The Necklace Questions and Answers
by Guy de Maupassant

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In "The Necklace," what are two examples of alliteration?  

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Alliteration is when words beginning with the same consonant are placed in close proximity. Using alliteration creates a sense of rhythm or cadence.

Maupassant's short story was originally written in French, so when we look for alliterations, we are dealing with translations. However, most translations include alliteration in order to capture the cadence of the French story. Maupassant's original text employs alliteration, though not always in the same spots as in English. One place, however, from the French (which is captured in the English, as we will see below), is "forêt de féerie," which translates alliteratively into English as "fairy forest."

Two examples, the second with a series of three alliterations, are below:

carrying priceless curiosities, and of the coquettish...

dainty dinners, of shining silverware, of... birds flying in the midst of a fairy forest

Interestingly, the alliterations tend to cluster around Madame Loisel's dreams of the high life of a rich and fabulous lady, underscoring the poetry and fantasy of her imaginings. What she wishes for really can't be obtained in the real world. They also cluster around moments of emotional intensity, drawing attention to those places in the story.

Madame Loisel's fantastic imaginings foreshadow how she will be taken in by a diamond necklace that turns out to be nothing more than a fake. Madame Loisel lives in the false world of her imagination, sadly unable to discern what is truly worthy in life from what is cheap and superficial.

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Alliteration is a sound device where the initial consonant sounds of a word are repeated.  This creates a musical effect and often adds a subtle emphasis in a sentence. 

Mathilde is a woman who feels that she deserves a better life.  Her husband is only a lowly clerk, and cannot take care of her with the level of comfort she feels she deserves.  When he tries to please her by getting an invitation to a ball, he expresses his excitement through alliteration.

I had tremendous trouble to get it. Every one wants one; it's very select, and very few go to the clerks. You'll see all the really big people there.

The alliteration is the repetition of the “t” sound in “tremendous trouble” and helps the reader appreciate the importance of the ball.

Mathilde does not respond well, however.  Alliteration is used again to demonstrate his confusion at her reaction.

He stopped, stupefied and utterly at a loss when he saw that his wife was beginning to cry. Two large tears ran slowly down from the corners of her eyes towards the corners of her mouth.

The words “stopped, stupefied” are alliteration of the “st” sound.  Mathilde’s husband was surprised that she wasn’t excited about the invitation to the ball.  He thought she would be glad, but she is just complaining about the fact that she doesn’t have anything she considers appropriate to wear.

After he gives up all of the money he has saved to buy her a new dress worthy of the ball, she is still not happy.  She is worried about her jewelry.

"I'm utterly miserable at not having any jewels, not a single stone, to wear," she replied. "I shall look absolutely no one. I would almost rather not go to the party."

Mathilde uses alliteration to emphasize the fact that she does not have any jewelry she considers worthy of wearing to the ball. Her husband suggests flowers, which she rejects.  He finally recommends asking a wealthy friend to borrow a necklace.  This Mathilde agrees to, and of course that is what gets her into all the trouble.

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