is ultimately forced to go borrowing from her friend Madame Forestier, for she knows that she is a fancier high class lady. 

The subsequent events in the story lead to the eventual ruination of Madame Loisel and her husband.  There is a lot to think about when you consider her flawed character.  Ask yourself what kind of woman Madame Loisel really is at the core of her being?  What does she value beyond anything else?  How does she differ from the other major characters in the story, such as her husband, Madame Forestier, and the more minor characters?  There is certainly a lot to learn about this woman's desires and vanity by her actions and reactions. 

Note how her husband reacts to the missing necklace later in the story.  How does this show his true character as opposed to his wife?  I hope this helps you generate some important thoughts regarding the husband, his motivations, and his shortcomings.

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The Necklace

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