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Analysis of “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant


In the short story, “The Necklace,” Guy de Maupassant presents Mathilde Loisel as a round character. Her traits make her appear to the reader as a real person. The author is able to achieve this through the use of both direct and indirect characterization to develop Mathilda Loisel’s characterization. His use of direct characterization is evident in his description of her beauty as well as personality through exposition. The author uses indirect characterization through Mathilde’s speech, her actions as well as her thoughts to provoke the reader to form an opinion about her character. For example, in demonstrating her life of poverty, she states, “No, there’s nothing more humiliating than to look poor among other women who are rich” (Maupassant 37). These two aspects present her as a round character.

The protagonist is Mathilde primarily because she is the center of all attention in the entire story. The short story opens with a description of Mathilde and her desire to be rich despite her conditions making her sympathetic to the reader. Everything else henceforth revolves around her in both positive and negative lights.
Suspense in the story is caused by the tension that results as the events unfold. The reader is left in a state of suspense after the necklace is lost wondering if it will be found. With diminishing hopes of finding the necklace, there is more suspense on what Mathilde will do next. Even after a replacement is found, the reader still wonders how the poor couple will pay for it. Climax refers to the point in the story when tension is at its highest peak. This is mostly when the central conflict is about to be resolved. In “The Necklace” the climax occurs at the end of the story when Mathilde is informed by Madame Forestier that the necklace that had caused so much grief was in fact a fake (Maupassant 42).
The setting of the story is in the 1880s Parisian society. This is a setting that reveals the contrasts that existed between rich and poor Parisians. The story opens in Mathilde’s poverty-ridden house. This setting effectively helps to create the mood of the story.
The author tells the story through an omniscient third-person point of view. By starting the story with a reference to Mathilde as “The girl was one of those…” Maupassant takes an all-knowing point of view with absolute knowledge about all the other characters (Maupassant 34). He tells the story from one all-knowing perspective of all characters and events.

Works Cited
Guy de Maupassant. “The Necklace.” Mercury Reader: EAC 150 College English. Eds. Janice Neulieb, Kathleen Shine, and Stephen Rufus. Boston: Pearson, 2008. 34-42. Print.

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