What symbols best represent the idea of regret in "The Necklace"?   

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In symbolizing the life which Madame Loisel desires, there are several things that represent her regret that she does not possess the luxuries she desires.

Because she has no dowry, Mme. Loisel marries a minor clerk in the Ministry of Education. Disconsolate that she does not possess the finer things in life for which she feels herself deserving, she "grieves over the shabbiness of her apartment" and the chairs and the draperies that are worn and unattractive.

The sight of the little Breton girl who did her humble housework roused in her disconsolate regrets.... 

These regrets roused by the appearance of the meager servant are for luxurious material possessions. She regrets not owning

  • Oriental tapestries on the walls
  • large, overstuffed armchairs
  • stylish sitting rooms "just right for the four o'clock chat with friends"
  • "gleaming silverware" on a lovely dining table
  • "delicious dishes served on wonderful china"
  • evening clothes and jewels such as a diamond necklace
  • lovely wraps to throw over her dresses

Mme. Loisel no longer visits a well-to-do friend from her schooldays because she has always felt so "distressed" whenever she returns home. "And she would weep for days on end from vexation, regret, despair, and anguish."

Of course, the necklace is the greatest item of suffering and regret. For, it becomes the instrument of revenge that fate sets upon Mathilde Loisel for her pettiness, vanity, and hypocrisy as she has to cheat the grocer, do the heavy housework and cooking herself, and live in a garret apartment in order to repay the loan for the replacement of the necklace she has lost.


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