Devouring De Maupassant: The Necklace

Title: The Necklace
Date Read: 2 July 2009
Available Online?: YES (it should be noted though, that the version I read was from the Capuchin Classics edition On Horseback and Other Stories).
Briefly: Invited to an extravagant occasion, the beautiful yet poor Madame Loisel has nothing to wear that would hide the shame of her impoverished lifestyle. Knowing how much attendance would cheer up his wife, her husband offers up his savings so she can buy a dress. Happy, one thing still troubles her – she has no jewelry with which to finish off her costume.
Afterthoughts: This is a great story from De Maupassant which shows him at his story scribing best. He serves up a superbly-crafted lesson in accepting one’s lot, because things could always be a lot worse (oh can’t they just :o)). There’s also a wickedly delicious sting in the tail of this story too.
Notable Quote: “Suddenly she came across, in a black satin box, a superb diamond necklace, and her heart throbbed with a rampant desire. Her hands trembled as she took it. She fastened it round her throat and was lost in ecstasy at her reflection in the mirror.”

Rating: ★★★★☆

*Story read as part of my Devouring De Maupassant reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn’t bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. HART Raphael says:


    If you are keen on Maupassant, just have a look at this French website :


  2. Rob–just read and discussed this story in my grad class yesterday. My professor blasted the ending (although he did show due reverence to de Maupassant in general) because he said that we lose the chance of seeing Madame Loisel’s reaction which would, in his opinion, be better than the shock ending. I like the shock at the end (apparently my professor thinks this is rather low brow) but I could definitely see how an emotional scene could wrap up the story.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      Laza – This is interesting, and something I never really thought about. When you do think about it though, the death of Madame Loisel was a bit non-descript and matter of fact. But then again how would Maupassant have bestowed upon the Monsieur such a sublime sense of loss followed by a sense of gain (for want of a better word)? Maybe giving the wife a terminal disease would have been better. Then we could have had the best of all worlds.

      Thanks for sharing this though Lauren. Utterly fascinating