What is the falling action of "The Necklace"?

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Short story plots usually have five specific elements: the exposition (which reveals the conflict), the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution. The falling action of a story contains those events which take place just after the climax, which is considered the highest point of interest in a story. In Guy de Maupassant's "The Necklace," the climax occurs when Loisel and his wife discover the borrowed necklace is lost. The falling action is revealed in the details which follow:

  • The Loisels purchase a replacement necklace for 36,000 francs. They have to borrow half of the money.
  • Madame Loisel returns the replacement necklace to Madame Forestier, who doesn't notice the difference.
  • The Loisels become poverty stricken because of their debt. They move into a "garret under the eaves" and Mathilde slowly loses her youth and beauty by having to do all of the everyday chores which had previously been done by her maid.
  • Sometimes she daydreams about the night of the ball at the ministry when she was "so beautiful and admired."
  • The debt is paid off after ten years.
  • One Sunday she meets Madame Forestier, whom she hasn't seen for those ten years, on the the Champs Elysées.
  • When Mathilde reveals the truth about the necklace, Madame Forestier informs her that the necklace was fake and worth five hundred francs.

The resolution of the story is the revelation that the necklace was worthless and that Mathilde had wasted her youth paying off the debt.

cldbentley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After losing Madame Forestier's necklace, Madame Loisel and her husband borrow money to buy an incredibly expensive replacement necklace (diamond).  They then spend the next ten years living in poverty and losing their upper class refinement in order to repay the loan needed to purchase the new necklace.  Madame Loisel ages and becomes rough (vocally, physically).  Finally, she happens to meet Madame Forestier, who is still seems young and beautiful, while walking.  After learning the reason for Loisel's changed appearance, the shaken Forestier reveals that the original necklace had been a fake worth, at most, less than one-seventh the cost of the replacement.  Incidentally, Madame Loisel and her husband could have bought an appropriate replacement without having borrowed money and spent ten years in misery.