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What is the theme of The Necklace?

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The short story The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant explores various themes. These include reality and illusion, women and beauty, greed, sacrifice, and happiness.

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One of the central topics of the literature piece is reality versus illusion. The main character of the story, Mathilde, borrows a diamond necklace. This signifies her wealth, beauty, and status. Once she loses the jewelry, she decides to take on debt to replace it. It takes ten years for Mathilde to pay off the credit, and she ruins her life completely. At the end of the story, it becomes apparent that the necklace was fake. The jewelry is shown as a symbol of Mathilde’s personality. She pretends to be wealthy, happy, and successful in front of other people. In reality, she is a middle-class woman who is deeply unhappy with her life. Mathilde is a jealous person, and she does not want to improve herself. She would rather masquerade her outward appearance.

Another theme of the short story is wealth versus happiness. Guy de Maupassant demonstrates that these two conditions are not interconnected. In the narrative, Mathilde strongly believes that she will be a truly happy person if she becomes wealthy. Instead, she devotes her life to buying the new necklace and becomes more miserable. The author strives to demonstrate that happiness can be achieved through different means.

De Maupassant also covers the theme of women and beauty. The central idea is that there is a common myth that beauty can serve women and help them achieve happiness. Mathilde also believes in this idea: she is beautiful, and thus she is easily accepted in high society. However, the author shows that Mathilde’s beauty does not provide her with a higher class position. Her appearance only makes her believe that she is a particular person.

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1. IvyPanda. "What is the theme of The Necklace?" December 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-is-the-theme-of-the-necklace/.


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IvyPanda. "What is the theme of The Necklace?" December 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-is-the-theme-of-the-necklace/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "What is the theme of The Necklace?" December 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-is-the-theme-of-the-necklace/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'What is the theme of The Necklace'. 23 December.

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