Girl with a Pearl Earring - Concerns on Women

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In her novel Girl with a pearl earring, Tracey Chevalier, explores many thematic concerns in relation to women, in the 1600s. She explored this through the themes of; the restricted roles of women, the battle of the sexes and Class, money, gender and power, she utilises literary techniques; such as dialogue, first person, exclamation and allusion to convey these themes. In a girl with the pearl earring the protagonist, Griet, is sent to be a maid the artist Johannes Vermeer and his growing family. In this household she becomes close to Vermeer’s work, and eventually the secretive painting of Griet seeps out into the rest of the family and the town beyond.

Chevalier explores the restricted roles of women in a girl with a pearl earring. The traditional roles of women are very much poignant in the novel, as despite Griets artistic tendencies she is condemned to be a butcher's wife, Tanneke forever a maid, and Catherina forever fearful of losing the little power she commands, “I will not have it in my house I will not have it” (Catherina pg.220). The effective use of exclamation, enforces how desperate Catherina really is, in needing to hold on to her power, as the exclamation implies that she id shouting, which can be interpreted as a sign of insecurity. Catherina would have had a reason to be insecure, as she had just been alerted of activity that had been going under her nose. This quote effectively displays the restricted roles of women during this time.

In addition, the restricted roles of women in the novel remind readers of the link between sex and morality, in the 1600s. Griet is notably anxious throughout the novel in protecting her image and not being cast as fallen women, all the while complying with the demands of her master and his patron. After Griet manages to escape a lecherous encounter with the vulgar Van-Ruijven, he retorts with “you know I will have you anyway, when I get that painting” (pg.219). The use of allusion in the quote tells the...
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