What is the complication in Maupassant's "The Necklace" that sets up the conflict?

5 Answers

mickey2bailey's profile pic

mickey2bailey | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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The complication that causes the conflict in "The Necklace" is for Madame Loisel to find the things in life that will make her fit into a higher social class.  This is based on material things.  In her mind she feels that she was deprived the life of a socialite and that she deserves to have whatever it takes to get her there.  Mr. Loisel begins to take her on this journey by getting her a ticket to a very prestigious event that only "the  finest" are invited to.  Once she has the invitation, she now pouts because she has nothing to wear.  When  her husband gives her the money, he has been saving for a rifle, it still is not enough.  She then complains that she has no jewelry to wear, so her husband tells her to ask her wealthy friend, Madame Forestier, to borrow a bauble to wear.  Based on these three problems, the conflict is set.  From the time she borrows the necklace, to the end of the story, her life is all downhill, reducing her to a lower social class than when she started. It just goes to show you, be happy with what you have because the grass isn't always greener on the other side. 

Reference:  The Literature and Language Book by McDougal Littell

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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The complication that sets up the conflict is that Mathilde Loisel is not happy with her life. She feels that she has been born into the wrong station or class in life. She dreams of being wealthy and admired. She settles for marrying a man that she doesn't really love and spends her days complaining about her life, which really isn't that bad when you look at it. She has a maid and she doesn't work, but for her, that isn't enough. To quell her complaints for even a little bit her husband manages to get an invitation to a ball where all the important people will be attending. He shows her the invitation and she scoffs because she has nothing to wear. Ultimately it is her unhappiness with her life that leads to her eventual life of poverty over a fake necklace.

brendawm's profile pic

brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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I am not sure what exactly you mean by the complication that sets up the conflict, but this is my answer.  The complication,as I see it is Madame Loisel's dissatisfaction with her station in life: she hates being poor and believes she deserves better.  Her desire to appear to have more than she actually does leads to the borrowing of what she believes to be a very expensive necklace from her friend, only to lose it in the end.  I think this is the complication you are looking for.  This leads to the main conflict, a life of service to repay the price of the lost necklace that they have replaced without telling Madame Forestier.  I hope this helps.  Brenda

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viny | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

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Mme losiel loses the necklace and then she is to scared what her friend Mme Foster would think of her now that she has lost her necklace which Mme losiel thinks is pricelase which in real life it was fake