She suffered from the poverty of her dwelling, from the wretched look of the walls, from the worn-out chairs, from the ugliness of the curtains. All those things, of which another woman of her rank would never even have been conscious, tortured her and made her angry (1132).
She dreams without end about the fine things in life and how she would be happy if only she was rich and lived among other rich people. She hates her class and her life and herself.
Her husband seems to be the best-natured man in the world. He seems to love Mathilde and at every turn in the story is willing to give her whatever she wants. It is hard to believe that she has not manipulated him into buying things for her earlier in their marriage. They sit down to dinner before a pot of stew and her husband acts as if it were the finest meal from the most expensive restaurant. But she takes off on another daydream about "eating the pink flesh of a trout or the wings of a quail" (1132).
Maupassant makes sure that we know that this woman is obsessed with material things: "She had no dresses, no jewels, nothing. And she loved nothing but that; she felt made for that." She feels worthless without those things, and if she had them, she believes she would feel very valuable: "She would so have liked to please, to be envied, to be charming, to be sought after" (1132). She cannot see that she is loved by her husband, that she pleases him, that she is charming to him.