Girl with the Pearl Earrings

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HUM 228
Reflection Paper Unit 1
Girl with the Pearl Earring

There could be many different interpretations of the ending scene when the pearl earrings are returned to Griet. The look on Griet’s face is a look of shock, some anger, and recollection. Catharina gave Griet the pearl earrings because she cannot bear to wear them, nor stand the sight of them since the day she saw the painting. Vermeer betrayed Catharina and the earrings are the biggest reminder of the betrayal, so to move on from the time Griet spent as their maid and rid all those memories from her mind she needed to give away the earrings.

Catharina could have given them to anyone, sold them, or even just threw them away; instead she chose to give them to Griet. She gave them to Griet, to let Griet know that she is not mad at her and she understands Griet did nothing wrong. Catharina shows that her anger and hurt comes from Vermeer’s betrayal when she, with tears in her eyes, looks at Vermeer and asks “Why don’t you paint me?” In which Vermeer replies that she doesn’t understand. Catharina then in a rage tries to slash the painting, but Vermeer stops her. She then shifts her anger to the only thing she can do, which is make Griet leave. Catharina making Griet leave was misplaced anger, it was anger she wanted to take out on her husband and the painting but couldn’t. Therefore to make it up to Griet for making her leave, she sent her the pearl earrings. She was an emotional wreck in tears and screaming, outranged by her husband’s actions and Griet was a weak young girl she could at the time let her anger out on. After a few days of thinking she realized she was wrong and had Tanneke take the gift to Griet.

Vermeer not only betrayed his wife but he also betrayed Griet at the end. When Catharina tells Griet to leave Griet looks at Vermeer to say something, to let Catharina know she has done nothing wrong. Vermeer says nothing though and just lets her leave, which is devastating to her....
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