The Necklace

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Necklace (disambiguation).
"The Necklace"
La Parure - Gil Blas.jpg
La Parure, illustration of the title page of the Gil Blas, 8 October 1893
Author Guy de Maupassant
Original title "La Parure"
Country France
Genre(s) Short story
Publisher La Parlure
Publication date 1884
Published in English 1982
Preceded by "The Necklace"
Followed by "Guy"

"The Necklace" or "The Diamond Necklace" (French: La Parure) is a short story by Guy De Maupassant, first published on 17 February 1884 in the French newspaper Le Gaulois.[1] The story has become one of Maupassant's popular works and is well known for highlighting martyr, and its ending. It is also the inspiration for Henry James's short story, "Paste".[2] It has been dramatised as a musical by the Irish composer Conor Mitchell;[3] it was first produced professionally by Thomas Hopkins and Andrew Jenkins for Surefire Theatrical Ltd at the Edinburgh Festival in 2007.


"The Necklace" tells the story of Madame Mathilde Loisel and her husband. Mathilde always imagined herself in a high social position with wonderful jewels. However, she has nothing and marries a low-paid clerk who tries his best to make her happy. Through lots of begging at work her husband is able to get a couple of invitations to the Ministry of Public Instruction party. Mathilde then refuses to go, for she has nothing to wear.

Her husband is upset to see her displeasure and, using money that he was saving to buy a hunting rifle, gives Mathilde 400 francs to use. Mathilde goes out and buys a dress, but even with the dress she is not happy, as she is without any jewels to wear with it. The pair does not have much money left, so her husband suggests that she should buy flowers to wear with it. After Mathilde disagrees, he suggests borrowing something from her friend, Madame Jeanne Forestier. Mathilde goes to Madame Forestier and picks out her fanciest piece, a stunning diamond necklace. She looks at it with covetousness. After attending the party, Mathilde discovers that she has lost the necklace. She tries to find a quick way to replace it. She goes to a shop and discovers the price of a similar necklace to be 36,000 francs. She gets the new necklace after borrowing the money, but the long path of her financial struggles begins as she falls into debt.

Ten years later, while in a park, she suddenly sees Madame Jeanne Forestier, who barely recognizes her in her dire state. As the women are talking, Mathilde recounts the story of losing the necklace, and that it was because of Madame Forestier that she has lived so terribly the past 10 years. After explaining the purchase of the new necklace, Madame Forestier takes Mathilde's hands, explaining that her original necklace was an imitation and only worth 500 francs. (The author was famous for surprise endings like this.)



  1. ^ Roberts, Edgar (1991). Writing Themes About Literature (7th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. p. 4. ISBN 9780139710605. 
  2. ^ James, Henry. "Paste". The Henry James scholar's Guide to Web Sites. Retrieved 27 September 2014. The origin of "Paste" is rather more expressible, since it was to consist but of the ingenious thought of transposing the terms of one of Guy de Maupassant's admirable _contes_. 
  3. ^ Rudden, Liam (15 August 2008). "Mathilde makes it to the stage". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  4. ^ Dillon, Michael (2010). China: A Modern History. London: I. B. Tauris. p. 207. ISBN 9781850435822. OCLC 705886007. Retrieved 9 July 2012.