What does the necklace represent to Madame Loisel?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Madame Mathilde Loisel's borrowed necklace symbolizes the dream that she has always desired: "to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after." For one night at the ball, Madame Loisel will be that person.

Madame Loisel was a great success. She was prettier than any other woman present, elegant, graceful, smiling and wild with joy. All the men looked at her, asked her name, sought to be introduced.

Without the necklace, the dress would not have sufficed. Without the dress, she would not have been attired properly. The necklace was the final piece of the puzzle to make her the belle of the ball--at least for one night.

After the necklace was lost, it came to represent the greatest folly of her life: She traded everything for the one night, and when she lost the necklace, she and her husband spent the next decade repaying the debts it encountered.