False Pride in The Necklace

Essay by american888 July 2004

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In Mauassant's essay, The Necklace Matilda Loisel borrowed a necklace from a rich friend, Mrs Forestier, so that she would not present a "shabby air in the midst of rich women." She loses the necklace but refuses to admit that. Her and her husband, not realizing that the necklace was fake, buy a similar necklace to return to Mrs Forestier. They end up having to work for ten years to pay off this debt. All of Mme. Loisel's actions leading up to the loss of the necklace were directed by an attempt to maintain her false sense of pride, for which she gave up her dignity over the next ten years.

Mme Loisel's thoughts and actions were conditionsed by her vain character. As Maupassant says, she "felt that she was made for" frocks, jewels, elegant dinners, and admirers. Since she and her husband were poor, she would weep for days "from chagrin, form regret, from despair adn disappointment."

When her and her husband wer invited to a fancy ball, she couldn't stand the thought of looking simple. She would be ashamed if she couldn't at least look equal to the other women at the ball.

True pride comes from self respect or satisfaction in achievement. Mme Loisel's only pride came from her physical appearance. She also had always wanted to gain pride through having material possesions. Her sense of self-importance at the ball was essentially claimed without right since it stemmed only from her outfit. This feeling lasted for one night, but the consequences of that evening continued for ten years.

Because of her false pride, Mme. Loisel did not think of different avenues to solve her problem and did not weigh the effects of her decision. The most obvious alternative would have been to be honest with Mrs Forestier.