Helpful Discussion Questions for "The Necklace"

"The Necklace" discussion questions great for book clubs or classrooms

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"​The Necklace" is a favorite French short story by Guy de Maupassant. A tragic piece about vanity, materiality, and pride, it's definitely a humbling story that will get rid of any little girl or boy's princess complex. Although short, Maupassant packs many themes, symbols, and even a surprise ending into "The Necklace." Here are some discussion questions helpful for teachers or anyone looking to talk about the story. 

Let's start from the very beginning with the title. By titling his work, "The Necklace," Maupassant is immediately notifying readers to pay special attention to this object. What does the necklace symbolize? What theme does the necklace convey? What other themes exist in the story?  

Turning towards the setting, this story takes place in Paris. Why did Maupassant decide to set this story in Paris? What was the social context of life in Paris at the time, and does it relate to "The Necklace"?

Although Mathilde is at the center of the story, let's consider the other characters as well: Monsier Loisel and Madame Forestier. How do they advance Maupassant's ideas? What role do they play in this story?

Speaking of characters, do you find the characters likable, or detestable? Does your opinion of the characters change throughout the story?

Finally, let's talk about the end. Maupassant is known for springing twist-endings on his readers. Did you think the ending to "The Necklace" was unexpected? If so, why?  

Let's take this discussion beyond just analyzing the story; did you like "The Necklace"? Would you recommend it to your friends?