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Chapter: THE NECKLACE | JKBOSE Class 10th English Notes



1. Live within your means: One of the strong themes of this story revolves around the fact that one should be thankful and content with what one had because one may have to pay terrible price for one’s greed. If we don’t have what we like, we must like what we have. As it is said that the best and wonderful things in life are for free. We can’t buy happiness, peace and contentment of our souls. Our happiness depends upon our capacity to limit our desires and not upon the number of material things we possess. Such an attitude blesses our life with permanent joy but, Matilda, forgets this fact and couldn’t control her lust for material gains which made her life a tale of misery and led to her downfall. 

2. Honesty is the best policy: Then theme of the necklace is about honesty. The author is trying to stress upon the importance of telling the truth, if Matilda, would have confessed it to her friend that she had lost her necklace, she would not have a guilty conscience and more importantly she would have come to know about the actual price of that necklace. She would not have had to slave and toil for next ten years with her husband to repay the debts. 

3. Appearances can be deceptive: It can be seen in this story also, when Matilda, appeared at the ball, her short glamorous look was as fake as her necklace. Matilda, who was happy to be wearing that necklace, was unaware of the fact that the necklace was fake as she had borrowed it from her friend. Later, when she misplaced it somewhere, instead of confessing it to her friend, she bought another necklace which was real and worth 36,000 francs. To buy that necklace she had to borrow money from others and later had to toil hard for 10 long years to clear the debts. She was once again heart broken when she came to know from her friend that the borrowed necklace was a fake one. 

Symbolism:- The necklace is patently the biggest symbol in this story. 

a) Firstly, the necklace symbolizes wealth and high social status that Matilda Loisel had ever wanted. 

b) Secondly, the fake necklace symbolizes desire for, what one cannot have and lust for material gains. The fact that it’s fake, just makes it much more symbolic of the greed and sacrifice that consumes Madame Loisel [Matilda Loisel] and her husband. 

c) Another symbol is the shoulder wrap which her husband went to put on her shoulders after the party, which again was a reality check as to who she really was and who she was trying to be.

IRONY: Situational irony has been used in this story. Madame Loisel longed for luxurious life. Exquisite food, clothes and jewels was all that she would dream of every time but was forced to live the life of austerity. One day she was invited for a gala party for which she borrowed a necklace from her friend, Madame Forestier, as she considered that diamond necklace to be the symbol of wealth and high social status. However, fate deceived her and she lost that necklace after the party. Thus, Loisel had to borrow a large sum of thirty - six thousand francs to replace the necklace which made their life difficult for next ten years. Matilda and her husband had to struggle hard for ten long years to pay the debts to money lenders. They shifted to humbler lodgings and did without a servant. Matilda had to slave all day, doing the house work herself. Her beauty faded, her hands turned worse and red. Monsieur Loisel, too worked overtime to clear the debts. However, she happened to meet Madame Forestier after ten years, she could not hold her tongue and explained what she had to do to replace the necklace and finally got to know from her friend that the necklace she had borrowed from her was fake. 


A1) The course of the Loisel's life changed due to the necklace. Mr Loisel wedded Matilda a pretty, young lady. Being poor she herself had no dowry, no hopes or means and although she longed to be married to a wealthy person, fate deceived her and she was wedded to a petty clerk in the office of the Board of Education. Her husband tried hard to please her but she was fed up with the life of austerity that she was forced to live. She longed for luxuries and exquisite food, clothes and jewels. One day her husband got an invitation for a gala party and thought his wife would be elated. However, she threw tantrums as she neither had a dress or jewels to grace such an occasion. Her husband gave her money to buy an elegant dress and told her to borrow jewels from her good friend Madam Forestier. Matilda borrowed a diamond necklace form her friend which proved to be the turning point in her life. Matilda thoroughly enjoyed herself at the party as she was greatly admired by one and all. However, on returning home she perceived that she had lost the necklace. Thus Loisel had to borrow a large sum of 36 thousand Francs to replace the necklace. This changed the entire course of their lives. Matilda now had to lead a very hard life. She had to move to humbler lodgings and do without a servant. Matilda had to slave all day, doing the housework herself. Her beauty faded, her hands turned coarse and red and she aged overnight. Loisel too worked overtime to pay the debts to moneylenders. This continued for 10 long years till they cleared all debts. Had Matilda been content with her life, when she was young and not run after money, fame and riches she would have been much happier. But in the rat race to show-off, she had to pay a heavy price. 

A2) Matilada came from a humble family and was married to a humble clerk who earned a modest income. She suffered constantly as she felt she was for all the luxuries in life. She disliked the austere and shabby environment of her house which tortured ad angered her. While serving food in a tureen, she longed for elegant dinners served in shining silver ware. She longed to wear exquisite clothes and expensive jewelry. When she visited a rich friend of hers, she suffered from an inferiority complex and wept in despair. When she was invited to a gala party, she forced her husband to spend money beyond his humble means to purchase an elegant dress for the occasion. To satisfy her false pride and vanity she borrowed a necklace which she lost and all this made her to spend the next 10 years in poverty to repay debts. False pride and unfulfilled, unrealistic desires led to her ruin. If she had supported her caring, loving husband in living a life of simplicity, she would have been more content today. 

A3) Matilda would have been benefited in two ways if she had confessed the truth. Firstly, she would not have a guilty conscience and more importantly she would have come to know about the actual price of that necklace. She would not have had to slave and toil for the next 10 years with her husband to repay the debts. She could have easily bought the necklace worth 500 francs for her friend and perhaps her friend would have forgiven her and not asked for a replacement at all. 

A4) I would tell the truth to my friend. In this case, the truth would have saved me from a life of toil and labour and I would be able to have a clear conscience in my future relationship with my friend. 

A5) Matilda was a pretty young woman born in a poor family. Without a proper dowry she was married to a petty clerk which disappointed her. She was extremely unhappy with her situation as she wanted to climb the social ladder of fame, wealth and success. Her poverty and shabby apartment depressed her. She felt she was born for luxuries and their absence in her life tortured and angered her. Her loving and caring husband tried to amuse her in several ways but she would day-dream of elegant dinners served in elegant silver-ware. She longed for exquisite dresses and jewels. She was unhappy when her husband brought an invitation to a gala party as she didn’t have proper clothes and jewels to grace the occasion. When she got the desired clothes and jewels she was the happiest woman on earth. All the happiness turned to dust overnight, when she lost the necklace and her life became difficult. She was punished heavily for her pride, vanity, ego and selfishness. She had to struggle hard for the next 10 years which aged her. She now turned into a hard, crude woman with red, coarse hands with an untidy appearance. However, she changed into a better human being and was finally content at heart.  

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