What will Madame Loisel do now that she knows the diamond necklace was a fake?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Maupassant leaves us without any clue as to what Madame Loisel might do after she is told that the diamond necklace was a fake. It is a tribute to the talent of that great French author that he leaves us wondering about things like that. We also wonder what ever became of the lost necklace, who found it and what he did with it. It seems only logical that Mathilde Loisel would ask her friend Madame Forestier to give her the necklace, since she and her husband paid for it and should be legally as well as morally entitled to it. We know the value of that necklace because Maupassant discusses prices in the story.

They found, in a shop at the Palais Royal, a string of diamonds that seemed to them exactly like the one they had lost. It was worth forty thousand francs. They could have it for thirty-six.

So the Loisels ought to be able to get the necklace back and sell it for around thirty-six thousand francs. They might even be able to return it to the original jeweler for that sum. It would be some compensation for all the work and privations they had to endure in order to purchase the thing. Madame Forestier could not have had any thought of keeping it after she learned it was a genuine diamond necklace. Otherwise she would never have told her friend Mathilde that the one she had let her borrow for the ball was a fake. In fact, Madame Forestier must feel ashamed that she let Mathilde borrow it believing it was genuine. Mathilde must have wondered in retrospect how many men and women who had attended the minister's ball, including men she had danced with, knew she was wearing a fake necklace.

These were not real people, and the loss never happened; but we still can't help thinking about them and feeling sorry for them, even though the story was published about 131 years ago and the Loisels would be long since dead.

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