Gail Jones's novel 'sixty lights' presents contemporary ideas, despite being set in the 19th century. Discuss

Topics: Optics, Light, Scientific method Pages: 2 (810 words) Published: October 11, 2013
'Sixty lights' a tantalizing novel by Gail Jones, tells us the story of Lucy Strange and her fascination with light and photographic technology. Jones creates a vivid image of the world through Lucy's eyes; she not only takes the readers on a journey through Lucy's life but the lives of people who surround Lucy. "Sixty Lights" presents contemporary ideas despite being set in the c19th. Jones manifests these ideas through her preference of characters, Lucy as an artist and the scientific methods and photography. "Sixty Lights "evidently shows Lucy is an artist with contemporary ideas. Like artists of today Lucy recognises art everywhere she goes. Lucy witnesses the 'horrifying image of an Indian man scaffolding to his death', and being 'fatally pierced through the heart' by a mirror. This seems rather odd at how someone could be fascinated by such a horrendous death, especially since Lucy is eager to take a photo. When in actual fact, Lucy sees the mirror as 'reflecting vibrant life'. To Lucy the mirror is beautiful, as it shows vibrant signs of life 'bits and pieces of India glanced on its surface.' This seems quite rare for people in the C19th, who would not have acknowledged bits of smashed glass as art. They certainly would not acknowledge Lucy's observation of the moment, as appropriate. Most would recognise the mirror as smashed glass. She is able to see the beauty even in unprepossessing moments. Lucy sees 'her own miniaturised face retreat and disappear' through the bits of smashed mirror. Even though she is fascinated by the shiny glass, it would be seen as preposterous that she would think of such a thing when a man is dead. In Lucy's 'special things seen 'she states that an elephant had ran amuck and was show down. After reading about it in the newspaper, Lucy sets off to see the monstrous beast. However it's not because Lucy is eager to see the elephant dead. It's much more than that. Lucy is keen to see 'bioluminescence', light visible in the...
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