51 pages • 1 hour readGuy de Maupassant
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Maupassant weaves irony throughout the story. One example is Mathilde’s preoccupation with wealth, luxury, and social status. Her obsession with these things ultimately leads to the opposite—a life of poverty that she would have avoided had she been content with what she had. An additional irony is that Mathilde proves she can work hard to reach lofty financial ambitions, but the labor is only a means to pay back a debt rather than save for something in the future. Had Mathilde simply worked to attain the lifestyle she desired, she would likely have been able to attain it. Her lust for material things causes her to want what she thinks is the most valuable of Madame Forestier's jewels. But she finds that it carries no value and ultimately takes away what she already had.
Another example of irony is the story of the necklace itself. Because of Mathilde’s desire to have jewelry worthy of notice and admiration, she is driven to take what she thinks is the most valuable piece of Madame Forestier’s collection. While this necklace does help her gain the attention of the ball guests, it is worthless and serves only as a means of teaching Mathilde to live within her means and find pride and happiness in doing so.
By Guy de Maupassant