The False Gems

What is moral in the short story "The False Gems"?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the short story, "The False Gems," Monsieur Lantin lives a deceived yet happy life. He believes his wife to be virtuous. He trusts her with his whole heart. She makes his life worth living. While she loves her jewelry, she treats her man with affection and attention too:

She would examine the false gems with a passionate attention, as though they imparted some deep and secret joy; and she often persisted in passing a necklace around her husband's neck, and, laughing heartily, would exclaim: 'How droll you look!' Then she would throw herself into his arms, and kiss him affectionately.

Monsieur Lantin was completely happy with his wife. He loved her more after six years of marriage than he did in the beginning of their marriage. When she dies, he is grief stricken. He becomes poverty stricken and learns that his wife has a valuable collection of expensive jewels which she obtained through indecent means. His adulterous wife is still taking care of him, even after her death.

Selling her jewelry, Monsieur Lantin becomes rich. He quits his job. He marries again. This new wife is truly virtuous, but her violent temper makes his life unbearable. The moral of the story is that virtuous living is not always the key to happiness. Monsieur Lantin was happier with a woman of less virtue. He was complete in her love. He felt completely loved by the woman of less virtue than he did by the more virtuous woman. The moral of the story is that virtue does not necessarily make one happy. What Monsieur Lantin did not know did not hurt him. The new virtuous wife brings much sorrow to Monsieur Lantin's life. How virtuous is a woman who has a violent temper?