The Necklace

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"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
Publication date 1884

"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.[1]

"The Necklace" has been adapted to film and television several times.


Madame Mathilde Loisel has always imagined herself in a high state of aristocracy. However, she is born relatively poor. She marries a low-paid clerk who tries his best to make her happy but has nothing. 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, and wishes not to be embarrassed.

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 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 purchasing it for 36,000 francs. The couple has sold everything they owned and getting loans, but the long path of financial struggles begins as Mathilde 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 a fake made of glass, and only worth 500 francs.

Adaptations and other influence[edit]

The following are direct adaptations of "The Necklace":

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[4]
  • "Mr. Know-All" (1925) and "A String of Beads" (1943), short stories by Somerset Maugham that both revolve around the price of a necklace[5]
  • Vennila Veedu (2014), a Tamil family drama 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.


  1. ^ Roberts, Edgar (1991). Writing Themes About Literature (7th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. p. 4. ISBN 9780139710605. 
  2. ^ Dillon, Michael (2010). China: A Modern History. London: I. B. Tauris. p. 207. ISBN 9781850435822. OCLC 705886007. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Rudden, Liam (15 August 2008). "Mathilde makes it to the stage". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  4. ^ James, Henry. "Paste". The Henry James scholar's Guide to Web Sites. Retrieved 27 September 2014. The origin of "Paste" is rather more expressible. 
  5. ^ Shukman, Henry (28 May 2004). "Homage to Maupassant". The Guardian.