Question and story below. Any questions or concerns regarding assignment please ask.
One of the issues explored in this greed. What, specifically, do you think is being said about greed?
Find at least one quotation from the story that helps to support your answer and use proper MLA to cite it.
Guy de Maupassant
French Writer ( 1850 – 1893 )
Other Names Used:
Maupassant, Henri Rene Albert Guy de;
Little Masterpieces of Fiction
. Ed. Hamilton Wright Mabie and Lionel Strachey. Vol. 5. New York:
Doubleday, Page & Company, 1904. p20.
SHE was one of those pretty, charming girls
who are sometimes, as if through the irony of
fate, born into a family of clerks. S
without dowry or expectations, and had no means of becoming known, appreciated, loved, wedded, by any rich or influential man;
she allowed herself to be married to a sma
ll clerk belonging to the Ministry of Publ
ic Instruction. She dressed plainly because
could not afford to dress well, and was unhappy because she felt
she had dropped from her proper station, which for women is a
matter of attractiveness, b
eauty, and grace, rather than of fami
ly descent. Good manners, an in
tuitive knowledge of what is ele
nimbleness of wit, are the only
requirements necessary to place a woman of the pe
ople on an equality with
one of the aristocrac
She fretted constantly, feeling all things
delicate and luxurious to be her birthright
. She suffered on account of the meagrene
ss of her
surroundings, the bareness of the walls, the tarnished furniture, the ugly curtains; deficiencies which would have left any oth
of her class untouched, irritated and tormented her. The sight of the little Breton peasant who did her humble housework engend
hopeless regrets followed by fantastic dreams. She thought of a no
iseless, hallowed ante-room, w
ith Oriental carpets, lighted w
branching candlesticks of bronze
and of two big, kneebreeched foot
men, drowsy from the stoveheated
air, dozing in great arm-cha
She thought of a long drawing-room hung with ancient brocade,
of a beautiful cabinet holding pr
iceless curios, of an alluring,
boudoir intended for five-o’clock chats with intimates, with men
famous and courted, and whose acquaintance is longed for by al
When she sat down to dinner, at the round table spread with a cloth three days old, opposite her husband who uncovered the ture
and exclaimed with ecstasy, “Ah, I like a good stew! I know nothing to beat this!” she thought of dainty dinners, of shining pl
tapestry which peopled the walls with human shapes, and with strange birds flying among fairy trees. And then she thought of
delicious viands served in costly dishes, and of murmured gallantries which you listen to with a comfortable smile while you ar
eating the rose-tinted flesh of a trout or the wing of a quail.
She had no handsome gowns, no jewels—nothing, though these were he
r whole life; it was these that
meant existence to her. She
would so have liked to please, to be thought fascinating, to be
envied, to be sought out. She had a friend, a former schoolmate
convent, who was rich, but whom she did
not like to go to see any more because
she would come home jealous, covetous.
But one evening her husband returned home jubilant, holding a large envelope in his hand.
“Here is something for you,” he said.
She tore open the cover sharply, and drew
out a printed card bearing these words: “The Minister of Public Instruction and Mme.
Georges Ramponneau request the honour of M.
and Mme. Loisel’s company at the palace of
the Ministry on Mond
ay evening, January
Instead of being delighted as her husband expected, she threw the invitation on the table with disgust, muttering, “What do you
can do with that?”
“But, my dear, I thought you would be pleased. You never go anywhere, and this is such a rare opportunity. I had hard work to g
Every one is wild to go: it is very select, and invitations to
clerks are scarce. The whole of
ficial world will be there.”
She looked at him with a scornful eye, as she said petulantly, “And what have I to put on my back?” He had not thought of that.
stammered, “Why, the dress you wear to
the theatre; it looks all right to me.”
He stopped in despair, seeing his wife was crying. Two big tears
rolled down from the corners of
her eyes to the corners of her
“What’s the matter? What’s the matter?” he faltered.
With great effort, she controlled herself, an
d replied coldly, while she dried her wet cheeks:
“Nothing, except that I have no dress, and, for that reason, cannot go to the ball. Give your invitation to some fellow-clerk w
is better provided than I am.”
He was dumfounded, but replied:
“Come, Mathilde, let us see now—how much
would a suitable dress cost; one you co
uld wear at other times—something quite
She pondered several moments, calculating, and guessing too, how
much she could safely ask for without an instant refusal or
bringing down upon her head a volley of objections from her frugal husband.
At length she said hesitatingly, “I can’t say exactly, but I think I could do with four hundred francs.”
He changed colour because he was laying aside just that sum to buy a gun and treat himself to a little shooting next summer on
plain of Nanterre, with several friends, who went down there on
Sundays to shoot larks. Nevertheless, he said: “Very well, I wi
you four hundred francs. Get a pretty dress.”
The day of the ball drew near, and Mme. Lo
isel seemed despondent, nervous, upset, though her dress was all ready. One evening h
husband observed: “I say, what is the matt
er, Mathilde? You have been very queer lately
.” And she replied, “It exasperates me n
have a single ornament of any kind to put on. I shall look like a fright—I would almost rather stay at home.” He answered: “Why
wear flowers? They are very fashionable
at this time of the year. You can get
a handful of fine roses for ten francs.”
But she was not persuaded. “No, it’s so mortifying
to look poverty-stricken among women who are rich.”
Then her husband exclaimed: “How slow you are! Go and see your fr
iend, Mme. Forestier, and ask her to lend you some jewels. You
know her well enough to do that.”
She gave an exclamation of delight: “True! I never thought of that!”
Next day she went to her friend and poured out her woes. Mme. Forestier went to a closet with a glass door, took out a large
jewel-box, brought it back, opened it, and said to
Mme. Loisel, “Here, take
your choice, my dear.”
She looked at some bracelets, th
en at a pearl necklace, and then
at a Venetian cross curiously
wrought of gold and precious sto
tried on the ornaments before the mirror, hesitated, was loath to
take them off and return them. She kept inquiring, “Have you
“Certainly, look for yourself. I don’t know what you want.”
Suddenly Mathilde discovered, in a black sa
tin box, a magnificent necklace of diamonds
, and her heart began
to beat with excite
With trembling hands she took the necklace
and fastened it round her neck outside her dress, becoming lost in admiration of her
she looked in the glass. Tremulous w
ith fear lest she be refused, she asked, “Will you lend me this—only this?”
“Yes, of course I will.”
Mathilde fell upon her friend’s neck, kissed her passionately, and rushed off with her treasure.
The day of the ball arrived.
Mme. Loisel was a great success.
She was prettier than them all, lovely, gracious,
smiling, and wild with delight. All the men
at her, inquired her name, tried to be introduced; all the offici
als of the Ministry wanted a wa
ltz—even the minister himself n
her. She danced with abandon, with ecstasy,
intoxicated with joy, forget
ting everything in the triumph of her beauty, in the ra
her success, in a kind of mirage of bliss made up of all this wo
rship, this adulation, of all
these stirring impulses, and of t
of perfect surrender, so sweet to the sould of woman.
She left about four in the morning.
Since midnight her husband had been sleeping in a little deserted anteroom with three other men whose wives were enjoying
themselves. He threw over her shoulders the wraps he had brought,
ordinary, everyday garments, contrasting sorrily with her ele
ball dress. She felt this, and wanted to ge
t away so as not to be seen by the other women, who were putting on costly furs.
Loisel detained her: “Wait a little; you will catch cold outside; I will go and call a cab.”
But she would not listen to him, and hurried down-stairs. When
they reached the street they c
ould not find a car
riage, and they
to look for one, shouting to the cabmen who were passing by. They went down toward the river in desperation, shivering with col
last they found on the quays one of those antiquated, all-night
broughams, which, in Paris, wait till after dark before venturi
display their dilapidation. It took them to their door in the
Rue des Martyrs, and once more, w
earily, they climbed the stairs.
Now all was over for her; as for him, he remembered that he must
be at his office at ten o’clock. She threw off her cloak befor
glass, that she might behold herself once more in all her magni
ficence. Suddenly she uttered a cr
y of dismay—the necklace was g
Her husband, already half-undressed, called out, “Anything wrong?”
She turned wildly toward him: “I have—I
have—I’ve lost Mme. Forestier’s necklace!”
He stood aghast: “Where? When? You haven’t!”
They looked in the folds of her dress, in the folds of her cloak, in her pocket, everywhere. They could not find it.
“Are you sure,” he said, “that you had it on when you left the ball?”
“Yes; I felt it in the corridor of the palace.”
“But if you had lost it in the street, we should have heard it fall. It must be in the cab.”
“No doubt. Did you take his number?”
“No. And didn’t you notice it either?”
They looked at each other, terror-stricke
n. At last Loisel put on his clothes.
“I shall go back on foot,” he said, “over the wh
ole route we came by, to
see if I can’t find it.”
He went out, and she sat waiting in her ball dr
ess, too dazed to go to bed, cold, crushe
d, lifeless, unable
to think. Her husba
back at seven o’clock. He had found nothing. He went to Police
Headquarters, to the newspaper office—where he advertised a rewa
He went to the cab companies—to every pl
ace, in fact, that seemed at all hopeful.
She waited all day in the same awful state of mind at this terrible misfortune.
Loisel returned at nigh
t with a wan, white face.
He had found nothing.
“Write immediately to your friend,” said
he, “that you have broken the clasp of her
necklace, and that you have taken it to be
That will give us time to turn about.”
She wrote as he told her.
By the end of the week th
ey had given up all hope. Loisel,
who looked five years older, said
, “We must plan how we can replace
The next day they took the black satin box to the jeweller whose name was found inside. He referred to his books.
“You did not buy that
necklace of me, Madame. I can
only have supplied the case.”
They went from jeweller to jeweller, hunting for a necklace like
the lost one, trying to remember
its appearance, heartsick wit
and misery. Finally, in a shop at the Palais Royal, they found a st
ring of diamonds which looked to them just like the other. T
was forty thousand francs, but they could have it for thirty-six
thousand. They begged the jeweller
to keep it three days for t
made an agreement with him that
he should buy it back for thirty
-four thousand francs if they
found the lost necklace before th
e last of
Loisel had inherited eighteen thousand francs from his father. He
could borrow the remainder. And he did borrow right and left,
a thousand francs of one, five hundred of another, five louis
here, three louis there. He gave notes, assumed heavy obligations
trafficked with money-lenders at usurious rates, and, putting
the rest of his life in pawn, pledged his signature over and over
knowing how he was to make it all good, and terrified by the
penalty yet to come, by the dark destruction which hung over him,
certainty of incalculable deprivations of body and tortures of sould, he went to get the new bauble, throwing down upon the jew
counter the thirty-six thousand francs.
When Mme. Loisel returned the necklace, Mm
e. Forestier said to her coldly: “Why did
you not bring it back sooner? I might have
She did not open the case—to the great relief of her friend.
Supposing she had! Would she have discov
ered the substitution, and wh
at would she have said? Would she not have accused Mme.
Loisel of theft?
Mme. Loisel now knew what it wa
s to be in want, but she showed sudden and remark
able courage. That awful debt must be paid, and
she would pay it.
They sent away their servant, and moved up into a garret under the roof. She began to find out what heavy housework and the
fatiguing drudgery of the kitchen meant. She washed the dishes,
scraping the greasy pots and pans with her rosy rails. She wash
dirty linen, the shirts and dish-towels, which dried upon the line. She lugged slops and refuse down to the street every mornin
bringing back fresh water, stopping on every landing, panting for breath. With her basket on her arm, and dressed like a woman
people, she haggled with the fruiterer, the
grocer, and the butcher, often insulted, but getting every sou’s worth that belonge
d to her.
Each month notes had to be met, others renewed, extensions of
time procured. Her husband worked in the evenings, straightening
tradesmen’s accounts; he sat up late at night,
copying manuscripts at five sous a page.
And this they did for ten years.
At the end of that time they had paid up everything, everything—
with all the principal and the
accumulated compound interest.
Mme. Loisel looked old now. She had become a domestic drudge, si
newy, rough-skinned, coarse. With towsled hair, tucked-up skirt
and red hands, she would talk loudly while mopping the floor with
great splashes of water. But sometimes, when alone, she sat n
the window, and she thought of that gay evening long ago, of the ball where she had been so beautiful, so much admired. Supposi
she had not lost the necklace—what then? Who
knows? Who knows? Life is so
strange and shifting. How easy it is to be ruined or
But one Sunday, going for a walk in the Ch
amps elysées to refresh herself after her
hard week’s work, she accidentally came upo
familiar-looking woman with a child. It was Mme.
Forestier, still young, still lovely, still charming.
Mme. Loisel became agitated. Shou
ld she speak to her? Of course. Now that she
had paid, she would tell her all about it. Why no
She went up to her.
“How do you do, Jeanne?”
The other, astonished at the easy manner toward her assumed by a plain housewife whom she did not recognise, said:
“But, Madame, you have made a mistake; I do not know you.”
“Why, I am Mathilde Loisel!”
Her friend gave a start.
“Oh, my poor Mathilde,” she cried, “how you have changed!”
“Yes; I have seen hard days since last I sa
w you; hard enough—and
all because of you.”
“Of me? And why?”
“You remember the diamond n
ecklace you loaned me to w
ear at the Ministry ball?”
“Yes, I do. What of it?”
“Well, I lost it!”
“But you brought it back—explain yourself.”
“I bought one just like it, and it took us ten years to pay fo
r it. It was not easy for us who had nothing, but it is all over
now, and I am
Mme. Forestier stared.
“And you bought a necklace of
diamonds to replace mine?”
“Yes; and you never knew the difference,
they were so alike.” And
she smiled with joyful pr
ide at the success of it all.
Mme. Forestier, deeply moved, took both her hands.
“Oh, my poor Mathilde! My neck
lace was paste. It was worth on
ly about five
Guy de Maupassant
“The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant
Do you have an upcoming essay or assignment due?
If you are looking for a similar or different assignment contact us for help by placing an order anonymously and it will be delivered in time.Get Started & Get it within 6 Hours Order & Get it within 12 Hours
You can trust us for this and even for your future projects