“THE DIAMOND NECKLACE”
A young woman named Mathilde Loisel is married to a little clerk of the Ministry of Public Instruction. They live a poor life, which Mathilde hates. One day, they are invited to a grand ball where the rich people will be. Mathilde buys a new gown from her husband’s savings intended to buy him a gun for shooting larks, for his hobby. To go with that very elegant gown, she borrows a diamond necklace from her friend Madame Forestier. At the ball, Mathilde is prettier than any woman there. When they arrive home after that ball, she is aware that the borrowed necklace is gone. She and her husband try to find it, but they do not find it, so they buy another one exactly the same, for thirty-four thousand francs, from its original price of forty francs, such a very big amount of money for the couple. They use up Loisel’s inheritance from his father, borrowed from usurers, and they work odd jobs for ten years just to make up for that amount. After a decade, Mathilde sees Madame Forestier by chance, and after those years, finally confesses that the necklace she returned was a replacement. Madame Forestier is shocked, and tells her that the necklace she lent her was fake. It was worth at most five hundred francs.
SHORT STORY ELEMENTS
There are three main characters in this short story:
1. Mathilde Loisel is pretty girl who live in a poor life.
2. The little clerk of the Ministry of Public Instruction is Mathilde’s husband.
3. Madame Jane Forestier is Mathilde’s friend who lent Mathide a diamond necklace.
“The Necklace” tells the story of Madame Mathilde Loisel and her husband. Mathilde always imagined herself in a high social position with wonderful jewels. However she has nothing and marries a low paid clerk who tries his best to make her happy.
Through lots of begging at work, he is able to get two invitations to the Ministry of the Public Instruction party. Mathilde then refuses to go, for she has nothing to wear. Her husband is upset to see her displeasure and, using money that he was saving to buy a rifle, gives Mathilde 400 francs and lets his wife buy a dress that suits her. Mathilde goes out and buys a dress but even with the clothes Mathilde is still not happy since she has no jewels to wear with it. The pair does not have much money left, so her husband suggests that she buys roses to wear with it, but after Mathilde disagrees he suggests borrowing something from her friend, Madame Jeanne Forestier. Mathilde picks out the fanciest diamond necklace that she can find. After attending the Ministry of Public Instruction party, Mathilde discovers that she has lost the necklace.
Mathilde and her husband look everywhere but the necklace is not to be found. They take out loans from generous friends and loan sharks to buy a diamond necklace that looks just like the one that was lost. It takes them ten years of hard labor to come up with the 36,000 francs necessary to pay them back. Toward the end, Mathilde takes a walk, remembering her past and the night when the necklace was lost. Suddenly she sees Madame Jeanne Forestier and goes to meet her. Mathilde confesses about that night and how she worked so hard to return her necklace. Madame Forestier, deeply moved, tells Mathilde that the one she had borrowed was made of paste, not real diamonds, and that it was worth at most 500 francs.
Mathilde, the main woman character in this short story, is being described as unhappy because of her and her husband’s being poor.
b) Rising Action
The complication starts when she and her husband are invited to a rich people’s ball. She buys a new gown, and to go with it, she borrows an elegant diamond necklace from her friend Madame Forestier.
The peak of this short story is when Mathilde discovers that she lost the diamond necklace.
d) Falling action
To replace the lost diamond necklace, Mathilde and her husband buy another one exactly the same, for thirty-four thousand francs, from its original price of forty francs, such a very big amount of money for the couple. The eighteen thousand francs was inherited by her husband from his father, and the rest of the amount he borrows from various sources.
The problem resolves itself, when Mathilde and Madame Forestier meet again after ten years, and the latter Madame Forestier tells the former diamond necklace she borrowed was fake.
The conflicts here are of women vs. himself, and Man vs. Society. Mathilde has been struggling as a poor woman because of her desire to fit in the society.
a) Place is in Paris
b) Time is sometime in the 18th century
c) Weather conditions is good
d) Social conditions is Mathilde Loisel and her husband were poor
e) Mood or Atmosphere is Mathilde is not contented of her poor life. When she loses the borrowed diamond necklace, she and her husband become anxious. Then they buy a new one to replace the lost one, and they live a stressful life in order to pay their debts incurred to buy such necklace.
E. POINT OF VIEW
The Point of View used in this short story is the Omniscient Limited. The author tells the story in third person (using pronouns they, she, he, and it). We know only what the character knows and what the author allows him/her to tell us. We can see the thoughts and feelings of characters if the author chooses to reveal them to us.
F. LITERARY DEVICES
In our opinion, the literary devices used in this story are Symbolism and Irony. For Symbolism, the borrowed necklace symbolizes being wealthy, which Mathilde has been longing to be. While wearing it, she feels so superior. Meanwhile, for Irony, such borrowed necklace looks so sophisticated but is actually fake.
For us, the theme in this story is “Things are not always as they appear to be” and also be content on what you have are applicable to this story.
According to us the element which is interesting to discuses is “setting”.
- The story’s setting :
a) in space :
– at Mathilde’s apartement
– at Madam Forestier’s house
– at the hall at the Ministry
b) in time :
– on the evening
– on the spring ocean
– on the night when a party
- The author established the setting in this story sometimes with defining and also without defining (it is vague). For example, when the author establish Matilde’s bare house, the author said “she was distressed at property of her dwelling, at the bareness of the walls, at the shabby chair, the ugliness of the curtains”. But in the other setting especially setting of place is vague because author does not define the specific of place. And also the setting which established by author is mimetic (realistic) and symbolic.
- It is important to discuss about setting because the setting is able to influence the plot of story, whether it explains the beginning, the middle or the end of story. Without setting, it will be hard for author to reveal the sequence of the story.
The setting is also able to influence the character of the story. The different situation will change the character of someone. For example, when someone invited in formal party, she/he must change her/his character into elegant and polite. It will be different when she/he socializes in informal. He will acts in usual way. Indirect, the setting especially the setting of place is able to change or to influence the character of someone.