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The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant (Summary and Review) – Minute Book Report


This is a story about a plain woman who lives
in France who thinks she deserves better in
life. She wants to be beautiful, powerful,
and respected by everyone (Don’t we all?).
But she is sad that she will never achieve
this because she married a poor clerk.
One day her husband says that they are invited
to a banquet with the high social crowd. She
gets upset because she has nothing to wear.
Her husband had been saving money for a new
gun, but gives all of it to her for a new
dress.
As the date of the event approaches, she realizes
that she needs jewelry. She doesn’t have any
so she asks her friend if she can borrow a
beautiful necklace. She wears it to the banquet,
everyone loves her, and she has finally found
happiness.
After they return home, she realizes that
she has lost the priceless necklace. They
try to search for it, but decide that they
must replace it instead. After buying a few
extra days with the necklace, the couple borrows
money from anyone that they know in order
to buy a replacement.
They do, in fact, give the friend the new
necklace, but are left in so much debt that
it takes them ten years to pay it back. The
woman has to scrub floors and her husband
has to work several jobs. During this time,
the woman grows tired and has aged considerably.
Then one day, the woman sees her friend, but
her friend doesn’t recognize her. The woman
explains that she has had to work off the
debt from the necklace that she had borrowed.
The friend then explains that the original
necklace was a fake.
While this story takes place in a different
country and time, the parallels are still
applicable today. So many people are driven
by comparing themselves to what others have.
If only I had that car, or house, or shoes,
then I’d be happy.
Avoiding materialism is the obvious message
of this story. However, looking a little further,
we see how this story is about trading beauty
for material things. The woman sacrificed
her youth and marriage just for a necklace.
It’s tragic.
Remember to always get a price check on things
because before you know it, you’ll be 50 years
old and wondering why you are working part-time
at McDonald’s.

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