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In Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace,” the most obvious use of irony comes at the end of the short story. Mathilde, a working class woman, borrows a necklace to attend a dance at the home of the Secretary of Education, a social event that she coveted. She dresses for the occasion, and wears her friend’s exquisite necklace that sets off her beauty. At the end of the night, the necklace is lost. Mathilde is afraid to tell her friend the truth about the lost necklace, so she and her husband go into debt to purchase a replacement. After ten years, they repay their debt but at a great price as they have nothing else to show for their hard work. Mathilde has a chance meeting with her friend and tells her how the lost necklace changed her life. The friend explains that the necklace Mathilde borrowed was an inexpensive imitation. The irony is that if Mathilde had simply told the truth about the lost necklace, she would not be in her current predicament. It is also ironic that Mathilde placed value on her good looks and the little money she had. Both were lost because of her lack of judgement in not trusting her friend with the truth. In the end, she did come to value a good day’s work in spite of all she lost.
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