La Belle Epoque & Mirrors

Topics: Mirrors, Human physical appearance, Guy de Maupassant Pages: 4 (1512 words) Published: November 9, 2008
Nous quels sont? D'où sommes-nous venus? Où allons-nous? Ils sont les questions nous devons nous demander constamment. The La Belle Époque era erupted a series of self-reflecting questions such as the ones mentioned above. A prominent symbol of the La Belle Époque era, mirrors sought to bring forth the answers. Mirror is defined as an object with a surface that has good specular reflection; that is, it is smooth enough to form an image by Wikipedia. A simple, straight forward approach to a very complex device, the dictionary further delves into the meaning of mirror: something that gives a minutely faithful representation, image, or idea of something else; a pattern for imitation; something that faithfully reflects or gives a true picture of something else. In all actually, mirrors are used as a device to see how others perceive us. However, they are deceptive, misleading. Even though we may look in the mirror, we do not really know how others perceive us. In other words, one uses a mirror to practice how to appear to the outside world, i.e. facial expressions, smiles, posture, etc. It essentially enables us to learn about ourselves. Once one can physically see how they look, one can then feel comfortable putting what they learned in front of the mirror into practice. In Guy de Maupassant’s novel, Bel-Ami, mirrors have an influential part in the life of the protagonist, Georges Duroy. The reader is initially introduced to this handsome character that is down on his luck making a measly 1500 francs a year; “tall, well-built and fresh-complexioned, with his light-brown hair touched with auburn, his crispy curling moustache brushed back over his upper lip, his piercing blue eyes with their tiny pupils and his naturally curly hair with its centre parting gave him a strong resemblance to the sort of your scamp favored by young novelist” (p.26). Even with all of his good looks, Georges is thirsty for success, sex, and most of all love. A member of the...
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