The Jewelry (or The False Gems)

by Guy de Maupassant

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Identify eight story elements in "The Jewelry" by Guy De Maupassant.

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Hi! Here at eNotes we answer one question at a time, so I'll be happy to offer you an overview of the story elements of Guy de Maupassant's "The False Gems," also known as "The Jewelry."

The story takes place in Paris, France. Maupassant often wrote in the present tense, taking into consideration his immediate environment. This said, the story would then take place in the mid to late 1800s, which is the exact time period in which de Maupassant lived (he died quite young, at age 43).

There are two key characters in the story and, we might conclude, several "invisible" characters. The key character is Monsieur Lantin, who is described as a

chief clerk in the Department of the Interior

He falls madly in love with a tax collector's daughter whom he met "at a reception at the house of the second head of his department." This woman, who then becomes his wife, was a poster of virtuosity, beauty, and "angelic modesty." As such, he saw her as the perfect woman. Like many other women in Victorian Paris, she would be the "angel in the household," and she would run the house in terms of finances and everything else.

Unbeknownst to M. Lantin, his wife had a patron (and perhaps several others we do not get to know about) who would purchase really expensive jewelry for her. She was extremely materialistic, from what we gather, as she loved these jewels way too much.

All this time, Mr. Lantin thinks that this woman is so clever in finances that she manages to buy all these "fake" pieces of jewelry, the fine wines they enjoy, and all their other household amenities on a budget. He thinks that the jewels are fake and that she is simply very attached to them.

However, after her sudden death, he is left to his own devices. He has to make do with his salary and realizes that there was no way they could have indulged in the things they did on his salary alone. When he goes to sell some of the "fake" jewels in hopes to make a couple of francs, he discovers that his wife had been receiving expensive gifts and that the jewels were, in fact, quite real. Here is where he realizes that his marriage had been a fakery, much like the jewels themselves.

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