Madame Mathilde Loisel has always imagined herself in a high state of aristocracy. The fact that she was born into a lower-middle-class family is described as an accident of fate. She marries a low-paid clerk who tries his best to make her happy but has little to give. Through lots of begging at work, her husband is able to get an invitation for the both of them to the Ministry of Education party. Mathilde refuses to go, for she has nothing to wear, and wishes not to be embarrassed.