Girl with a Pearl Earring

Topics: Johannes Vermeer, Delft Pages: 3 (924 words) Published: November 9, 2005
Chevalier's enthralling novel, Girl with a pearl Earring ingeniously fuses historical fact and fiction, inviting the reader into the volatile Vermeer household of seventeenth century Delft. Through Chevalier's dutiful protagonist, Griet, the novel presents a gradual progression in her character, from a naïve adolescent indentured as a maid to the painter, Jan Vermeer, to a self-assured woman. Indeed, her interactions with her parents and members of the Vermeer house initially encompass sincerity, however it is not long before the young girl ‘who did not often lie' soon matures in haste, adapting adult behaviours such as manipulation and exploitation of those around her. Griet blatantly manipulates minor characters such as Tanneke, and Pieter. However, an invaluable example that epitomises her deceit of others is her forbidden relationship with Vermeer. Griet selfishly disrupts the house, seducing the master in order to obtain protection, rights, and financial stability. Although Vermeer is left permanently yearning for her affection as shown via the gift of Catharina's prized possessions, the earrings, Griet's lack of sentimental value for the gift denotes her scheming ways of sacrificing characters for her wellbeing.

By acquiring knowledge to manipulate minor characters such as Tanneke, Griet softens her limitations and obtains security in the challenging Vermeer house. The attractive youth's arrival at Papist's corner as a ‘lowly' paid maid threatens Tanneke, who prides herself on ‘her own industry. Thus, Tanneke's anxiety consequently causes her to exercise her authority over Griet in attempts to maintain her rightfully earned position. Griet gages Tanneke's persona immediately and soon learns to choose ‘the right words.' Griet soon is happy to feel superior to Tanneke as she learns to read and adapt to her simple mind. Although Griet's intentions with Tanneke are not highly corrupted and her simple endeavour is to prevent domination from the senior maid,...
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