Mme. Loisel spends much of her time imagining what life would be like if she were wealthy. These lavish scenes are even more replete with vivid imagery than the descriptions of reality. For example, "she thought of the exquisite food served on marvelous dishes, of the whispered gallantries, listened to with the smile of the sphinx while eating the rose-colored flesh of the trout or a chicken's wing"(p.32).
The scene of the party is beautifully written, drawing out Mme. Loisel's joy and the positive response she received from the crowd. In fact, the scene is almost a break from the realistic style of the story, using words such as "elegant"(p.34), "glory"(p.34), and "triumph"(p.34) to describe the joy of an upper-class event. The heightened description in this section serves to make the ironic twist of the remainder of the story even more impactful, and the reader is able to imagine easily what Mme. Loisel later looks back on fondly.
M. and Mme. Loisel's Poor Life
Maupassant shows his talent for realism through his descriptions at the end of the book. Having moved from middle class to the appearance of upper class to the poor class, the Loisels toil for ten years to pay off the cost of the replacement necklace. Maupassant especially focuses on the grueling work that Mathilde takes on, describing its effects on her body and her character: "She washed the dishes, using her rosy nails upon the greasy pots and the bottoms of the stewpans...She became a strong, hard woman...her hair badly dressed, her skirts awry, her hands red, she spoke in a loud tone"(p.36-7). This stark description contrasts with the romantic writing of the party scene to demonstrate the importance of social class to life in 19th-century France.
The Necklace Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Necklace is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The necklace which they gave Mme. Forestier was actually replacing a piece of costume jewelry. They paid for ten years to replace something that was hardly worth one or two days of Mme. Loisel's husband's salary.