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How Does the Main Character in the Necklace Change from Beginning to End?

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Madame Loisel is the main character of The Necklace. She undergoes a radical change from being preoccupied with material possessions to discovering appreciation of what one has in life.

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At the beginning, we see Madame Loisel as a person who despises her middle-class lifestyle. Besides, she suffers from “the poorness of her house.” She is living in relative comfort and even has a servant. But the main character is unhappy with it and wishes for more luxury and delicacy. She imagines herself in exquisitely decorated rooms, with charming men who are ready to seek her attention. In her mind, she is at numerous parties, but it all conflicts with reality.

She spends most of her time at home. The reason is that she is afraid of the humiliation of showing her humble clothes in public. Once her husband invites her to go to an exclusive party at the Ministry he works for. The event becomes a rare opportunity for Madam Loisel to participate in her dream. There, she wishes to appear to others as a woman of wealth. To reach this goal she goes as far as to borrow a diamond necklace from her friend to wear at the party.

The behavior of Madam Loisel demonstrates one of the story’s themes. The theme is people’s constant desire for more even if it means living beyond their means. This desire stems from false values such as conspicuous consumption. Her infatuation with material possessions provokes physical responses in her body. For example, when she puts on the necklace, she remains “in ecstasy at the sight of herself.”

Yet, the moment when she loses this piece of jewelry marks the beginning of a fundamental change in Madame Loisel’s life and character.

The need to buy a replacement for the necklace pushes the family into extreme poverty. It becomes a hard lesson for Madam Loisel. She is now forced to perform duties such as washing linen and emptying the trash can. So the main character experiences change not only physically but in her value system. Now, she understands what real poverty and hard work are. It allows her to learn humility, appreciate what she has, and make her an overall better person.

Ten years of toil erase her beauty and turn her into a strong working woman. This woman has mastered harnessing her desires and lives without dreaming of expensive possessions. She no longer cares about how she looks, what clothes she wears, and what others may think about it. The author describes her as: “her hair was badly done, her skirts were awry.” However, this experience has granted her freedom from the false values. Those values were imposed on her by society and her dreams of a beautiful life.

The end of the story depicts this change of Madam Loisel for the better in the scene with Madame Forestier. She is the woman who lent her the necklace. In the past, she would have run away from her friend, fearing she would see her in poor clothes or reprimand her for losing the original jewels. Yet, now, Madame Loisel is free from concerns about her social standing. So she openly approaches her friend to tell her the truth about what happened ten years ago.

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IvyPanda. (2021, December 22). How Does the Main Character in the Necklace Change from Beginning to End? https://ivypanda.com/q/how-does-the-main-character-in-the-necklace-change-from-beginning-to-end/

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IvyPanda. (2021, December 22). How Does the Main Character in the Necklace Change from Beginning to End? Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/q/how-does-the-main-character-in-the-necklace-change-from-beginning-to-end/

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"How Does the Main Character in the Necklace Change from Beginning to End?" IvyPanda, 22 Dec. 2021, ivypanda.com/q/how-does-the-main-character-in-the-necklace-change-from-beginning-to-end/.

1. IvyPanda. "How Does the Main Character in the Necklace Change from Beginning to End?" December 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/how-does-the-main-character-in-the-necklace-change-from-beginning-to-end/.


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IvyPanda. "How Does the Main Character in the Necklace Change from Beginning to End?" December 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/how-does-the-main-character-in-the-necklace-change-from-beginning-to-end/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "How Does the Main Character in the Necklace Change from Beginning to End?" December 22, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/how-does-the-main-character-in-the-necklace-change-from-beginning-to-end/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'How Does the Main Character in the Necklace Change from Beginning to End'. 22 December.

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