How does the narrator apparently feel about his main character in "The Necklace"? 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the exposition of "The Necklace," the narrator uses direct and indirect characterization which depicts Madame Loisel as a selfish, materialistic person. Her actions later in the narrative indicate her personality as inevitably this type of character.

Madame Loisel is initially described by the narrator as "a pretty and charming girl," yet in subsequent paragraphs her pettiness seems to lend irony to the narrator's use of the word charming. For, Mme. Loisel "grieved incessantly" that she does not have the things she deserves,

She grieved over the shabbiness of her apartment, the dinginess of the walls, the worn-out appearance of the chairs and the ugliness of the draperies.All these things, which another woman of her class would not even have noticed, gnawed at her and made her furious.

Always Mme. Loisel desires more than she has, the narrator indicates; for instance, she is described as dreaming of great reception halls and "scented sitting rooms" where she could gossip with intimate friends and have the attention of "sought-after men."

Further in the narrative, it becomes glaringly apparent that Mme. Loisel is very selfish as well as petty. For example, when her husband excitedly brings home an invitation to a ball at the Ministerial Mansion, Mme. Loisel tosses it onto the table murmuring, "What good is that to me?" complaining that she has no evening dress to wear to such an affair. Then, as her husband inquires as to how much money she needs for such a dress, she asks for all that he has saved for a rifle. But, he unselfishly gives it to her to make her happy. 

Then, as the date of the affair draws nearer, Mme. Loisel bemoans the fact that she has no jewelry to wear with her new dress. So, Monsieur Loisel suggests that she borrow from her friend Mme. Forestier; this Mathilde Loisel does, and she looks lovely when she attends the Ministerial Reception where she dances and

...giv[es] no though to anything in the triumph of her beauty, the pride of her success,...of all the admiring glances, of all the awakened longing, of a sense of complete victory that is so sweet to a woman's heart.

For much of the ball, she has ignored her husband, who dozes in an empty sitting room after midnight. When they arrive home, Mme. Loisel selfishly feels "it was all over," but M. Loisel merely thinks about having to be at the Ministry at ten o'clock the next day.

After they discover that the supposed diamond necklace borrowed from Mme. Forestier is missing, the Loisels' lives change. Because of her false pride, Mme. Loisel does not inform her old school friend of the loss, and instead, they go into debt to replace it. When, after years of hardship, Mathilde Loisel sees Mme. Forestier on the Boulevard des Champs Elysees, a large avenue surrounded by lovely trees, the narrator delivers a surprise ending that reveals the price of Mme. Loisel's false pride and false values: The replacement diamond necklace has cost the Loisels ten years of needless hardship because the borrowed one, Mme. Forestier informs her old friend, was only an imitation.

It seems apparent that the narrator has disapproving, negative, even judgmental feelings about the main character.