The Necklace: The Theme Of Wealth And Humility

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In the short story “The Necklace,” we could see that a fake mein especially that of wealth is frequently overlaid with reality. To look wealthy, Mathilde proceeded to borrow a costly diamond necklace from her friend and then proceeds to misplace it at the ball. This placed Mathilde and her husband in a horrible predicament they are forced to purchase a costly substitute on credit, return the substitute necklace to the friend as though it were the original necklace, and then live ten years in hardship to repay their debts. In the end, however, Mathilde learns that the original necklace was nothing but a fake jewelry—the appearance of looking rich and the attentions she briefly achieved at the ball was based on fake jewelry and she has suffered uselessly to replace the fake jewelry with real ones, since neither she nor Madame Forestier could differentiate the real from the fake. This goes a long way to show that lack of self-control and failure to accept our reality and who we are can bring so much pain than we are willing to endure, failure to accept our reality is a recipe for disaster. Losing sight of our reality in order to give a false appearance can easily lead to doom. From the very start of the story, Mathilde always felt cheated, “as if by a slip of fate, into a family of clerks.” she feels that her appearance does not match her reality, as she is a beautiful woman whom loved being amongst the wealthy class. Being in the middle class felt like she was in a trap, she wholeheartedly believed that was a class well below where she has imagined herself. Since she believes that she couldn’t be affiliated with the middle class, Mathilde constantly suffered from self-imposed anguish “the poverty of her apartment, the dinginess of the walls, the shabbiness of the chairs, the ugliness of the fabrics.” Rather than acknowledging and appreciating what she has, she lives in a world full of envy and daydreams, imagining “hushed antechambers with Oriental hangings,” Henceforth, Mathilde believes that her beauty was a golden ticket to a life full of pleasures and extra ordinary wealth, this made her believed that she deserved much more, she yearned for a life that she has made up in her head.

Mathilde was in a constant battle between her reality and the delusion she has created for herself in her head. It wasn’t easy giving up the delusion that she has probably carried in her head all her life and finally humble herself to accept her reality. Mathilde’s husband luckily received an invitation to a wealthy ball, he rushed home to share the news with his beloved wife but to his surprise she wasn’t excited, she wanted she wanted an expensive gown that will go with an expensive ball and that still wasn’t enough she wanted an expensive necklace something that will make her the cynosure. She proceeded to ask her friend; her friend was generous enough to lend Mathilde what she thought was an expensive necklace. This made Mathilde was happy, she could barely contain herself. Mathilde seems intoxicated with all the attention she is getting from everyone at the ball, she has swiftly forgotten that their admiration of her is based, in part, on an appearance of wealth that does not match her reality. Mathilde misplaced the necklace but could not humble herself to confess to her friend madame Forestier that she had misplaced the necklace. In order to keep up with the delusion that she has created for herself, Mathilde and her husband are forced to go on a very strict financial budget in order to repay the fake necklace with an original. It took Mathilde and her husband 10 years to repay the necklace, they’ve been forced to sacrifice a lot just so they don’t look average. Now Mathilde finds Madame Forestier and finally tells her the truth 10 years later. Madame Forestier told her the necklace was not worth the 40,000 francs they had payed it was only a fake necklace that was worth 500 francs. Because of Mathilde’s pride and obsession with having a wealthy appearance, Mathilde loses 10 years of her life and spends all her money towards replacing a fake diamond necklace; a falsely wealthy appearance, just like Mathilde. The story goes a long way to tell us the value of contentment and humility; if Mathilde could humble herself to tell Madame Forestier what had happened, she’d have easily replaced the necklace with 500 francs and enjoyed the prosperity she had always daydreamed about. 

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