Many people, more often than not, are obsessed with riches and obtaining the material items they come to believe they deserve. When one examines this, it takes but a moment to realize that most people strive to live above and beyond their meaner. For instance, that shiny new vehicle that came with payments that can barely be scraped together every month, was viewed as a necessity when it was purchased rather than the luxury it really is.
Another point of fact is the extremely nice and prominent new home that thousands of people build each year has payments so enormously high that it takes nearly all of their monthly income to make the monthly aments. Many times people have misunderstood what is real and what is not real in life, thereby creating a false sense of security that eventually has destructive consequences. But the lure of having the “best of the best” for all to observe, in reality, clouds the Judgment and thereby causes much personal distress and financial destruction.
In modern times, this is often referred to as “keeping up with the Joneses”. For most people being known in one’s community as beautiful, charismatic, interesting, and wealthy is often ingrained very deep in the recesses of he human mind and the character, Nathalie, in the short story, “The Necklace” written by Guy De Unpleasant, is certainly no exception. In “The Necklace”, the author has very quickly painted the character of Madame Nathalie as a very unhappy woman because of her position in society, her desire to be “above the common people”, accepted and admired among “the titled”, and her love and lack of riches.
The author tells a story of a woman “born into a family of clerks, with no dowry to offer and therefore no meaner of ever being wed to a rich and distinguished gentleman, and she let herself to be married too little clerk” (68). Mr… De Unpleasant also states that Madame Nathalie suffers ceaselessly from the poverty of her dwelling; she is depicted as tortured and angry because she feels that she was born for all the delicacies and luxuries (68). He further describes Madame Mediated as having no dresses nor Jewels and that “she loved nothing but that”.
He tells us that Madame Mediated “would so have liked to please, to be envied, to be charming, and to be sought after” (68). We also learn that Madame Mediated had a friend that was rich, and “whom she did not like to go see anymore because she suffered so much when she came back” (68). Madame Nathalie is so preoccupied with who she wants to be and the life style of the rich and titled among her that she has come to love nothing and no one. Her life has seized to exist in any normal fashion as she is totally fixated on what she does not have that she has failed to see how blessed she truly is.
Madame Mediated has become so lost in her own world of “have-onto” that she rejects her friend and has stopped visiting her because Madame Jeanne is wealthy. Madame Mediated has actually quit visiting her friend because she feels the stark truth of her reality upon returning to her own home. It appears that Madame Mediated is Jealous f her friend’s wealth to the point that she actually dislikes her. In any event, one would have to assume that Madame Mediated is most certainly allowing her love for wealth direct her heart in the matter of her friendship with Madame Jeanne.
Madame Matisse’s husband appears to be content with what he has in life as he is dinner. Mr… Eloise “uncovered the soup tureen and declared with an enchanted air”, “ah, the good pot-AU-fee! I don’t know anything better than that” (68). Mediated can’t keep herself from dreaming of riches, not even at the dinner table, the author tells us that she “thought of dainty dinners, of shining silverware (68). She thought of delicate dishes served on marvelous plates, and of the whispered gallantries which you listen to with a sphinxes smile, while you are eating the pink flesh of a trout or the wings of a quail” (68).
Mediated is portrayed as a person who obviously has a deep-rooted love of money and all the material things that accompanies it, to the point that it has consumed her thoughts and actions from within. While Madame Matisse’s husband is so proud of the stew that he is served, Madame Mediated feels she should be served rich and fancy meals on a silver platter with real silver adorning the table while tinting among the aristocrats and lords. Madame Mediated has engulfed herself in a non-existent world and feels slighted because she was born into a family of commoners.
It is very likely that Madame Mediated will destroy herself and her husband with her deep seated dreams of being rich. Madam Mediated seems to have lost her grip on reality because she seems to hate her life to the point that she is suffering severe unhappiness due to the lack of wealth. Madame Matisse’s husband attempts to bring her happiness when he secures a highly sought after invitation to a party at the palace of the Ministry. The Invitations were issued to very few clerks and all the upper class was to attend this party.
But instead of Mediated “being delighted, as her husband had hoped, she threw the invitation on the table with disdain” (69). Even as her husband gives up his planned purchase of a “gun” and his savings to buy her a new dress she still isn’t happy. She begins to become “uneasy and anxious” because she is “annoyed that she doesn’t have a single Jewel, not a single stone, nothing to put on. I shall look like distress. I should almost rather not go at all” (69). Whereas Matisse’s husband suggests she wear flowers, however, she was not invoiced. No; there’s nothing more humiliating than to look poor among other women who are rich”, at which time her husband suggests she ask her friend Madame Jeanne Forrester, to lend her some Jewels (70). At this point Madame Mediated is more concerned about how the wealthy party attendees would view her above all else. It is very important to Madame Mediated to appear to be wealthy to others at the party. Money cannot buy happiness and neither can anything one purchases with money add one iota to who you are on the inside. She never appeared to give any thought to spending a lovely and fun filled night at the party with her husband.
Her thoughts were totally consumed and controlled by her desire for riches. One of Madame Matisse’s worst fears is to appear poor. It never occurred to her that she is her own worst enemy and she will be the cause of her own poverty. It obviously never occurs to her to question why she feels the way she does when it comes to money and power. Had she analyzed or stopped to think about why she is so attracted to wealth, she may have avoided the awful existence that soon came. Madame Mediated has decided that she cannot attend the ball with no Jewels to wear, her husband then suggests she ask Madame Jeanne to lend her some.
So taking her husband suggestion, Mediated visits her friend Madame Jeanne Forrester and explains her distress at not having any Jewels and asks her to lend her some Jewels. Madame her heart began to beat with an immoderate desire. Her hands trembled as she took it. She fastened it around her throat, outside of her high-necked dress, and remained lost in ecstasy at the sight of herself” (70). The day of the ball arrived and “Madame Mediated Eloise made a great success, she was prettier than them all, elegant, smiling, gracious, and crazy with Joy.
All the men looked at her, asked her name, endeavored to be introduced. All the attaches of the Cabinet wanted to waltz with her. She was remarked by the Minister himself. She danced with intoxication, with passion, made drunk with pleasure, forgetting all, in the triumph of her beauty, in the glory of her success” (70) Madame Mediated was living her ultimate dream and the despairing fragments of true reality was nothing more than a distant memory lost long ago in another world. As reality always does, it came sweeping in at “about four o’clock” in the morning when it was time to leave (70). Her husband threw over her shoulders the wraps which he had bought, modest wraps of common life, whose poverty entreated with the elegance of the ball dress. She felt this and wanted to escape so as not to be remarked by the other women, who were enveloping themselves in costly furs (70) Once again as she hastily left her dream life, she instantly became sad and unhappy. “All was ended, for her” (71). Madame Mediated fears being looked upon as poor so much that she immediately begins to worry about what people will think of her if they observe her wearing common clothing.
She has not a worry for neither her own nor her husband’s health as she rushes into the freezing cold morning without a warm taxi awaiting them. Madame Mediated was willing to risk both of their well-being to keep up her well laid appearances of the previous night. She is unwilling that anyone see her clothed in anything less than what she considered perfect, after all, appearances of wealth is all that Madame Mediated loves. Appearances is very important in her world. Madame Mediated immediately became unhappy as she was leaving the ball because she was leaving her coveted dream world.
For once in her young life, she has lived the way she has dreamed of all her life. Just the thought of leaving that life, no matter how brief it was, became so overwhelming to her that she t once hated her old life with a passion so deep that it caused immediate sadness. In her sadness Madame Mediated momentarily lost sight of how beautiful she looks in her new ball gown and how sophisticated she looks wearing the diamond necklace. The necklace is soon to take control of her life in a way that she nor her husband would have never dreamed possible.
Upon arriving home she discovers that she has lost Madame Forester’s necklace. Madame Mediated is so stunned over losing the necklace that she Just sits there without doing anything for several hours. She is now ginning to realize that what she had loved more than anything else in her life was becoming a living nightmare. After searching extensively for a week to locate the lost necklace, Mr… Eloise goes about borrowing money to purchase a replacement necklace to return to Madame Forrester. The replacement necklace cost 36000 francs; Mr…
Eloise used all of his inheritance and borrowed from loan sharks and illegal lenders to secure the funds to replace the necklace. At which point he and Mediated began working extremely long hours and very difficult Jobs to pay the loans back. Madame Mediated Eloise now knew the horrible existence of the needy. She took her part, moreover, all of a sudden, with heroism. They dismissed their servant, they took them ten long years to repay all the debts, at which time Madame Mediated appearance had drastically changed, she looked old now.
Gone was the beauty of ten years ago and in its place she had become a woman of impoverished households, strong and hard and rough (72). Ironic that poverty had taken its toll on her due to her own love of the riches and Jewels that she so coveted. Madame Mediated vowed to help repay that debt incurred because of her love of riches. One can assume by Madame Matisse’s actions that she has realized the folly of her prior actions and thoughts. Her days are now spent with long hours of heavy labor.
The deep lines etched upon her face and calloused on the palms of her hands tells the story of the toil and depressing poverty that had become her life during the years of repayment. She gave up her preoccupation with what she didn’t have and day dreaming of what might have been and replaced them with the reality of the commoner. The author now tells us that Madame Mediated has a chance meeting with Madame Forrester hill taking a walk one day. Madame Mediated decides on the spot to tell Madame Forrester about the lost necklace and the replacement that both she and Mr…
Eloise worked ten long hard years to pay off, only to be told in the end that the necklace wasn’t real at all! It was fake, “Just Paste, not worth more than 500 francs” (73). At times people learn the hard way that appearances are deceiving and very little is actually what it appears to be. It is perfectly acceptable and honorable to want a better life and obtain wealth, nevertheless, it is not smart to live one’s life in anger ND unhappiness, nor to allow Jealousy and greed to control one’s life.
Madame Mediated learns that she has worked her whole life in a “fake world” made real only by her thoughts which turned her beliefs toward Jealousy, envy, and discontent with what she had before she lost the necklace. The Lesson that Madame Mediated has learned as she stands there in front of Madame Forrester is that she has caused them serious and real poverty for what she deemed to be real and admirable, was in fact fake and Just an illusion, not all things are what they appear to be. One decision can change one’s whole life.