What is the theme of "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant?

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Mathilde Loisel wanted to be admired for her beauty and grace. She has one triumphant night at the Minister of Public Instruction's ball. She was admired and sought after by all the men who were present. She felt that she had outshone all the other women. However, she had to pay for her triumph by losing all her charm.

Madame Loisel looked old now. She had become the woman of impoverished households--strong and hard and rough. With frowsy hair, skirts askew and red hands, she talked loud while washing the floor with great swishes of water. But sometimes, when her husband was at the office, she sat down near the window and she thought of that gay evening of long ago, of that ball where she had been so beautiful and so admired.

The theme of the story is glaringly apparent at the end. She had thrown away her beauty and subjected herself to years of dreary toil for the sake of mere appearances. She was too concerned about what other people thought of her. Most of us have the same fault. We want other people to think well of us. We spend too much of our lives worrying about other people's opinions. We waste our time and resources, and we often make fools of ourselves. Mathilde Loisel did not fully realize what a terrible price she had paid for her few hours of triumph until her friend Mme. Forestier told her the devastating truth:

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

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Gracie O'Hara eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant (1850 – 1893)  has a fairly simple plot. Mathilde Loisel is a beautiful young woman who dreams of...

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