What is the aspect of social class in "The Necklace" by Guy De Maupassant?

Guy De Maupassant's "The Necklace" criticizes social status and class pretensions. These themes are embodied in its protagonist, Mathilde Loisel, who is characterized as coveting for herself the lifestyle and prestige of the upper class. This leaves her deeply unsatisfied with her own life as the wife of a clerk. Her vanity leads to disaster after she borrows a diamond necklace. The loss of the necklace causes her husband and herself to fall into poverty instead.

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Social class is one of the critical themes that drives "The Necklace," both in terms of its plot and its characters. In this story focused on class pretensions, its main protagonist, Mathilde Loisel, is described as highly covetous of the lifestyle and prestige of the upper classes, while being deeply unsatisfied with her own status as the wife of a government clerk.

As the story continues, Mathilde is invited to a ball, but she immediately becomes fixated on what kind of image she would project. As a result, she pressures her husband to buy her a new dress and later borrows a diamond necklace from her wealthy friend. It is only when she can project this illusion of opulence that extends far beyond her actual means that she is willing to attend the ball. This turns into disaster, however, when she loses the necklace. She decides to purchase a replacement, borrowing large sums of money in the process.

What we see in this story is a combination of vanity, pride and social pretension, which...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 855 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 21, 2020