Teaching “The Necklace”
SHE was one of those pretty and charming teachers, born by a blunder of destiny in a family of educators. She had no “Necklace” lesson plans, no “Necklace” teaching activities, no means of remembering “The Necklace” analysis, or being understood or loved by students smart and distinguished unless she figured out some teaching activities for “The Necklace”; and she would receive her teacher evaluation from a little clerk in the Department of Education tomorrow.
Luckily, she found this teacher’s guide and she won’t have to spend 40,000 francs from Madame Forestier to buy “The Necklace” lesson plans.
ELA Common Core Standards Covered
The following assignments cover the following ELA common core standards for reading and writing. This is for your administrator, not your kids. Kids need student-friendly worded objectives.
- RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
- RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
- RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
- RL.9-10.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
- W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
- W.9-10.3d Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
- L.9-10.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Post Reading Assignment for “The Necklace”
Telling students what you want before they finish is a good idea. Use this activity for teaching “The Necklace” and teaching writing. Have each student do the following after reading the short story:
- Write a brief summary, 100-200 words.
- Write a brief analysis, extolling its literary merit, 150-200 words.
- List potential lesson activities, 3-4 ideas in a bulleted list.
- Give each section a rating of 1-5 stars.
I’ve cleverly written this teacher’s guide as an example.
Summary of “The Necklace”
Rating: 5/5 – I’m glad there’s somebody–even if just a literary character–who’s dumber than I am.
Madame Loisel is miserable. She wants to be high class, but she’s married to a clerk. Her husband, the clerk, comes home one afternoon, after a hard days work, no doubt, with an invitation to a party at the Minister of Education’s house. Madame Loisel is unhappy for she has no dress to wear. Her husband, who has worked hard, no doubt, to save up money for a gun, uses the money to buy Madame Loisel a dress. She’s still not happy, for what use is a really nice dress if you have no necklace for it?
That’s where Madame Forestier comes in. She has lots of jewels, including a beautiful necklace she reluctantly loans to Madame Loisel for the party. Now, Madame Loisel’s happy…until she loses the necklace. They must borrow money to replace the necklace and spend the next 10 years of their life, working hard, no doubt, earning enough to pay back the money they borrowed. One day while “strolling along the Champs Elysees,” Madame Loisel runs into Madame Forestiere and tells her what happened. Forestiere, taken aback by Madame Loisel’s sorry plight, informs her that the necklace she lent her that day ten years ago was a fake.
Themes and Other Topics of Discussion for “The Necklace”
Rating 5/5: This is an excellent opportunity to teach young people about the dangers of pride, vanity, and debt.
Class discussions and lesson plans for “The Necklace” could center around the following subjects:
- Vanity and Pride – An important “Necklace” theme is the danger of vanity and pride. It is Madame Loisel’s vanity that causes her to want to live beyond her means and her pride that prevents her from telling Madame Forestiere the truth.
- The Dangers of Debt – “The Necklace” theme of the dangers of debt is as timely today as it was when the story was written.
- Irony – Madame Loisel labors for that which is of no worth.
- Theme – Because of its obvious message, “The Necklace” makes a great short story for teaching theme.
“Necklace” Learning Activities
1. Write a found poem. Not only will your students recognize the cleverness of writing a found poem about a lost necklace, they’ll practice using details from a story, analyzing evidence, and discovering a theme. A found poem is created by using exact quotes from the story to make a poem. Here’s my example:
Unable to afford jewelry, she dressed simply.
She suffered constantly
She tossed the invitation on the table and muttered,
“We’ll have to replace the necklace.”
Her husband worked in the evenings and often at night as well.
Madame Loisel looked old now
And she smiled, full of proud, simple joy.
“And it took us ten years to pay for it.”
“Oh my poor Mathilde! Mine was false!”
2. Draw conclusions about characters. This “Necklace” lesson plan takes the place of two lesson plans for “The Necklace”: teaching characterization and drawing conclusions. Make a box, two for each character. Below the character box, draw two smaller boxes, one for actions and one for traits. Connect the top box to the two lower boxes with arrows. Underneath the two smaller boxes, draw another large box and draw a conclusion about the character based on the details you wrote in the two smaller boxes. This activity works best after the students write a “Necklace” summary and understand “The Necklace” themes.
Short Story Guides
Teaching the Reading Literature Common Core Standards are easy with short stories.
- The Black Cat
- The Cask of Amontillado
- The Masque of the Red Death
- The Necklace
- The Most Dangerous Game
- The Interlopers
- The Gift of the Magi