The feeling of sympathy begins to change to a feeling of dislike. The tone that Maupassant sets in the first part of the story is important because it challenges the readers’ feelings at the end of the story. The combination of tone and the use of irony help shape the remainder of the story and change of mood. The most obvious use of irony is the overall result of the story. The story begins with Mathilde complaining about her lifestyle and wishing for something better. She goes to the extent of complaining about the peasant who did her house work. (178) Realizing at the end of the story the true meaning of housework.
This simple twist of fate is only one way that Maupassant begins to twist the story. Logically the reader should feel no sorrow for this woman; she received what was coming to her. But the reader should not feel sympathy for her because she did not act with virtue, she was materialistic and greedy. The other major use of irony is with the borrowing of the necklace, the image used to create the story. The borrowing and lose of any piece of jewelry could have been used to display the effectiveness of irony, but Maupassant takes a step further. He has Mathilde borrow a piece of jewelry that was not presented to her.
What comes to mind is the story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. In this case the necklace plays the role of the forbidden fruit, Mathilde plays Eve and Loisel plays Adam the man how is dragged down because of the love for his wife. Both are forever doomed by their actions. It was greed that made her choose the final necklace, believing that it was not presented to her because of its worth, when in reality it had very little worth. Mathilde and Loisel spend the next ten years of their lives paying back the debt for the lost worthless necklace. Irony is also used with the character of Loisel.
Loisel devotes himself to his wife and her happiness. He gets tickets to the ball thinking that it will make her happy. Her reply when handed the tickets is anything but grateful: “And what do you want me to put on my back? ” (179) She is ungrateful but he loves her right to the end. When the necklace is lost he spends the rest of his life trying to pay it back working extra jobs. He could have very easily separated himself from the whole affair and left the burden for her to bear. It is ironic that his downfall came because of the tickets he obtained for the ball.
A simple night out, with his wife and for his wife turned out to be a disaster. This story is one of greed, materialism and envy. Envy is another negative aspect of Mathilde’s personality. “She had no dresses, no jewels, nothing. And she loved nothing but that. ” (178) Maupassant’s uses the word nothing and immediately creates a feeling within the reader that they should feel bad for her. But in reality the line is displaying a negative characteristic. Maupassant word selection forces the reader once again to make a decision as to how they feel about Mathilde’s.
The combination of the three elements, leads Mathilde and her husband down a path they would rather not have taken. Maupassant’s story is put together perfectly. His use of irony was used flawlessly to emphasize the various aspects of the story. His decision to use a woman also added to the impact of the story. The use of a woman carries with it a negative cogitation. Women, especially in the late 19th century were not in a position of power, by using a woman the reader cannot help but feel for her, because of her position in society. The reader knowing this, will immediately give Mathilde the benefit of the doubt and not judge her quickly.
The final aspect of Maupassant’s style that truly adds to the effect of the story is the decision to have the necklace worthless at the end of the story. The story could have worked fine with Mathilde and her husband living out their days in poverty, having learned their lesson. Just as the reader thinks it cannot get any worse for them, Maupassant takes it a step further. He adds insult to injury. The feeling felt at the start of the story, sorrow, returns at the end of the story. Instead of feeling satisfaction the reader feels more sorrow.
Maupassant takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions, leaving the reader unsure of what to feel at the end of the story. It is this uncertainty that makes this story work so well. More often then not the reader knows what to feel at the end of the story. That is not the case with The Necklace; Maupassant forces the reader to judge Mathilde. 1 Sirianni Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer section.