1. She danced madly, ecstatically, drunk with pleasure, with no thought for anything, in the triumph of her beauty, in the pride of her success, in a cloud of happiness made up of this universal homage and admiration, of the desires she had aroused, of the completeness of a victory so dear to her feminine heart.
This quotation appears near the middle of the story, during the party, when Mathilde is happier than she had ever been or ever would be again. Mathilde has schemed and strived to get to this moment: she wheedled money from Monsieur Loisel so that she could buy a new dress and borrowed jewels from Madame Forestier so that she would not look poor among the other women. And her angling has been successful—she is greatly admired at the party, and all the men want to dance with her. This is the moment for which she has been born. In this passage, her happiness is absolute. There is no thought of the past, nor any thought of the party’s end, when she will return to her ordinary life. In the days that follow, she and Monsieur Loisel will be plunged into deeper poverty than they have ever known; but for now, she has immersed herself completely in the illusion of wealth. In her expensive dress for which her husband had to sacrifice, and in the necklace that does not even belong to her, she is filling the role she believes she deserves. In this moment, nothing else matters.