What does the ball symbolize?

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Like the necklace, the fancy ball Monsieur and Madame Loisel attend represents wealth, luxury and social status. In the beginning of Guy de Maupassant's short story "The Necklace " Madame Loisel dreams of being rich and living in extravagant surroundings. She is obsessed by material comforts. De Maupassant...

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Like the necklace, the fancy ball Monsieur and Madame Loisel attend represents wealth, luxury and social status. In the beginning of Guy de Maupassant's short story "The Necklace" Madame Loisel dreams of being rich and living in extravagant surroundings. She is obsessed by material comforts. De Maupassant writes early on in the story:

She would dream of silent chambers, draped with Oriental tapestries and lighted by tall bronze floor lamps, and of two handsome butlers in knee breeches, who, drowsy from the heavy warmth cast by the central stove, dozed in large overstuffed armchairs.

Her husband, sensing his wife's yearnings, gets tickets to the ball which is held at the "Ministerial Mansion." Of course, she needs a new dress and some jewelry to complete her fabricated transformation into an upper class woman so she can fit in. These material trappings, the necklace, the dress, the ball, represent for her everything she has dreamed of. De Maupassant says she is the most popular woman at the ball. He writes:

She danced madly, wildly, drunk with pleasure, giving no thought to anything in the triumph of her beauty, the pride of her success, in a kind of happy cloud composed of all the adulation, of all the admiring glances, of all the awakened longings, of a sense of complete victory that is so sweet to a woman’s heart. 

Her triumph ends in despair as she on leaves the ball. In her haste to flee the party so others wouldn't see the "shabbiness" of her coat she somehow loses the necklace and the rest of her life is plunged into poverty. Ironically, the necklace is false, just like her dreams of status and luxury.

 

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