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The Necklace

The Necklace

by Guy de Maupassant

Wealth Theme

"The Necklace" gets its title from the gorgeous piece of diamond jewelry that drives the story's plot. The expensive nature of the necklace is not the only way in which wealth is central to this story. The main character of "The Necklace" is obsessed with wealth. She wants nothing else than to escape from her shabby middle-class life with a shabby middle-class husband and live the glamorous life for which she was born. She's so jealous of her one wealthy friend it hurts. When Mathilde's given the chance to get decked out in diamonds and go to a ritzy party to mingle with all the beautiful people, it seems like her dreams have finally become a reality. Then she loses the borrowed diamond necklace, gets cast into poverty, and learns what it means to truly live without money.

Questions About Wealth

  1. Is Mathilde a greedy character? What signs can you find that she is or is not?
  2. Why does Mathilde want to live the life of the rich so much? Are her dreams understandable, or do they seem silly and exaggerated?
  3. What difference does money make in the lives of the story's characters?
  4. Does the story itself have a message about whether wealth is a "good thing"? Is it shown to be worth pursuing, or not worth pursuing? Or is the story's own attitude towards wealth neutral?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Mathilde's greed is revealed in her inability to be satisfied by anything.

"The Necklace" takes an entirely neutral stance on wealth.

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