Marxism in Woman’s Life in the Necklace
In “The Necklace”, Guy de Maupassant uses a woman’s life, and very important event in it, to depict the Marxism of his or her lifetime, especially amongst women. He uses comparisons and downfalls of her life to depict society’s shortcomings and beliefs of class. Marxism looks at the economic and social structures of a society and the draws attention to the struggles between the classes. A Marxist might believe that people are born as creations of economical or social positions. Born to a family of clerks, Mrs. Mathilde Louise was beautiful by looks, but felt as if she was not because she could not afford to dress well, eat well, or live well.
She felt everything she had was ugly and until she was rich she would be unhappy. Matilda’s husband received an invitation for him and her to attend a very high-class party, which he believed she would be ecstatic to attend but yet because of her downfalls and the Marxism of her society she felt as if she was not good enough. Mathilde felt as she was always made for something better than she was. Guy de Maupassant says, “She suffered from the poverty of her dwelling, from the wretched look of the walls, from the worn out chairs, from the ugliness of the curtains.
All those thing of which another woman of her rank would have never even been conscious, tortured her and made her angry. ” (Maupassant, 68). Here he depicts Marxism by showing that normal things that should have never worried her or made her conscious did so, and to a point made her paranoid. This is a depiction of her and the social class she was “trapped in” longing desperately for something it could not have at that point. Social structures and classes are also looked upon Mathilde felt as if she had nothing to wear to an upper class party.
Mathilde’s husband received the invitation for her and himself to attend the Palace for a party, thinking she would be ecstatic and that she would enjoy becoming one of the “elites” for a period of time. As she opened the invitation an anger arose inside of her, because she believed she had nothing worth wearing. She suggested that he give the invitation away but her husband suggested they buy a new dress to fix the problem. Matihlde feels as if the upper class wears nicer clothes than she could have and that she would have to pay lot of money for such clothes.
She believed this because what others have told her and what she dreamed of having. Was this true, or was this a lie people told her? He uses clothing to show a clash between classes, and how something so simple caused a major downfall in her life. Feeling as if she was made to work and not enjoy life’s greater things, Matilda was feeling down again as the party drew near. Now having a dress but feeling as if she was to poor to have jewelry, Mathilde says “No; there’s nothing more humiliating than to look poor among a lot of rich women.
” Her husband, who goes nameless throughout this book suggest that she could have used flowers to compliment her dress but she felt as if the rich upper class paid a lot more for jewelry. Here Maupassant depicts the division of the social and economic classes again by using something as small as the jewelry one wears to a party. He appeals to women here because most women want to wear the so-called “rich” jewelry and clothes to a party, so they feel for Matilda. To solve the problem she contacts an old friend who is of the rich class about borrowing some jewelry.
Her friend, Mme. Forestier, had an abundance of jewelry showed her the jewelry case and told her to choose whatever she may like. Mathilde looks through her jewelry until she finds the one that she thinks is the most expensive of all and asks if she can loan that one. Mme. Forestier replies with a yes and Matilda becomes ecstatic. Marxism is shown here when she picks the most expensive one; Maupassant has her choose the most expensive one to show her dire longing for this life and the things she believes it is made of.
Maaussant has her choose the most expensive one to show that she wants to be considered the richest of all. She wants and is obsessed with what she believes she should have, but does not. She dream of being part of the rich society and in a way this necklace made her feel as if she was part of it. This piece of expensive and beautiful jewelry showed social structure and classes and how they worked, but so did her actions, thoughts, and how she carried herself at the ball. When it was time for the ball Guy de Maupassant uses Mathilde to show Marxism again by the way she acts and carries herself.
The story says “She danced with delight, with passion, intoxicated with pleasure, thinking of nothing, in the triumph of her beauty, in the glory of her success, in a sort of cloud of happiness made up of all these tributes, of all the admirations, of all these awakened desires, of this victory so complete and so sweet to a woman’s heart. ” (Maupassant, 70). The ball itself was a peak into the life of the upper class and she thought that this was what the upper class life was about. In her mind the rich life was a big ball or party in a sense, people had depicted in her mind and made her believe this is what it is like.
He depicted her as being in heaven almost in her dreams but it was real, for that small amount of time she could be who she had always wanted to be but the next day she was still married to a clerk schoolteacher. After the ball she realizes that she has lost the thing that brought her up to the upper class, the necklace. After the party Mathilde realizes she has lost the necklace that she borrowed and soon realizes that she will in some way have to pay it back. Her and her husband search all night and day for the necklace with no prevail.
Finally they come to the reality that they will have to pull out a loan and live in extreme poverty for ten years to pay for another one to give to here friend. They take out loans to buy the necklace to give it back to Mme. Forester. The necklace cost 360,000 francs. For ten years Mathilde and husband live in poverty paying for the necklace, constantly trying to meet deadline and pay back many loans. This resembled Marxism in a way because although Mathilde had fun and became rich for that night it came at the great cost of living in poverty for the next ten years.
These ten years, or one might say attending the ball, caused her to age greatly and become a woman of poverty. The book describes her as having “frowsy hair, skirts askew, and red hands, and she talked loud,” at the end of the ten years because that is what she grew to be to be able pay the loans. (Maupassant, 72). Mathilde soon learns that her dance may not have been totally worth 360,000 francs. Soon after paying off the loans, Mathilde sees Mme. Forester again in town and decides now might be the time to tell her about the necklace.
When she tells her that she had lost the original necklace and had spent the last ten years paying for the replacement she purchased, Mme. Forestier explains that it was a fake and had only cost 500 francs. Maupassant uses this to show that she has changed and has become full of pride in who she is and the work her and her husband have done. She is no longer down about herself and wanting to be rich she is content with where she is. He almost depicts her as decreasing in social status of what she was originally but by doing this she realizes to be content where she is at and what she has in life.
Maupassant uses “The Necklace” to show the vast differences, wants, and beliefs of social and economic structures during his time. The Necklace uses Mathilde’s life as a clerk to show the differences in middle, lower, and upper class. It shows the struggle and clashes between them, especially the middle and upper classes. Mathilde longs for a necklace and lifestyle that could not be hers and it took ten long aging years for her to realize that the struggle between classes could be solved if people were content where they are at.