51 pages • 1 hour readGuy de Maupassant
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The necklace symbolizes greed and the desire for wealth. At first glance, the necklace is beautiful and appears to be made of diamonds, but upon closer inspection, it is a fake with little value. Mathilde desires wealth and a higher social status; she believes she deserves them. This belief drives her to covet the necklace, only for it to lead her to ruin. The lifestyle she thinks she wants is perhaps fake as well, bringing no happiness. Her desires cause her to fall in social class rather than to rise.
The necklace also represents a sense of false hope and vain dreams. Once Mathilde decides to work and earn her way in life, it is too late; she is living in poverty. Had she felt the desire to work her way into a higher economic class, and had earned such a valuable necklace instead of borrowing, she might have achieved the luxury she desired. The necklace, then, teaches Mathilde a true source of happiness, although it took a great fall to find it.
Social class is ubiquitous in the story. Mathilde is born into the working class but yearns for and desperately desires to be in the upper class, believing that is where she is meant to be.
By Guy de Maupassant