I need a good thesis statement and opener for a paper on "The Necklace."
The best thesis statements come from brainstorming answers to a carefully worded topic question. Often, the assignment itself will provide this question (in the form of a prompt). If you teacher has given you the assignment to simply "Write an essay on "The Necklace" without simply summarizing the short story," or something along those lines, the best place to start, in fiction, is with a theme.
There are several subjects in this short story which could be turned into theme statements (which could then become the thesis statement for an essay): class diferences/conflicts, appearance vs. reality, greed or discontentment, to name a few. Below you will find a link to previous answers that guides you in how to turn a theme subject into a theme statement. By following the steps for "The Necklace," you should be able to come up with a workable thesis statement for an analysis essay. Then, for your "opener," or introduction, you will simply need a hook, your thesis statement, and the three categories which will become your three body paragraphs.
It would be characteristic of Maupassant to write a story in which he was expressing the idea that many people throw their lives away while chasing after meretricious things such as material possessions and the momentary pleasures of shining in the opinions of others. When Mathilde Loisel learns that the necklace was a fake, she realizes she has wasted a good part of her life for nothing but vanity. It is a tragic story. Her good-natured husband has suffered along with her. The story has resemblances to Flaubert's Madame Bovary, as well as to Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and even Dreiser's An American Tragedy.
So throughout life our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise.
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
The title "The Necklace" might have a double meaning, since it can be thought of as an ornament as well as a chain worn around the neck.
I always think that one of the most over looked ideas of this story is the transformation in the character of Mathilde. Her quest for status and material things led her to 10 years of scractchin, scrimping, and saving. This led her to lose those things in herself that she valued most--her youth and her looks. However, she gained much more in setting goals and achieving them. She met Mme. Forrester with pride when she told her about earning the money to pay for the replacement necklace.
If this were my assignment, I'd pursue the idea of the satisfied husband. No matter what is set in front of him for dinner, he is appreciative. When Mathilde is sullen about her lack of invitations, clothes, and jewels, he does what he can to make her happy. When her actions drive them into poverty, he doesn't complain. Mathilde is the one who changes, but it's her faithful husband who acts as her constant and a foil to his wife, Mathilde.
I have to agree with #3. Perhaps a great opener might be to focus on the surprising way in which, in some senses, being forced into a life of poverty was one of the best things that ever happened to Mathilde Loisel. It certainly cured her of her worrying tendency to live in a dream world and forced her to accept reality.