In "The Necklace," Madame Loisel learns a lesson about what is really important in life. In the beginning, Madame Loisel is dissatisfied with life. She "suffers incessantly," feeling that she was born for the finer things in life. She complains about not having fine jewels. She is an ungrateful person. She complains about her shabby walls and lack of luxuries in life.
When her husband brings home an invitation to a fancy ball, she complains that she has nothing to wear. She frets because she does not have fancy jewels. She is bitter about the life she leads. She imagines herself as one born to have fine clothes and fancy jewels. She is not appreciative of the things she does have. For example, she is beautiful, a natural beauty. She also has a husband who dotes upon her. She has a maid. She lives a middle class lifestyle yet she complains because she isn't rich.
Deciding to go to the ball, she borrows a sparkling necklace from her friend Madame Forestier. Adorned for the ball, she feels as if she should have been born for such fine jewels.
She dances the night away and shines in her beauty. The necklace makes her feel rich and pretty. After the ball, she realizes that she has lost the necklace. She and her husband borrow money to replace the necklace. Madame Forestier does not notice the necklace has been replaced.
Working ten long years to pay off the loans, Madame Loisel sees Madame Forestier and decides to share the truth about losing the necklace and replacing it. Madame Forestier reveals that her original necklace had been a fake.
In the end, Madame Loisel claims to be content in life. She has learned what true poverty is and has found herself "decently content." She has learned the meaning of hard work. she has lost the lustor of her beauty. She is haggard looking. Her nails are broken and her clothing is "awry." Her appearance has changed:
Madame Loisel looked old now. She had become like all the other strong, hard, coarse women of poor households. Her hair was badly done, her skirts were awry, her hands were red. She spoke in a shrill voice, and the water slopped all over the floor when she scrubbed it.
In the end, she is taking a peaceful walk outdoors. Now, she enjoys the simple things in life such as walk outdoors. She learned the hard way what life is really all about and to think, the necklace she wore to the ball was a fake.