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The Necklace

Guy de Maupassant
Presenter: Vanessawiona &

About the author: Guy de Maupassant
Synopsis of the story
Definition of Marxist theory
Analysis of the story using Marxist theory:
a) Theme
b) Symbol
c) Characters
d) Setting

About the author

1850, August 5th: Born at the Chteau de

Miromesniel, Dieppe
1869: Started to study law in Paris
1870: Serve in the army during Franco-Prussian
1872-1880: A civil servant, ministry of maritime
affairs & serve at the ministry of education
Suffered from syphilis from his 20s and lead to
mental disorder.

Synopsis of the story

The Necklace is mainly about
Mathilde Loisel who had to work hard
for ten years to pay the debts after she
had lost the diamond necklace of Mrs
Forestier which she never knew it was
a fake one. Marxist theory was used to
analyse this story through its theme,
character, symbol and the setting.

Definition of Marxist theory

Human interactions are economically
driven and that the basic model of
human progress is based on a
struggle for power between
different social classes.

Analysis of the story using

Marxist theory

Theme :
The Deceptiveness of appearance
Mathilde lives in an illusory world where she
believes that her beauty and charm make
her worthy of great things.
For example De Maupassant depicts the
main character, Mrs. Loisel as, one of those
pretty, charming young ladies, born as if
through an error of destiny, into a family of
clerks (243). She held a false
consciousness that she deserved to live a
life with the dominant class and that it was
a tragedy that she was destined to be a
lower class society for the rest of her life.

According to Marx the moving for behind human history

is its economic systems and that peoples lives are
determined by their economic circumstances.
Therefore, it was not because of some tragic error in
fate, but because of the economic system that she was
enveloped in that she was not destined to live a life at
the top of the capitalist system. Capitalism divides
people into those who own property and therefore
control the means of production and those who do not.
Since those who control production have the power
base, they have ways to ensure that they will remain in
their position. Therefore, because she longed to have a
life of luxury, attention, and power, she dreamed of
being apart of the upper portion of a capitalist

The necklace also highlighted the deceptiveness of

The necklace acts as an illusion of richness and value.
Mathilde suggested that women who have jewelry are
The fake jewels suggests that even the wealthiest
members of society pretend to have more wealth than
they actually have. As the necklace changes
-unnoticed- from worthless to precious suggests that
true value is ultimately dependent on perception and
that appearances can be easily deceive.
Since the dominant class is the prevailing holders of
power of the base and the superstructure, the
worldview of the people is likely to be a false one.

Symbol :
The Necklace
Represents the power of perception and the split between
appearance and reality
Madame Forestier did not tell Mathilde that the necklace
was fake because she wants to give the illusion of being
wealthier than she actually is. This show the higher class
also struggle to maintan their domination of economic
The necklace is the center of deception that lead to
Mathildes downfall.
It suggests that trouble can come from denying the reality
of ones situation.
The struggle of the lower class to be with the higher class is
represented by the necklace which Mathilde wants and
consider as a symbol of wealthiness without knowing it was

Characters :
Portrayed as an ungrateful wife
She always wanted to be part of the upper
class society like her friend Mrs Forestier.
Because Mrs. Loisel was unwavering on having
an expensive dress and jewels she embodies
the attitude that Marx refers to as
commodification, which is the mind-set of
assessing possessions based on their outer
appearance, as well as their ability to amaze
others instead of the truth if they are really
wealthy or not.

When she arrived at the party, all the men

noticed her, asked her name, and wanted to be
presented (245). The Marxist term sign value,
which is the judgment of something because of
its ability to impress and make a person appear
to look better, can best describe Mathildes
thoughts at the party
This implies that Mathilde is not happy with the
life she lead now but only to be the high class
society as she loved all the attention.
From the ungratefulness in Mathildes vain
character, we can see that the lower class people
have a big gap with the dominant class.

Madame Forestier
Mathildes wealthy friend
Lends Mathilde the necklace but did not tell her it
was a fake necklace
She is horrified when she found out that Mathilde lost
the fake necklace and replace it with a real necklace.
The fact that she also wear fake necklace and the
author suggests that Madame Forestier is a woman
who wants to appear richer that she should be.
This implies that the high class society also have to
struglle to maintain their economic power and
continue the domination of the society.

Set in 1880 where the society still
lives separated by the social status
The lower class people did not
communicate with the higher class
people as they cannot compare their
They need to work hard to earn a
Mr. & Mrs. Loisel represent the lower

The society setting
The life of lower class society
i. Mathilde owns cheap belongings and still
dreams of being rich and having gourmet food
while her husband likes plain things and seems
rather happy for where he is in life.
ii. Her dream comes true [wearing expensive
clothes to a party] but instead of happy she is
upset and even more frustrated.
iii. Their life become worse and lead to hardship as
they are the lower class people who would not
be look upon by the higher class society.

The Marxist theory in The Necklace
is implies by the economy state in
this story. The lower class people
such as Mathilde and her husband
could no lead a better life because of
the lack of option they have and also
the society around them who look up
upon status of somebody. The gap
between the two social classes
implies that Marxist theory can be