What point of view is "The Necklace" told in?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Author Guy de Maupassant is the narrator of the story, and he uses Mathilde's point of view, while not using Mathilde herself, to tell her story from her perspective. 

This type of narrative is, therefore, third person omniscient objective. This is a narrator who knows everything that is going on in the story, even the innermost feelings of the characters. This narrator does not take sides, either, and just comments based on the facts. Evidence of this narrative style can be found in the following examples.

First, the narrator is able to identify everything that Mathilde feels, and is even able to describe how she fantasizes about the things that she cannot have:

She thought of silent antechambers hung with Oriental tapestry, illumined by tall bronze candelabra, and of two great footmen in knee breeches ...

The author is also able to touch upon the feelings and thoughts of all the other characters, regardless of whether they are central to the story or not. Notice here how Maupassant even knows what are the plans and feelings of Mathilde's husband (who is not central to the story) upon finding out that his wife needed 400 francs to buy a dress

He grew a little pale, because he was laying aside just that amount to buy a gun and treat himself to a little shooting next summer on the plain of Nanterre...

Maupassant is even detailed enough to show Madame Forestier's thoughts. This woman, who was the lender of the necklace for which the story is named, is the pivotal character that moves the plot forward once she offers Mathilde "any" piece of jewelry that her friend would wish to have for the ball. 

It is Forestier's necklace that gets lost and replaced by one which costs ten times its price, simply because the Loisels decided not to tell her about the loss. Maupassant tells us that the owner of the original necklace receives Mathilde "cooly" and even expresses a bit of frustration while still maintaining the courtesies that keep their friendship alive. 

All this being said, the third person omniscient narrator is able to use the points of view of different characters and focalize the narrative from that perspective, while shifting on to that of another character. This helps to pique the interest of the reader, who gets to know the innermost thoughts of other characters who are related to the main one. 

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The Necklace

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