1: CharactersMathilde Loisel: A young, discontent lower middle class woman. She is typical of the kinds of main protagonists used by French Realist writers at this time and is used to explore the deeper meanings of everyday life. Monsieur Loisel: A lowly middle class clerk. He is the ordinary everyman. His speech gives away his lowly class. Madame Forestier: Mathilde's upper-class friend. She is symbolic of the shallowness of the upper classes, symbolized through her fake necklace
2: Themes :Appearance – vs - Reality Mathilde tries to appear to be of a higher social class than she really is There is a discrepancy between Mathilde’ s perceived life and her real life The necklace appears to be an expensive diamond necklace but is actually a fake Mathilde’ obsession with keeping up appearances of wealth leads, ironically, to her and her husband’s descent into a reality of grinding poverty. Envy and covetousness (deadly sins!) Mathilde makes herself miserable by measuring her self-worth against others and envying their material wealth Mathilde only feels happy when she achieves all of the things that she envies in others Her covetousness of the material trappings of wealth and status lead to her downfall and prevent her from ever possessing them Materialism Mathilde believes that possessing the material trappings of wealth will bring her happiness Mathilde invests physical objects with a power they do not actually possess Mathilde feels complete when she possesses a beautiful dress and, as she believes, an expensive diamond necklace Madame Forestier is wealthy but does not place value on the material trappings of wealth. The necklace she loans Mathilde is actually cheap costume jewellery
3: Key ideas:Appearances can be deceptive.Monetary and material wealth are of little importancePride comes before a fall! Mathilde's pride and vanity are the root causes of the problems she and her husband endure.It is always better to own up to a mistake rather than try to cover it up.Beauty is fleeting and should not be depended upon.