Mathilde Loisel, the lowly born wife of a clerk, has always felt she was meant for greater things. She imagines beautiful gowns, glittering parties, a home of opulence, and a life of comfort. Her only wish is to be flattered and admired, and she is miserable that she will never know that life.
But out of the blue, her husband comes home with an invitation to a ball. She buys a new dress but mourns her lack of jewels. But wait! She has a wealthy friend who will lend her something for the evening, and she selects a beautiful diamond necklace as her only adornment. The evening is a success. She is the center of attention, and she's achieved her greatest ambition. Then calamity strikes.
Guy de Maupassant's heroine, looking back on her life after that fateful night, muses, "How strange and changeful is life! How small a thing is needed to make or ruin us!"
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