Sunday, December 11, 2022

Class 10 - English - Chapter 7 - The Necklace

 Question and Answer of the chapter "The Necklace" and full text of the story.

Full Text of the Story "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant

    She was one of those pretty and charming girls born, as if by an error of fate, into a family of clerks. She had no dowry, no expectations, no means of becoming known, understood, loved or wedded by a man of wealth and distinction; and so she let herself be married to a minor official at the Ministry of Education.
     She dressed plainly because she had never been able to afford anything better, but she was as unhappy as if she had once been wealthy. Women don't belong to a caste or class; their beauty, grace, and natural charm take the place of birth and family. Natural delicacy, instinctive elegance and a quick wit determine their place in society, and make the daughters of commoners the equals of the very finest ladies.
     She suffered endlessly, feeling she was entitled to all the delicacies and luxuries of life. She suffered because of the poorness of her house as she looked at the dirty walls, the worn-out chairs and the ugly curtains. All these things that another woman of her class would not even have noticed, tormented her and made her resentful. The sight of the little Brenton girl who did her housework filled her with terrible regrets and hopeless fantasies. She dreamed of silent antechambers hung with Oriental tapestries, lit from above by torches in bronze holders, while two tall footmen in knee-length breeches napped in huge armchairs, sleepy from the stove's oppressive warmth. She dreamed of vast living rooms furnished in rare old silks, elegant furniture loaded with priceless ornaments, and inviting smaller rooms, perfumed, made for afternoon chats with close friends - famous, sought-after men, who all women envy and desire.
     When she sat down to dinner at a round table covered with a three-day-old cloth opposite her husband who, lifting the lid off the soup, shouted excitedly, "Ah! Beef stew! What could be better," she dreamed of fine dinners, of shining silverware, of tapestries which peopled the walls with figures from another time and strange birds in fairy forests; she dreamed of delicious dishes served on wonderful plates, of whispered gallantries listened to with an inscrutable smile as one ate the pink flesh of a trout or the wings of a quail.
She had no dresses, no jewels, nothing; and these were the only things she loved. She felt she was made for them alone. She wanted so much to charm, to be envied, to be desired and sought after.
     She had a rich friend, a former schoolmate at the convent, whom she no longer wanted to visit because she suffered so much when she came home. For whole days afterwards she would weep with sorrow, regret, despair and misery.
One evening her husband came home with an air of triumph, holding a large envelope in his hand.
     "Look," he said, "here's something for you."
     She tore open the paper and drew out a card, on which was printed the words:
     "The Minister of Education and Mme. Georges Rampouneau request the pleasure of M. and Mme. Loisel's company at the Ministry, on the evening of Monday January 18th."
     Instead of being delighted, as her husband had hoped, she threw the invitation on the table resentfully, and muttered:
     "What do you want me to do with that?"
     "But, my dear, I thought you would be pleased. You never go out, and it will be such a lovely occasion! I had awful trouble getting it. Every one wants to go; it is very exclusive, and they're not giving many invitations to clerks. The whole ministry will be there."
     She stared at him angrily, and said, impatiently:
     "And what do you expect me to wear if I go?"
     He hadn't thought of that. He stammered:
     "Why, the dress you go to the theatre in. It seems very nice to me ..."
     He stopped, stunned, distressed to see his wife crying. Two large tears ran slowly from the corners of her eyes towards the corners of her mouth. He stuttered:
     "What's the matter? What's the matter?"
     With great effort she overcame her grief and replied in a calm voice, as she wiped her wet cheeks:
     "Nothing. Only I have no dress and so I can't go to this party. Give your invitation to a friend whose wife has better clothes than I do."
     He was distraught, but tried again:
     "Let's see, Mathilde. How much would a suitable dress cost, one which you could use again on other occasions, something very simple?"
     She thought for a moment, computing the cost, and also wondering what amount she could ask for without an immediate refusal and an alarmed exclamation from the thrifty clerk.
     At last she answered hesitantly:
     "I don't know exactly, but I think I could do it with four hundred francs."
     He turned a little pale, because he had been saving that exact amount to buy a gun and treat himself to a hunting trip the following summer, in the country near Nanterre, with a few friends who went lark-shooting there on Sundays.
     However, he said:
     "Very well, I can give you four hundred francs. But try and get a really beautiful dress."
The day of the party drew near, and Madame Loisel seemed sad, restless, anxious. Her dress was ready, however. One evening her husband said to her:
     "What's the matter? You've been acting strange these last three days."
     She replied: "I'm upset that I have no jewels, not a single stone to wear. I will look cheap. I would almost rather not go to the party."
     "You could wear flowers, " he said, "They are very fashionable at this time of year. For ten francs you could get two or three magnificent roses."
     She was not convinced.
     "No; there is nothing more humiliating than looking poor in the middle of a lot of rich women."
     "How stupid you are!" her husband cried. "Go and see your friend Madame Forestier and ask her to lend you some jewels. You know her well enough for that."
     She uttered a cry of joy.
     "Of course. I had not thought of that."
     The next day she went to her friend's house and told her of her distress.
     Madame Forestier went to her mirrored wardrobe, took out a large box, brought it back, opened it, and said to Madame Loisel:
     "Choose, my dear."
     First she saw some bracelets, then a pearl necklace, then a gold Venetian cross set with precious stones, of exquisite craftsmanship. She tried on the jewelry in the mirror, hesitated, could not bear to part with them, to give them back. She kept asking:
     "You have nothing else?"
     "Why, yes. But I don't know what you like."
     Suddenly she discovered, in a black satin box, a superb diamond necklace, and her heart began to beat with uncontrolled desire. Her hands trembled as she took it. She fastened it around her neck, over her high-necked dress, and stood lost in ecstasy as she looked at herself.
     Then she asked anxiously, hesitating:
     "Would you lend me this, just this?"
     "Why, yes, of course."
     She threw her arms around her friend's neck, embraced her rapturously, then fled with her treasure.
The day of the party arrived. Madame Loisel was a success. She was prettier than all the other women, elegant, gracious, smiling, and full of joy. All the men stared at her, asked her name, tried to be introduced. All the cabinet officials wanted to waltz with her. The minister noticed her.
     She danced wildly, with passion, drunk on pleasure, forgetting everything in the triumph of her beauty, in the glory of her success, in a sort of cloud of happiness, made up of all this respect, all this admiration, all these awakened desires, of that sense of triumph that is so sweet to a woman's heart.
     She left at about four o'clock in the morning. Her husband had been dozing since midnight in a little deserted anteroom with three other gentlemen whose wives were having a good time.
     He threw over her shoulders the clothes he had brought for her to go outside in, the modest clothes of an ordinary life, whose poverty contrasted sharply with the elegance of the ball dress. She felt this and wanted to run away, so she wouldn't be noticed by the other women who were wrapping themselves in expensive furs.
     Loisel held her back.
     "Wait a moment, you'll catch a cold outside. I'll go and find a cab."
     But she would not listen to him, and ran down the stairs. When they were finally in the street, they could not find a cab, and began to look for one, shouting at the cabmen they saw passing in the distance.
     They walked down toward the Seine in despair, shivering with cold. At last they found on the quay one of those old night cabs that one sees in Paris only after dark, as if they were ashamed to show their shabbiness during the day.
     They were dropped off at their door in the Rue des Martyrs, and sadly walked up the steps to their apartment. It was all over, for her. And he was remembering that he had to be back at his office at ten o'clock.
     In front of the mirror, she took off the clothes around her shoulders, taking a final look at herself in all her glory. But suddenly she uttered a cry. She no longer had the necklace round her neck!
     "What is the matter?" asked her husband, already half undressed.
     She turned towards him, panic-stricken.
     "I have ... I have ... I no longer have Madame Forestier's necklace."
     He stood up, distraught.
     "What! ... how! ... That's impossible!"
     They looked in the folds of her dress, in the folds of her cloak, in her pockets, everywhere. But they could not find it.
     "Are you sure you still had it on when you left the ball?" he asked.
     "Yes. I touched it in the hall at the Ministry."
     "But if you had lost it in the street we would have heard it fall. It must be in the cab."
     "Yes. That's probably it. Did you take his number?"
     "No. And you, didn't you notice it?"
     They stared at each other, stunned. At last Loisel put his clothes on again.
     "I'm going back," he said, "over the whole route we walked, see if I can find it."
     He left. She remained in her ball dress all evening, without the strength to go to bed, sitting on a chair, with no fire, her mind blank.
     Her husband returned at about seven o'clock. He had found nothing.
     He went to the police, to the newspapers to offer a reward, to the cab companies, everywhere the tiniest glimmer of hope led him.
     She waited all day, in the same state of blank despair from before this frightful disaster.
     Loisel returned in the evening, a hollow, pale figure; he had found nothing.
     "You must write to your friend," he said, "tell her you have broken the clasp of her necklace and that you are having it mended. It will give us time to look some more."
     She wrote as he dictated.
At the end of one week they had lost all hope.
     And Loisel, who had aged five years, declared:
     "We must consider how to replace the jewel."
     The next day they took the box which had held it, and went to the jeweler whose name they found inside. He consulted his books.
     "It was not I, madame, who sold the necklace; I must simply have supplied the case."
     And so they went from jeweler to jeweler, looking for an necklace like the other one, consulting their memories, both sick with grief and anguish.
     In a shop at the Palais Royal, they found a string of diamonds which seemed to be exactly what they were looking for. It was worth forty thousand francs. They could have it for thirty-six thousand.
     So they begged the jeweler not to sell it for three days. And they made an arrangement that he would take it back for thirty-four thousand francs if the other necklace was found before the end of February.
     Loisel had eighteen thousand francs which his father had left him. He would borrow the rest.
     And he did borrow, asking for a thousand francs from one man, five hundred from another, five louis here, three louis there. He gave notes, made ruinous agreements, dealt with usurers, with every type of money-lender. He compromised the rest of his life, risked signing notes without knowing if he could ever honor them, and, terrified by the anguish still to come, by the black misery about to fall on him, by the prospect of every physical privation and every moral torture he was about to suffer, he went to get the new necklace, and laid down on the jeweler's counter thirty-six thousand francs.
     When Madame Loisel took the necklace back, Madame Forestier said coldly:
     "You should have returned it sooner, I might have needed it."
     To the relief of her friend, she did not open the case. If she had detected the substitution, what would she have thought? What would she have said? Would she have taken her friend for a thief?
From then on, Madame Loisel knew the horrible life of the very poor. But she played her part heroically. The dreadful debt must be paid. She would pay it. They dismissed their maid; they changed their lodgings; they rented a garret under the roof.
     She came to know the drudgery of housework, the odious labors of the kitchen. She washed the dishes, staining her rosy nails on greasy pots and the bottoms of pans. She washed the dirty linen, the shirts and the dishcloths, which she hung to dry on a line; she carried the garbage down to the street every morning, and carried up the water, stopping at each landing to catch her breath. And, dressed like a commoner, she went to the fruiterer's, the grocer's, the butcher's, her basket on her arm, bargaining, insulted, fighting over every miserable sou.
     Each month they had to pay some notes, renew others, get more time.
     Her husband worked every evening, doing accounts for a tradesman, and often, late into the night, he sat copying a manuscript at five sous a page.
     And this life lasted ten years.
     At the end of ten years they had paid off everything, everything, at usurer's rates and with the accumulations of compound interest.
     Madame Loisel looked old now. She had become strong, hard and rough like all women of impoverished households. With hair half combed, with skirts awry, and reddened hands, she talked loudly as she washed the floor with great swishes of water. But sometimes, when her husband was at the office, she sat down near the window and thought of that evening at the ball so long ago, when she had been so beautiful and so admired.
     What would have happened if she had not lost that necklace? Who knows, who knows? How strange life is, how fickle! How little is needed for one to be ruined or saved!
One Sunday, as she was walking in the Champs Élysées to refresh herself after the week's work, suddenly she saw a woman walking with a child. It was Madame Forestier, still young, still beautiful, still charming.
     Madame Loisel felt emotional. Should she speak to her? Yes, of course. And now that she had paid, she would tell her all. Why not?
     She went up to her.
     "Good morning, Jeanne."
     The other, astonished to be addressed so familiarly by this common woman, did not recognize her. She stammered:
     "But - madame - I don't know. You must have made a mistake."
     "No, I am Mathilde Loisel."
     Her friend uttered a cry.
     "Oh! ... my poor Mathilde, how you've changed! ..."
     "Yes, I have had some hard times since I last saw you, and many miseries ... and all because of you! ..."
     "Me? How can that be?"
     "You remember that diamond necklace that you lent me to wear to the Ministry party?"
     "Yes. Well?"
     "Well, I lost it."
     "What do you mean? You brought it back."
     "I brought you back another exactly like it. And it has taken us ten years to pay for it. It wasn't easy for us, we had very little. But at last it is over, and I am very glad."
     Madame Forestier was stunned.
     "You say that you bought a diamond necklace to replace mine?"
     "Yes; you didn't notice then? They were very similar."
     And she smiled with proud and innocent pleasure.
     Madame Forestier, deeply moved, took both her hands.
     "Oh, my poor Mathilde! Mine was an imitation! It was worth five hundred francs at most! ..."

This is an overview of the plot:

    1) unhappy woman
    2) invitation to event: possibility of happiness?
    3) husband buys a dress and borrows a necklace
    4) ball: happy woman
    5) loses the necklace
    6) attempt to trace where it was bought
    7) buy a replacement: give to the ...owner
    8) ten years to pay debt
    9) meets the owner of necklace and explains
    10) finds out the original necklace was a fake

Read and Find Out:

Q1.  What kind of a person is Mme Loisel — why is she always unhappy?

Mme Loisel is a selfish and materialistic person, always wanting more and never satisfied with what she has. This constant desire for more leads to her unhappiness as she is never able to attain the luxurious lifestyle she desires. She also lacks gratitude and appreciation for the good things in her life, causing her to be unhappy even when she does have some of the things she wants.

Q2. In the story "the necklace" What kind of a person is Mme Loisel's husband?

Mme Loisel's husband is a kind and patient person. He is supportive of his wife's desires and tries to make her happy, even though she is often ungrateful and unappreciative of his efforts. Despite her constant complaining and dissatisfaction, he remains loyal and devoted to her.

Q3. What fresh problem now disturbs Mme Loisel?

Mme Loisel is disturbed because she does not have an appropriate dress to wear to the event. She is worried about how she will be perceived by others and feels inadequate compared to the other guests. She is also concerned about how she will afford a new dress and feels overwhelmed by the pressure to fit in with the wealthy and fashionable attendees.

Q4. How is the problem solved?

The problem is solved when her husband agrees to give her four hundred fracs to buy a new dress. This money he was saving to buy a gun for hunting but inorder to please his wife he spared the money for her new dress.

Q5. What do M. and Mme Loisel do next?

When M and Mme Loisel found out that the necklace is missing, they frantically search their home and the surrounding area for it. When they are unable to find it, they realize that it must have been lost at the party and they spend the entire night retracing their steps and questioning guests in an attempt to find it.

Q6. How do they replace the necklace?

In "The Necklace," the main characters, Monsieur and Madame Loisel replace the necklace by borrowing a large sum of money from friends and family and other sources. After losing the original necklace at a party, Monsieur Loisel sells his watch and other possessions to raise the money to buy a replacement necklace. They then work long hours and make many sacrifices to pay back the debt and eventually succeed in replacing the necklace.

Think About It:

Q1. The course of the Loisels’ life changed due to the necklace. Comment.

Before losing the necklace, the Loisels lived a comfortable middle-class life. They had enough money to afford a small apartment in Paris and enough social standing to be invited to occasional parties. However, when the necklace is lost, the Loisels are forced to take out a large loan to replace it and spend the next ten years working tirelessly to pay off the debt. This drastically changes their lifestyle, as they are forced to live in a smaller, dingier apartment and give up many of the comforts they once enjoyed. Additionally, the stress and strain of their financial situation puts a strain on their marriage and causes Madame Loisel to become ill and aged beyond her years. The loss of the necklace therefore significantly alters the course of the Loisels’ life, leading them to a much less comfortable and happy existence.

Q2. What was the cause of Matilda’s ruin? How could she have avoided it?

The cause of Matilda's ruin was her desire to fit in with the higher social class and her decision to borrow a valuable necklace to wear to a party. She could have avoided it by not feeling the need to impress others with material possessions and by being content with her own social status and possessions. She could also have avoided it by declining the invitation to the party or by finding a less costly way to make herself feel more confident and fashionable.

Q3. What would have happened to Matilda if she had confessed to her friend that she had lost her necklace?

If Matilda had confessed to her friend that she had lost the necklace, her friend would likely have been disappointed and upset. She may have stopped being friends with Matilda and Matilda would have lost a valuable social connection. Additionally, Matilda would have had to face the consequences of losing the necklace, such as having to pay for a replacement or facing punishment from her friend's husband.

Q4. If you were caught in a situation like this, how would you have dealt with it?

If I were caught in a situation like the one Mme Loisel was in, I would have immediately owned up to my mistake and apologized to the host. I would have offered to replace the necklace or pay for its repair. I would have also tried to find a solution to the financial burden it caused, such as borrowing money from friends or family or taking out a loan. I would have done my best to make amends and make sure the situation did not escalate any further.

Talk About It:

1. The characters in this story speak in English. Do you think this is their language? What clues are there in the story about the language its characters must be speaking in?

Though the characters in the story speak in English, their name titles of Monsieur and Madame are French. Moreover, the currency indicated is Franc and the city they lived in is Paris. So it gives the idea that they may be speaking the French language.

2. Honesty is the best policy.

Honesty is the best policy means that it is always better to tell the truth than to lie. This is because when we are honest, we build trust and credibility with others. This trust and credibility are essential for our relationships and can lead to better communication and understanding. Additionally, being honest can prevent conflicts and misunderstandings, and can help us maintain a positive reputation. In contrast, when we lie, we risk damaging our relationships, losing trust, and facing negative consequences. Therefore, it is always best to be honest in our interactions with others.

3. We should be content with what life gives us.

It is important to be content with what life gives us because constantly striving for more can lead to a never-ending cycle of dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Instead, by accepting and appreciating what we have, we can find fulfillment and joy in the present moment. Additionally, being content allows us to focus on the things that truly matter, rather than getting caught up in the pursuit of material possessions or superficial achievements. Life is unpredictable and often throws us unexpected challenges, so it is important to be adaptable and grateful for what we have. By embracing contentment, we can find peace and fulfillment in life.

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