Literary Irony In The Necklace By Guy De Maupassant

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In The Necklace, Guy de Maupassant tells the story of Mathilde, a beautiful woman plagued by her desire to be wealthy. Mathilde feels destined for much more than the ordinary and mundane life she has been given. Mathilde is given a chance to appear wealthy at a party by borrowing a friend’s expensive necklace. When Mathilde loses the necklace, she and her husband are hurled into financial suffering that they could have never imagined. The Necklace is a masterpiece of literary irony delivered with cold precision. Maupassant employs the literary elements of exposition, mood and theme to reveal unsettling irony. Maupassant utilizes exposition to present his characters and impress a tone on the story. Mathilde is presented as a charming and beautiful …show more content…
The mood of the story is depressing overall and continually revolves around Mathilde’s suffering. Maupassant keeps the reader in continual suspense, anticipating that the mood will turn positive, preying on the readers’ morals to reveal irony. This is reinforced in an analysis of The Necklace I read in Short stories for students. Volume 4 presenting analysis, context, and criticism on commonly studied short stories. The analysis cites the ongoing mood and summarizes Mathilde’s continued despair with the following passage. It reads, “Living modestly with her hus-band before the ball, Madame Loisel believes she is suffering a terrible injustice by having few luxuries. In fact, she does not experience the reality of poverty until she and her husband go into debt to pay off the necklace.” (Wilson). Moreover, Maupassant’s utilization of mood creates a true sense that the more Mathilde desires the wealth and the happiness she desires, the further from her it becomes. It seems that the harder that Mathilde tries to erase the appearance of being middle-class, the more the literary mood of the story pulls the reader into the cruel expectations society has for her. This places immense pressure on Mathilde and eventually drives the irony in the story. Additionally, the mood within The Necklace plays such a large role in revealing the irony, that it is continually made known to the reader throughout the story. The final …show more content…
Mathilde is constantly longing for wealth and she is described as having endless suffering because she does not possess wealth. Mathilde and Loisel are relatively happy in the beginning of the story, but fall into deeper suffering when they must go into financial ruin to pay for a new necklace. Furthermore, this is all self-induced due to Mathilde’s desire to appear wealthy by borrowing a diamond necklace and then losing it. Upon reading The Necklace story notes by Brander Mathews on bartelby.com, I was able to find a summary of the theme used to reveal irony in The Necklace. Mathews writes, “Masterly as this narrative is, it is chilly and almost cruel. The suffering it sets forth seems to have been almost needless,—due as it is to the accident of misunderstanding.” (Mathews). The theme of suffering continues through what readers hopefully anticipate to be a happy ending for the characters but is wonderfully crafted to reveal the irony of even deeper, self-inflicted

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