For the interpretation of Maupassant’s novel “The Necklace”, it is generally believed that the heroine’s vanity is too heavy, which causes herself and her husband to fall into debt.
But in fact, the desire to overwhelm the crowd at the party and be held by the stars is a vanity that many people have to a greater or lesser extent.
Mathilde just borrowed a diamond necklace, did not spend a high price to buy, let alone sell the hue to exchange, her vanity did not exceed her ability to bear, if the necklace is not lost, this party will have little impact on the family’s economy.
What really put Mathilde and her husband in debt was her cognitive limitations as a low-level person, and she never thought that rich people would wear fake diamond necklaces.
Mathilde was born in an ordinary small clerk family, no inheritance, no dowry, she had no way to make friends with rich and powerful men, and finally had to be arranged by the family.
Married to a small clerk in the Ministry of Education.
Such conditions are actually not bad, at least she has not been hungry since she was a child, and the novel also explains that she went to church school and hired a nanny to serve at home. Such a life is beyond the reach of countless women at the bottom who have worked all their lives.
But Mathilde is not yet satisfied, she daydreams every day at home, longing to live a life of brocade clothes and food, fragrant cars and BMWs.
The author spends a lot of ink describing her fantasies about the life of a noblewoman:
oriental tapestry, bronze stilt lamp; tall valet in trousers and stockings, large living room covered with ancient silk on all sides; Exquisite cabinets displaying precious antiques, small inner living rooms with incense and incense, and knee-jerking conversations with celebrity friends at five o’clock in the afternoon…
This is basically the imagination of the vast majority of ordinary people about the “rich”, thinking that the upper class is extravagant and romantic, and every piece of family is worth a lot. In fact, the rich also have the troubles of the rich, there are many aristocrats sitting on the mountain, and the “rich people” recognized by the people around them also cut back on food and clothing for the sake of pomp and face.
Mathilde had a girlfriend, Mrs. Flissier, a classmate in her former church school who was better off than her. She went to her house a few times,
Every time I come back, I will be sad, regretful, worried, sad for days.
She envied and even jealous of her friend, thinking that his friend had lived the rich life she imagined and became the person she wanted to be.
Therefore, when she needs luxurious jewelry to attend the party, she asks her friends to borrow it,
I couldn’t imagine that a noble lady I admired would wear a fake diamond necklace.
Actually, if she’s a little shrewd, see
The wife could lend the necklace so thoughtlessly that she could suspect that the treasure was not worth much.
When she offered to borrow this chain, she only asked,
The wife readily agreed. And then the necklace was lost,
When Mathilde bought a new one and returned it to her, she didn’t even open it to take a look.
It can be seen that it is not taken to heart.
It’s a pity that Mathilde is still too shallow,
Poverty limits her perception, vanity makes her blindly worship her rich friends, and she does not have a deep understanding of who her friends are.
After losing the necklace, she only had an instinctive understanding: I had lost the expensive jewelry of a high-class lady, and I had to spend my life earning money to pay off this huge debt.
Her husband, Monsieur Lockser, was loyal and honest, and did not realize that the lost necklace might be a fake, so he bought a necklace for 36,000 francs instead. It can be seen that although he is a civil servant, he is at the bottom and his cognitive ability is not much stronger than his wife.
Because there was no doubt that the necklace was fake, Mathilde and her husband paid off their debts with the honesty and diligence of ordinary people for the next ten years.
In addition to going to work, her husband counted the accounts for a merchant every night, often copying for others at night.
Mathilde quit her maid and took up the heavy and greasy housework herself,
Dressed in the same clothes as ordinary civilians, he carried baskets to the streets to buy vegetables, bargained with small traders and hawkers, and defended his poor money bags one by one.
Poverty accelerated the couple’s aging, they simply fell to the bottom of society, and Mathilde became the last woman she wanted to be. She doesn’t comb her head or wash her face,
The skirt was dressed crookedly, her hands were red, and she spoke loudly, as if she was a city shrew.
In fact, if she had communicated further with her friend, her friend had told her that the necklace was fake, and this terrible loss could have been avoided. But Mathilde bought the new necklace and returned it, and Mrs. Flestrey did not see each other again for ten years.
On the one hand, because of the large gap between rich and poor, Mrs. Flesser did not have much intersection with the lives of their couple; On the other hand, it also reflects Mathilde’s strong self-esteem.
Vanity is a manifestation of distorted self-esteem, so people who adore vanity often have stronger self-esteem than ordinary people.
In the novel, when Mathilde returns the necklace, there is a psychological description in which she watches her girlfriend take the box for fear that she will open it and check it, thinking:
What would she think if she found out she had lost her bag? How to say? Will you treat me like a thief?
Why didn’t Mathilde tell her friend the truth about losing her necklace? Because she and her husband are well educated, they know that this is a very faceless thing.
If this matter is made public, they will lose not only the necklace, but also
Integrity, self-esteem and reputation.
Instead of being poked in the spine and scolded, it is better to buy a new replacement and return it to others in its original place. And after returning it, they also felt guilty and did not want to see her, preferring to earn money silently to pay off the debt.
This can be said to be a virtue of honesty and trustworthiness for the poor, but it is also a spiritual vanity.
Mathilde didn’t have the courage to walk up to her friend until she paid off her debt ten years later and tell her the truth about the loss of her necklace. When her friend said that the necklace was worth at most 500 francs, unfortunately, she had already paid a heavy price, and ten years of youth could never be returned.
So, judging from the outcome of events, what led to Mathilde’s “ten-year tragedy” was not her vanity to make a splash at the party, but her cognitive limitations of the poor.
If she hadn’t had unrealistic fantasies about the life of an upper-class noblewoman, she wouldn’t have had the vanity to shine at the party, and she wouldn’t have borrowed that diamond necklace.
And if she can be shrewd and pragmatic, and get to know her friends realistically, she will not be stupid enough to spend ten years of youth in order to repay the price she should not bear.
The poorer and scarcer the person, the more likely it is to have unrealistic illusions about the life of the rich because of their lack of experience.
We poor people can’t get out of the predicament in reality, we can’t get what we want, and we want to realize it in the spiritual world.
In order to take shortcuts to earn economic income, some literary and artistic creators meet this psychological demand and produce one pompous drama and cool article after another,
The rich spend tens of thousands of dollars when they buy things, and the places they enter and exit are all high-end and luxurious…
Some people who see too many such works will form a wrong cognition, thinking that the rich spend money like flowing water, and their food, clothing, housing and transportation are all top-notch.
In fact, the rich may have to work harder than ordinary people to have lasting wealth, and even need to be frugal in unnecessary spending.
There is a Western proverb called:
“If you want to wear a crown, you must bear its weight.”
The reason why the rich are rich people is not necessarily that they have inherited the inheritance of their predecessors without hard work, and they may have suffered a heavier price behind them.
Therefore, looking at the rich should not only look at the superficial scenery, but also seek truth from facts and see the unknown side behind them.
After fully understanding the real life of the rich, we may be able to put aside our vanity, stop envying their lives, and live our lives down-to-earth.