IOP on Glass, Eyes, and Doll’s
Imagery; vivid descriptive language that appeals to one or more of the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste). The first impression of a person that someone gets will always color the image of the person. Everything about how someone looks and acts creates how that person is viewed by others. But when this image is controlled by others or the person just isn’t strong enough to show their true self, their identity is twisted into something almost unrecognizable. Henrik Ibsen, Zora Neale Hurston, and Tennessee Williams use the imagery connected with their lead female characters to show how society tries to put individuals down with false generalizations to hide women’s identities.
The authors use the imagery of clothing to address how family members try to mold the women below them in power to their image of their character. For the Sternberg's fancy dress ball Torvald want’s his wife Nora to dress up, “... and Torvald wants me to go as a Neapolitan fisher-girl,...” (Ibsen 37). The Neapolitan fisher girls are girls from Naples, Italy often thought of as possessing a very classic Grecian beauty. These fisher girls have been subjects of many works of art such as paintings and statues. With Torvald making Nora dress up as a Neapolitan fisher girl he is making her into something beautiful and to be appraised like a piece of art. This image of Nora being beautiful like a painting is Torvald’s way of putting Nora beneath him. He dresses her up and parade’s her among their friends while all the while taking ownership of her beauty. Nora doesn’t get to choose what she wears to this ball and she is not recorded saying a word to anyone at the party. Torvald even commands Nora to leave the party after she has finished her dance as he doesn’t want anyone being near her. Nora’s identity is lost in the imagery of her Neapolitan fisher-girl costume and Torvald’s control of her dress. By the same token Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God is forced to wear head rags by her husband Joe. “The business of the head-rag irked her endlessly. But Jody was set on it. Her hair was NOT going to show in the store,” (Hurston 55). The imagery of Janie’s head-rags suggests that she is Joe’s property. Janie’s hair is her personal symbol of power,strength, and identity. Joe by making Janie cover her hair up in head-rags is symbolically stifling Janie’s power and identity. Without her individuality Janie is nothing but what Joe makes out of her, which is his wife. And society too will only see Janie’s image as Joe makes her image to be . Laura from The Glass Menagerie is also suffered to a similar fate as Nora and Janie as her mother forces her to wear chest enhancements. “‘Now take a look at yourself. No, wait! Wait just a moment- I have an idea!’ Amanda produces two powder puffs which she wraps in handkerchiefs and stuffs in Laura’s bosom. ‘Mother, what are you doing? They’re called gay deceivers! … I won’t wear them!’ “ (Williams 120). Similarly the imagery of the powder puffs implies that Laura is the perfect young woman that Amanda invisions of her. With Amanda putting the powder puffs down Laura’s dress she is trying to envision Laura as a perfect young woman. But Laura just is not this perfect girl who everyone loves and adores like Amanda wants to see Laura as. The imagery of Laura’s deceivingly good figure signifies that people will perceive her as a perfect young woman.
Nora and Janie’s imagery of the past and their memories is used against them to paint false images of their identities. Near the end of the play, Torvald has just found out of what Nora had done in the past to save him and utters this simple and resonant statement, “And I must sink to such miserable depths because of a thoughtless woman!” (72). With this sentence Torvald is making Nora seem like a terrible woman who is mindless to any thought of her husband. Even though much earlier in the play Nora tells Mrs.Linde that she...
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