Girl with a Pearl Earring Journal
▪ The novel opens with Griet in the kitchen preparing vegetables for soup. ▪ The description of how Griet separates the vegetables into a colour wheel gives the reader the understanding that Griet is artistic. ▪ We are introduced to Johannes Vermeer and Catharina Vermeer who visit Griet and her family to inspect Griet and her work habits before they allow her to work in their household. ▪ Griet is told she is to become a maid in the Vermeer household ▪ Griet sees her father and is revealed to the reader that her father was blinded after a kiln he was working with exploded taking away his sight and livelihood. ▪ Her father gives Griet his most treasured tile with a picture of a boy and girl representing Griet and Frans as a parting gift. ▪ The close relationship between Griet and her father is clear here as they both reminisce on the painting of Delft they saw together. Griet’s father explains that the artist is Johannes Vermeer and he is the man she will be working for ▪ Griet’s mother gives her a tortoiseshell comb that belonged to her grandmother. This becomes very important to Griet because it is a treasured possession and it reminds her of home ▪ Griet is uncomfortable with the idea of working for a Catholic family ▪ Griet is told that part of her job is to clean without ‘moving anything’. She is able to relate this to how she cleans for her father making sure everything is in its place so that her father can find things without to much struggle ▪ Agnes, Griet’s younger sister, is terribly upset at the fact that Griet. Agnes feels even more lonely because she has already said goodbye to her older brother Frans when he left for his apprenticeship at the age of thirteen ▪ Griet is disturbed by the paintings in the Vermeer’s home especially the painting depicting the crucifixion scene ▪ Griet meets the Vermeer children and immediately Cornelia stirs trouble for Griet, she slaps Cornelia and knows that she will be a handful. After that incident, Cornelia resents Griet and immediately becomes an enemy of Griet and is determined to find a way to ruin her. ▪ Tanneke, Griet and Maertge go to the market to buy meat. She passes the butcher where her family used to purchase meet from and is taken to the Vermeer’s family butcher where she meets Pieter the Father and Pieter the Son. ▪ Griet eats with Tanneke and the children after preparing the meal and is glad to be able to eat better quality food ▪ Catharina takes Griet into Vermeer’s studio for the first time, where she will be cleaning ▪ Griet contemplates on the painting of Van Ruijven’s wife putting on the pearl necklace ▪ The next day when Catharina takes Griet into the studio to clean, Griet asks whether she should clean the windows of the studio. Catharina does not understand what Griet means and instructs her to clean them and Griet must explain the importance of light to a painting. After hearing this, Catharina goes to ask her husband and when she returns Griet is proven right and the windows are to be left the way they are ▪ On Sunday Griet is able to return home to visit her family. She is surprised at how different things look between her mother’s home and the Vermeers. Griet feels comfortable being in her own home and is proud to hand over a small wage to help her family ▪ Her father feels Griet’s hands, so rough and worn due to her hardwork and feels extremely guilty ▪ Griet finds she is more relaxed as she spends more times with the family and when she attends church she is comforted by the familiarity of the people and the service. “I felt my back relaxing into the pew and my face softening from the mask I had worn all week.” ▪ Griet asks Tanneke why the Vermeers don’t hire more maids to share the workload, Tanneke reveals to Griet that the Vermeers can barely afford to pay Griet and are in financial trouble because it takes Vermeer...
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