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Monday, July 14, 2014

Summary: The Necklace

The Necklace Summary
The Necklace

Mathilde is a young woman from a humble background, who spends her time yearning for a life characterized by riches and material goods. She is displeased with her status, and with her marriage to a lowly clerk who works with the Ministry of Education. Though from a modest background she is very pretty, her beauty being enough to put her at the same status as a much wealthier woman. 

She has a friend who is wealthier than her, Madame Forestier, but who she struggles to keep in contact with due to resentment of her own situation. Her husband receives an invitation to an exclusive event at the Ministry, and gives it to Mathilde, expecting her to be excited. Instead she rejects the invitation, and cries at her lack of new clothing and jewels for the event. Her husband being supportive, asks Mathilde the cost of a new dress, and she gives him a cost that is the same sum he had saved for a new gun to go shooting with friends. 

He gives her his savings, and she later reveals that though she has a dress she needs jewels. At first he suggests she wears flowers, however, realizing that she is not pleased he later suggests she asks her wealthy friend. She visits her friend and chooses a diamond necklace from her collection. Her friend happily lends it to her, they embrace, and she leaves. She arrives at the ball and is the center of attention, even catching the eye of the Minister.

She spends the night dancing and thoroughly enjoys herself, while her husband sits waiting. They leave at around four o'clock, and take a carriage home. While undressing, she cries out at the realization that the necklace is gone. Her husband goes outside and searches for the necklace, and finds nothing. He then checks with the police station, cab company, and even presents a reward at the newspaper, yet he still does not find the necklace.

Her husband suggests that she tells her friend that the necklace is being repaired. After a week they both gave up looking and instead decide to replace the necklace. They find a jeweler with a replacement and negotiates to pay thirty six thousand francs. They took three days to gather the money, her husband taking out a series of loans. He eventually returns and gets the necklace.

She returns the necklace to Madame Forestier who seems displeased with the late return, but doesn't examine the piece. Mathilde and her husband then work for the next ten years paying off the loans. They get rid of the house help, Mathilde now having to take care of the responsibilities of the household. Her husband even gets another job as a copier. All the years labor turns Mathilde old and no longer beautiful.

She comes across Madame Forestier in the park and decides to tell her the truth about the necklace. She tells her everything from the night she lost the necklace, to the misery she has faced as a result. Madame Forestier then reveals that the necklace was only valued about five hundred francs.

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