Isaac Asimov, a Russian writer and biochemist once said “never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what’s right. ” But what exactly is right? Do we humans know the difference between what is right and wrong without having morals? Morals shape up one’s life… but then again what you learn from life sometimes can take someone into physical and mental ruin. This happened to Madame Loisel and her husband in Guy de Mapassant’s “The Necklace”. She hit her inner conflict of wanting to be someone that she is not while society pushed her into ruining her life to pay a due that was not even real to begin with.
With the characterization of a stereotypical woman wanting to be more than she can handle, attaining a brutal symbolic ending, and meeting the downfall of what a wrong turn can take you to, she reaches her peak of disaster. She met the dead end of a dream. She pretended to be someone she’s not and with that, lost all respect and dignity for her life. Her characterization allows her to obtain reality and with that, life-long ruin. A simple diamond necklace seems to symbolize money and greed; and that is exactly what Madame Loisel wanted. She wanted to seem important.
She wanted to be important. She was born into a family of clerks and lived her life as a middleclass woman, ashamed of leading a plain and simple life with her husband who also belonged to a family of clerks. “She had no dresses, no jewels, nothing. And she loved nothing but that; she felt made for that. She would so have liked to please, to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after. ” (941) With the invitation to a ball, she wanted to be presented to society as a wealthy woman, in order to do that, she needed a beautiful gown and jewels to go with it.
Her husband suggesting that her jewels be natural with accordance to his nature says: “You might wear natural flowers. It’s very stylish at this time of the year. ” (942) He wants her to be real; to appear to be her natural way – but she is not in agreement with that. She wishes to be more, and by denying the flowers, she goes for the next best thing: by asking a close friend to borrow some jewels. When looking for a mask to cover her “faults”, she “all of a sudden … [discovered], in a black satin box, a superb necklace of diamonds, and her heart began to beat with an immoderate desire. (942)
This desire seemed to engulf her – at the same time not knowing that this box would soon bring Pandora out to play – she took it out to the ball. Her thoughts obstructing her vision of reality, allowed her dreams to be caught up in a life that she would never lead: one filled with materialistic ambitions and high class respect. But none of that ever crossed her path except for a night of a total orgasmic utopia; where she found a pleasant lifestyle that she wished she had, by ruining what little comfort she had to begin with.
One night at a this ball, she reached that state of pleasantness, where “she danced with intoxication, with passion, made drunk by pleasure, forgetting all, in the triumph of her beauty, in the glory of her success, in a sort of cloud of happiness composed of all this homage, of all this admiration, of all these awakened desires, and of that sense of complete victory which is so sweet to a woman’s heart. ” (942) With one symbol of high class, she was able to feel special and wanted. But that symbol, eventually arriving with ignorance, brought her to her last thread.
Once she had her pleasure in seeming to be at a social standard that she was no part of, the night ended drunkenly. On her way back to her house, while walking next to the Seine, she looses the necklace, only to find out when she got home that it was really gone and couldn’t be replaced. Once this realization hits her, she and her husband go to a jeweler and try to find out how to replace the jewels by showing just the box. Eventually they end up borrowing money from friends, selling their things, moving to a smaller house, and firing the help. This all aided them in paying their loans back in order to purchase the diamond necklace. Mme. Loisel now knew the horrible existence of the needy. She took her part, moreover, all of a sudden, with heroism. That dreadful debt must be paid. She would pay it. ” (944)
That ruined her. She grew older, and ten years passed as her life flew by her eyes. They wasted away their lives to pay for this diamond necklace, and the irony of it all was that the necklace was not valuable. One day after years flown by, she meets her friend who once lent her an object that ruined her life. After admitting to her of her downfall in life, she comes to tell Mme Forestier of her unlucky dead end all because of the necklace she once borrowed.
At this, “… Mme. Forestier, strongly moved, took her two hands. ‘Oh, my poor Mathilde! Why, my necklace was paste. It was worth, at most five hundred francs! ‘” (946) At this shock, all of the past ten years of her life were meant nothing. If she had only accepted it all as it should have been… With the characterization of a stereotypical woman wanting to be more than she can handle, attaining a brutal symbolic ending, and meeting the downfall of what a wrong turn can take you to, she reaches her peak of disaster.
In all, Mme Loisel learned a valuable lesson at the morals of life: one should never wish to be more than one is. She was greedy and selfish and did not want anything but glamour and wealth – even if it meant borrowing a simple object that destroyed all the dreams she had of succeeding in society. With the ironic tone of Guy de Mapassant’s “The Necklace”, all the tragedy witnessed by the protagonist hits with a sudden shock to discover that her life was wasted away by “paste”.