51 pages 1 hour read

Guy de Maupassant

The Necklace

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1884

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“The Necklace”

  • Genre: Fiction; short story
  • Originally Published: 1884
  • Reading Level/Interest: College/adult
  • Structure/Length: Approx. 9 pages; approx. 19 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: Mathilde Loisel dreams of being part of society’s wealthy elite. When her husband returns home from work with an invitation to an exclusive event hosted by the Ministry of Education, Mathilde despairs because she has nothing to wear. Her husband offers her money he had set aside for a new rifle to purchase a dress, and she borrows a diamond necklace from her friend. Mathilde’s dreams come true for one night, but then come crashing down around her when she loses the necklace. She and her husband borrow the money to replace it and then toil for 10 years to pay off the debt.

Guy de Maupassant, Author

  • Bio: 1850-1893; French author known as a master of the short story and noted member of the Naturalist school; protégé of Gustave Flaubert; enlisted as a volunteer in the Franco-Prussian War, working as a clerk in the Navy Department for 10 years; friendship with Gustave Flaubert led him to meet Émile Zola and Ivan Turgenev, as well as other members of the realist and naturalist schools; contributing editor of several newspapers, including Le Figaro, Le Gaulois, and l’Écho de Paris; wrote over 300 short stories during his career; had a near constant desire for solitude; diagnosed with syphilis that caused paranoia and eventually an attempt at suicide; committed to an asylum in 1891 and died there in 1893 from complications of syphilis; wrote his own epitaph: “I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing.
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