The story ‘ The Necklace’ is about a common human weakness the desire to win fame. The ambition to rise higher and look more glamorous can lead to one’s downfall. Madame Loisel was pretty and charming but was unhappy as she was married to a clerk and couldn’t afford the luxuries of life. One day her husband got an invitation to a ball from the office of the Minister of Public instruction. Instead of feeling happy, she looked distressed as had no proper grown for t he occasion. Mr. Loisel reluctantly cut short on his personal expenses and bought her a nice gown. But she was still not happy as she had no matching jewellery. At her husband’s suggestion, she borrowed a diamond necklace from her friend, Madame Forestier. She was a great success at the ball. However, her joy and excitement was short-lived as on returning home she discovered that the necklace was lost. Then began the nightmarish phases of their lives. In order to pay off the debts they had incurred for buying a replica of the necklace, they had to live life like paupers. Madame Loisel’s beauty was lost. She had to pay a very heavy price for her folly. The irony of it all was that years after her hard struggle. She accidentally met her friend and discovered that the diamond necklace for which they had to pay thirty-six thousand francs was fake and cost only cost about some five hundred franc. The story has an element of pathos and sadness. One experiences a sense of loss and feels touched by the helplessness and pathetic condition of the Loisels.
SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS:
How was Mathilde Loisel ‘a slip of fate’?
Ans. Mathilde Loisel was very pretty and charming. She appeared to be a lady of high family. But she was born in a poor family. She had no dowry and hence she had to marry a petty clerk. She wanted to enjoy the luxuries of life, but now she had to lead an ordinary life. Thus she was a mistake of destiny – a slip of fate.
What all did the Loisels had to cut down on to buy the new necklace?
Ans. The Loisels moved into a garret under the roof and dismissed their servants. Madame Loisel was forced to do heavy housework and odious chores of the kitchen. She wore cheap clothes and bargained with the grocer, butcher and full-sellers. Her husband worked at making up tradesman’s accounts each evening and working late at night, copied manuscripts at five sous a page.
What suggestions did Mr. Loisel make when Mathilde Loisel asked for jewellery?
Ans. At first, he said that she could wear flowers. Natural flowers were quite fashionable at that time o the year. They could get two or three magnificent roses for ten francs. Mathilde was not convinced. She did not want to look poverty-stricken among rich ladies. Then he said that she could go to her friend Madam Forestier and borrow some jewels. She would certainly lend her some jewellery. She shouted with joy at this suggestion.
Describe how ‘the Necklace’ has a twist in the end?
Ans. The Loisels bought a diamond necklace for thirty-six thousand francs and gave it to Madame Forestier. They did manual jobs for ten years to repay their heavy burden. Mme Loisel felt proud that they had repaid everything. She was shocked to learn that Madame Forestier’s necklace was false and cheap. Mathilde could repent only. But her repentance could neither bring back the ten years lost in hard labor nor recover her loss of thirty six thousand francs.
‘All was ended for her’ ---
- Who does ‘her’ refer to ?
- What were the things that ended for her ?
- What were the changes that took place in her life ?
Ans. (i) ‘Her refers to Madame Loisel.
(ii) Both the enjoyment of the ball and the way of life changed for her. She had to now live a life of extreme poverty.
(iii) The Loisels had to change houses – shifting to a cheaper house. Mathilde had to do all the housework herself; the hard work aged her before her time. Her husband Monsieur Loisel had to work overtime to repay their debts.
‘My necklace was paste I’ – Bring out the irony of Madame Forestier’s remark.
Ans. The irony of Madame Forestier’s remark was that her necklace was a fake but the Loisels replaced it with a real diamond necklace of which their lives were completely ruined, the tragedy was that they hadn’t shared the truth with Madame Forestier. They bore the sufferings with dignity and lived like paupers in order to pay off the huge debt they had incurred in buying the real necklace. The tragedy was that if they had shared the truth with Madame Forestier, all their misery could have been saved.
Long Answer Type Questions :
Imagine you are Madame Loisel. Write a diary entry expressing your feelings on realizing that the ten years of hard work and pain had been completely unnecessary and could have been avoided.
Ans. 19th December. 10.00 p.m. Wednesday.
I had curbed my vanity and hunger for admiration from men folk. But who does not want to be praised ? it is a universal weakness of the fair sex. Secondly, I stood on a false point of honor or you may call it, an inflated ego that checked me from revealing the true facts to my friend, Madame Forestier. I think if I had made a clean breast of everything, admitted the loss, pleaded guilty of losing her necklace and asked time for replacing it, she might have disclosed the truth then. The four words ‘my necklace was paste’ now sounded as the blow of hammer on my temples. These very words would have sounded as the sweet music of a violin then. One moment of wrong decision, the foolishness to hide the facts, Madame Forestier’s not looking at the replacement – all conspired in one direction – hard work and pain. How rich, ecstatic and enjoyable life would have been if I had not committed that one error. Now I can think and repent, but that is not going to bring back my youth, beauty, joy. Let bygones be bygones. Perhaps destiny willed it so. Thank God it’s all over.
Madame Forestier is shocked to learn about Madame Loisels sacrifice. She decided to return the necklace. She writes about her friend’s sacrifice. Write the diary entry.
Ans. 20 th December. 9.00 p.m. Thursday
I can just not get over the meeting with Mathilde ! was shocked to see her pathetic. And all because of me I Oh, why didn’t she tell me about the necklace when she came to return it to me? Imagine living such a hellish life for ten years ! My respect for Mathilde has gone up. I wonder whether I would have done the same thing had I been in her place. I think not I am too used to my comforts. I must say Mathide’s husband is a gem of a person to have supported her in such a way. Imagine slogging away after hours to prepay the debts. He must really have Mathilde a lot to have given her all the savings he had to pay for the wretched necklace. And to think I did not even know its true worth. All this, while I have thought it was just paste in fact the other day I even let my little child to play with it !
No, I don’t think it belongs to me. I am going return it to Mathilde. It now belongs to her, I hope she accepts it. I will not find any peace until I return it !
Suppose you are Madame Loisel. Make a diary entry writing down your own sorrow and grief after you discovered that the diamond necklace was fake. Write your answer in not more than 150-175 words.
Ans. Tuesday, 29th September,200X
What a waste of ten years I my beauty, my youth all gone I all this could have been avoided if only! Had not fallen into temptation. My discontent and lure for glamour has ruined my life. I made Loisel also suffer. He had to pay a heavy price for his love for me. I was always dissatisfied with our meager income. But for the folly I committed, I had to waste all my life doing menial jobs to pay off the debts. We spent all our lives slogging like slaves, trying to save every sou to pay for the diamond necklace – only to discover that it was fake. How curel could destiny be with us ? I think my punishment is well deserved – when you aspire for more than you land up where the clock cannot be turned back. All I can do is to be a good wife to Loisel now onwards any try to live with contentment and peace. But, is it possible?
“Don’t aspire for more than you have, it will ruin you”. Does this seem to be the message of the story. Explain
Ans. Mathilde, aspired for success wealth & glory by rising above the mundaneness of her ordinary married life and finally brought herself to grief and destruction. It is her discontent and desire to show off which made her borrow the diamond necklace from Madame Forestier. She was glamour struck. That’s why she couldn’t sense the hollowness and artificiality beneath the material glitter. She was an instant success at the ball. Her beauty, grace and dignity captured every one’s eye. She was intoxicated with joy. But soon as the returned home to utter dismay and shock, she discovered that the diamond necklace was lost on the way. Desperately, she and her husband made futile attempts to search for the necklace. Thinking the necklace to be real the Loisels had to borrow eight eon thousand Francs to replace it. This brought them to complete ruin. Mathilde worked like a domestic maid all her life to pay off the loan. Her over. He over ambition and false aspirations caused distress and suffering to her all life.
“How strange and changeful is life ! How small a thing is needed to make or ruin us!” Says Mathilde to herself as she reflects on the change in her life after the loss of the Necklace. She confides to her friend, Suzie, what would have happened if she had not lost that necklace. Suppose you are Mathilde Loisel Write the letter.
Ans. 169-E Cedar Avenue
28th September 200X
You may think it unfair of me to burden you with my tale of sorrows and misfortunes, but under the circumstances I have no happy tidings to share with you. Sometimes I wish that I had not lost the necklace. Than life would have been entirely different. Mr. Loisel had eighteen thousand francs which his father had left him. I could have taken up a minor but respectable assignment in some respectable firm to augment the family resources. We might have acquired the flat whose first instalment we had already paid. I could then go to fashionable parties and gatherings of notable persons and enjoy their company and compliments instead of being forced to live in improveished conditions in a garret. I still look prematurely old, with a hard face, red hands and rough hair. Gone are the sweet manners and polite words. Now I haggle with the petty shopkeepers to save a sue. Sometimes their impertinence crosses limits and I have no option but to curse myself. How I wish fate had not conspired against me and hit me hard at the supreme moment of triumph and bliss !
But for this unexpected turn of events life would have been still enjoyable inspite of being bereft of affluence. Now I am living as a poor domestic woman forced to undertake the unpleasant chores of routine life, like cleaning the greasy post and pans, washing dirty dishes, clothes and floor etc. I think how careful I was of my figure and personal appearance and would have been as pretty as you, if not prettier.
You can will judge my predicament. I have to write to you and dare not visit you for I am ashamed of my shabby clothes and unbecoming appearance. I would have been an active member of the club if – if the unfortunate occurrence had not occurred.