Mathilde Loisel feels she has been cheated bylife from all of the wonderful things it has to offer. The reader learns howthese qualities in Mme. Loisel come back to haunt her for many years as thestory unfolds with an ironic ending. Mathilde Loisel, as the main character of the story, is truly believable.
She is described as “one of those pretty and charming girls who are sometimes,born into a family of clerks”(900). The author describes how she suffers fromher lifestyle of being middle-class. There is a stereotypical “rich man, poorman” quality as Mme. Loisel longs for the material things that her oldschoolmate Mme. Forester has.
The physical appearance of the characters as wellas their actions, thought, and emotions are very detailed throughout the story. The main character’s life, as well as her husband’s, takes a dramatic turn andthe author describes the physical and emotional changes in great detail. The story’s title does not signify the theme however, the theme of thestory is reiterated throughout the story. “She had no dresses, no jewels,nothing. And she loved nothing but that; she felt made for that. She would sohave liked to please, to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after”(900).
Mme. Loisel was envious of her friend and anyone else who had more than what shehad. She felt that she deserved these things. The plot grows completely out of the personalities of the characters. Asthe story opens, Mme.
Loisel’s husband comes home with an invitation to a ballat the palace. He had hoped that this invitation would lift Mme. Loisel’sspirits but it had an opposite effect. She insisted that she could not gobecause she had nothing to wear.
Mme. Loisel’s husband reluctantly gave her themoney he had been saving for a gun so she could buy a “suitable” dress. Next,Mme. decided that she would rather not go than go without jewelry. Her husbandsuggested that she borrow a piece from her friend, Mme. Forestier.
Mme. Forestier allowed Mme. Loisel to borrow “a superb necklace of diamonds”(902). Mathilde Loisel had a wonderful time at the ball. “She danced withintoxication, with passion, made drunk by pleasure, forgetting all, in thetriumph of her beauty, in the glory of her success, in a sort of cloud ofhappiness composed of all this homage, of all this admiration, of all theseawakened desires, and of that sense of complete victory which is so sweet to awoman’s heart”(902).
Upon arriving home, Mme. Loisel realized that thewonderful necklace she borrowed from Mme. Forestier was gone! Mathilde and herhusband looked everywhere but could not find the necklace. Mathilde called Mme.
Forestier and told her that she had broken the clasp of the necklace and washaving it fixed for her. The next day, Mme. Loisel and her husband bought anecklace to replace the one she had lost for thirty-six thousand francs. Buyingthe necklace was not a simple process for the couple. They borrowed a great sumof money from several different people and they both took on several jobs.
“Shecame to know what heavy housework meant and the odious cares of thekitchen”(904-905). “And dressed like a woman of the people, she went to thefruiterer, the grocer, the butcher, her basket on her arm, bargaining, insulted,defending her miserable money sou by sou”(905). After ten long years of hardwork, they finally finished paying their debts. Mathilde wondered what lifewould have been like if she had not lost the necklace. “How little a thing isneeded for us to be lost or to be saved”(905).
The climax of the story comes when one day, Mme. Loisel was taking a walkand saw Mme. Forestier. She called out to Mme. Forestier, but she insisted thatshe did not know Mme.
Loisel. “Mme. Loisel looked old now. She had become thewoman of impoverished households – strong and hard and rough”(905). WhenMathilde told her who she was, Mme. Forestier replied, “Oh, my poor Mathilde!How you are changed!”(905).
It had been such a long time and Mathilde had beenworking her .