What is the resolution in the story,  "The Necklace," by Guy de Maupassant?

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carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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"The Necklace," written by Guy de Maupassant, provides more than one lesson for not only the story's characters but for the reader as well. The story can be divided into two parts: before the loss of the necklace and after the loss.  Each part directs the reader to look closely at the protagonist Mathilde Loisel's character to find the many mistakes that she makes as she moves through her story.

Mathilde Loisel is not a happy woman.  Her beauty, her loving husband, a maid, her circumstances---despite these positive aspects of her life, Madame Loisel finds no joy.  She is only concerned with what she will wear to the party.  Her immaturity prevents her from realizing how lucky she is to have a husband who tries so hard to please her.  When she borrows the necklace, the consequences will devastate her life. 

When she loses the necklace, life begins to disintegrate for Mathilde.  Instead of telling the truth and facing the consequences, she and her husband lose everything that originally meant nothing to our heroine.  Her husband stands by her despite her bitterness and the loss of her looks. What a stalwart man!

Instead of telling the truth to the owner of the necklace, the couple buy another necklace for a large amount of borrowed money. The necklace is returned; however, it takes the Loisels ten years and much hard work to repay the loans. 

One day on the street,  Mathilde meets Madame Forestier, the owner of the necklace.  Mathilde confesses to her what she and her husband had been through:

... it has taken us ten years to pay for it. You can understand that it was not easy for us, for us who had nothing.

"You say that you bought a necklace of diamonds to replace mine?"

"Madame Forestier, deeply moved, took her hands.

"Oh, my poor Mathilde! Why, my necklace was paste! It was worth at most only five hundred francs!"

What devastating news for Mathilde!  If only, the couple had told the truth in the first place.  Imagine their losses.  Ten years of their lives, their youth, her beauty--so many things that would have made their lives so different. 

The resolution of the story comes from the epiphany of the worth of the necklace; however,  the reader also realizes the value of finding happiness with what a person has.  Mathilde had everything but thought she had nothing.  Furthermore, a more important lesson is that  honesty is the best policy.  The necklace had value, but it was not worth the cost of the couple's youth.  

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