La Parure, illustration of the title page of the Gil Blas, 8 October 1893
|Author||Guy de Maupassant|
|Original title||"La Parure"|
"The Necklace" or "The Diamond Necklace" (French: La Parure) is an 1884 short story by French writer Guy de Maupassant. It is known for its twist ending, which was a hallmark of de Maupassant's style. The story was first published on 17 February 1884 in the French newspaper Le Gaulois.
"The Necklace" has been adapted to film and television several times.
Madame Mathilde Loisel has 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 Education 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 40,000 francs, eventually it was sold to them for 36,000 francs. In order to save themselves from the shame they will receive from society they get the new necklace after selling everything they owned and getting loans, but the long path of her financial struggles begins as she falls into debt.
Ten years later, while in the Champs-Elyses, 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.
Adaptations and other influence
The following are direct adaptations of "The Necklace":
- The Diamond Necklace (1921), a British silent film directed by Denison Clift and starring Milton Rosmer, Jessie Winter, and Warwik Ward
- A String of Pearls (Yichuan Zhenzhu) (1926), a Chinese film directed by Li Zeyuan
- "The Necklace" (1949), the first episode of the NBC-TV series Your Show Time (producer Stanley Rubin won the first-ever Emmy Award for this episode)
- Mathilde (2008), a stage musical by the Irish composer Conor Mitchell
The following works were inspired in part by "The Necklace":
- "Paste" (1899), a short story by Henry James in which the twist ending is reversed
- "Mr. Know-All" (1925) and "A String of Beads" (1943), short stories by Somerset Maugham that both revolve around the price of a necklace
- Vennila Veedu (2014), a Tamil family drama directed by Vetri Mahalingam and starring Mirchi Senthil and Vijayalakshmi, which uses a similar story as its main theme
In Vladimir Nabokov's novel Ada or Ardor (1969), one of the characters, a writer, claims she has written a short story entitled "La Rivière du diamants", which mimics Maupassant's "The Necklace". The moment in which this occurs is set in the book to be around 1884, the year in which Maupassant actually published his short story.
- Roberts, Edgar (1991). Writing Themes About Literature (7th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. p. 4. ISBN 9780139710605.
- Dillon, Michael (2010). China: A Modern History. London: I. B. Tauris. p. 207. ISBN 9781850435822. OCLC 705886007. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- Rudden, Liam (15 August 2008). "Mathilde makes it to the stage". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
- 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_.
- Shukman, Henry (28 May 2004). "Homage to Maupassant". The Guardian.