My view on “The Necklace” By Guy de Maupassant is that both Mathilde and Monsieur were doing their best under the circumstances. I checked Google and it said the story was created more than 100 years ago. That means it was during the pre-internet era. Before the internet, in my humble opinion, people’s options in life were limited.
Individuals made decisions with partial information compared to today. Even with the state of the economy, there was a lot less opportunity back then. For example, it’s clear that even before Mathilde lost the costume jewelry, she wasn’t satisfied with her position in life. Guy de Maupassant writes, “She suffered from the poverty of her dwelling, from the wretched look of the walls, from the worn-out chairs, from the ugliness of the curtains.” If Mathilde was alive today, there are businesses she could start and opportunities for her to spend her days being productive and working towards her dreams.
I don’t think it makes Mathilde a bad wife that she wasn’t satisfied with her situation. People need to feel like they are accomplishing something to be happy. According to Guy de Maupassant, “She would so have liked to please, to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after.” If that was the case today, Mathilde would have been able to focus her energy on something productive instead of hopelessly fantasizing about things she doesn’t have.
Mathilde could have learned a skill, gone to college, taken online classes, or even started her own business on the internet. Back then, not only did she not even have a laptop, women’s options were restricted compared with our modern era. That is why I write that Mathilde did her best under the circumstances and I’m not going to judge her.
I have the same feelings about Monsieur Loisel that I do about Mathilde. He was doing the best he could with the resources he had. He obviously wanted to make his wife happy. During the pre-internet era, people didn’t have the information that they do now to spend their free time productively and forge ahead in life.
I thought it was nice that he sacrificed the money he was saving for the gun to go hunting with his friends to buy Mathilde a dress for the outing. Guy de Maupassant wrote, “He had grown a little pale, because he was laying aside just that amount to buy a gun and treat himself to a little shooting next summer on the plain of Nanterre, with several friends who went to shoot larks down there, of a Sunday.” I’m confident the birds were happy he didn’t buy the gun too.
Mathilde wanted a better life and more money. I want the same thing, there is nothing wrong with that. What’s interesting is that it took her losing the necklace to start to figure out how to earn extra money. That goes back to the fact that Mathilde and Monsieur Loisel were living in different times. If it was today, and they desired more money in life, there are opportunities they could have found on the internet. Furthermore, there are a vast amount of female entrepreneurs today compared with over a century ago.