Friday, October 27, 2023

Summary of The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant || Questions and Answers

Summary of The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant
Summary of The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant || Questions and Answers

Summary of the Story

The story "The Necklace" is about a young woman named Mathilde Loisel who is obsessed with wealth and social status. It is a cautionary tale about the dangers of vanity and materialism. It also explores the themes of loss, regret, and redemption.

Mathilde Loisel is a beautiful woman who thinks her family is not rich. She got married to a lowly clerk in the Ministry of Education, and they live a simple life. Mathilde really feels sad about being poor. She wishes she had a better life and often thinks about it. Even though her husband is happy with their simple dinner, she dreams of having big, fancy meals with rich friends. She doesn't have any fancy things like expensive jewelry or clothes, but she thinks having them would make her feel better about herself. She has one rich friend, Madame Forestier, but doesn't want to see her because it makes her sad.

One evening, her husband comes back home excitedly with an invitation to a fancy party from his work. He hopes Mathilde will be happy about going, but she gets mad and starts crying. She explains that she has nothing nice to wear and suggests he should give the invitation to someone else with better clothes. Her husband is upset and asks how much a good dress would cost. After thinking, she says 400 francs would be enough. Though her husband is hesitant, he agrees to give her the money.

As the party gets closer, Mathilde starts acting strangely. She says she's upset because she doesn't have any fancy jewelry. Her husband suggests she wears flowers instead, but she doesn't want to. He then asks her to borrow something from Madame Forestier. Madame Forestier kindly lends Mathilde a diamond necklace, and Mathilde feels really thankful for her help. During the party, everyone notices how beautiful Mathilde looks, and she loves all the attention. At 4 a.m., she finds her husband dozing in an empty room. He covers her shoulders with a wrap and asks her to wait inside, out of the cold, while he gets a cab. But she feels embarrassed by the shabby wrap and goes outside with him. They walk for a bit before finding a cab.

When they come back home, Mathilde feels very sad that the night is over. When she takes off her wrap, she realizes that her necklace is missing. Monsieur Loisel goes outside in a panic to look for it where they had been. She sits anxiously waiting for him. He comes back home much later, even more worried because he couldn't find the necklace. He tells her to write a letter to Madame Forestier explaining that the necklace's clasp is broken and they're getting it fixed.

They keep looking for the necklace. After a week, Monsieur Loisel decides they need to find a new one. They go to many jewelry stores searching for something similar and eventually find one. It costs 40,000 francs, but the jeweler agrees to sell it for 36,000. The Loisels spend a week gathering money from different places, even using their future as a guarantee. After three days, Monsieur Loisel buys the necklace. When Mathilde gives the necklace back to Madame Forestier, Madame Forestier is annoyed at how long it took but doesn't open the case to check. Mathilde feels relieved.

The Loisels start living in extreme poverty. They let go of their servant and move to a smaller apartment. Monsieur Loisel works three jobs, and Mathilde does all the hard housework. This difficult life goes on for ten years, but they manage to pay back their debts. Mathilde's exceptional beauty fades away, and she looks like any other woman from a poor family. Both of them are exhausted and deeply affected by the tough years they endured.

On a Sunday, Mathilde sees Madame Forestier while walking. She goes up to her and says hello. Madame Forestier doesn't recognize her at first, but when Mathilde tells her who she is, Madame Forestier is surprised by her appearance. Mathilde tells her how she lost the necklace, got a new one, and worked hard for ten years to pay for it. In the end, Madame Forestier clasps her hands and reveals that the original necklace was only fake and not valuable.

Questions and Answers

Answer these questions.

a. Why was Mathilde unhappy with her life?

Mathilde was unhappy with her life because she was not content with her social and economic status. She longed for a life of luxury and opulence, which she believed she deserved.

b. What did Mathilde need for her life and how did she get it?

Mathilde needed material possessions and a higher social standing to feel fulfilled. She got a borrowed necklace from a wealthy friend to create the illusion of wealth and sophistication at a high-society event.

c. When did Mathilde realize that she had lost her necklace?

Mathilde realized she had lost the necklace when she returned home from the ball and discovered it was missing.

d. What kind of life was she forced to lead in order to pay off the debt?

Mathilde was forced to lead a life of poverty and hard work to pay off the debts incurred from purchasing a replacement necklace. She had to do all the household chores herself, as the couple could not afford domestic help.

e. How does the writer describe Madame Loisel to us at the beginning? What feeling does it generate in us?

The writer describes Madame Loisel as a woman who is discontented and constantly yearning for a better life. This generates sympathy for her character, as readers can understand her longing for something more than her current circumstances.

f. Should Madame Loisel have borrowed an expensive necklace from her friend? Give reasons for your answer.

Madame Loisel should not have borrowed an expensive necklace from her friend because it led to the loss of the necklace, which resulted in immense hardship and suffering for her and her husband. It would have been wiser for her to be content with what she had and not engage in deceit.

g. "The party was all that she ever dreamed of". Describe the party in your own words.

"The party was all that she ever dreamed of" means that the party fulfilled Mathilde's fantasies of living a luxurious and glamorous life for a brief moment. It was a grand event with beautiful clothes, elegant surroundings, and important people in attendance.

h. How was the party a turning point in the life of the Loisels?

The party was a turning point in the life of the Loisels because it marked the beginning of their descent into a life of hardship and debt. Mathilde's loss of the necklace at the party initiated a chain of events that led to their financial ruin.

i. Madame Loisel was herself responsible for her unhappy life, before as well as after the ball. Comment.

Madame Loisel was responsible for her unhappy life both before and after the ball due to her dissatisfaction with her circumstances and her constant yearning for a life of luxury and extravagance. Her actions and choices ultimately led to her downfall.

j. Sketch the character of Mr. Loisel.

Mr. Loisel is depicted as a caring and supportive husband. He goes to great lengths to make Mathilde happy, including using his savings to buy her a dress for the ball and helping her search for the lost necklace. He is a responsible and hardworking individual who sacrifices for his wife's happiness.

k. What is the moral of the story?

The moral of the story is the consequences of vanity and the dangers of living beyond one's means. It emphasizes the importance of being content with what one has and the potential consequences of deceit and excessive yearning for wealth and status.

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