• May 30th, 2015

Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

 

 

Create an essay after reading the book called, “Girl in Hyacinth Blue” by Susan Vreeland. I have attached everything you need to know regarding your essay. There are a couple prompts that you can write on but I would prefer it if you could do the very 1st prompt listed. Please make sure the essay transitions well between each point you try to make.

 

For essay 3 you will be writing about Girl in Hyacinth Blue and persuading your audience by analyzing the text and presenting your findings as evidence.  Choose from one of the following prompts.  Essay will be MLA Style, 1500-1800 words, and will be supported mainly by the text and one or two outside sources.  Sources do not have to be about the novel.  For prompt 2, for example, you could find some sources about the artistic life which could help you.

 

  1. What does Girl in Hyacinth Blue suggest about the value, both personal and monetary, and the function and purpose of art? What literary devices does the author use to promote this theme?  You may wish to include ways in which the structure (reverse chronology) contributes to the theme.

 

  1. What does the novel have to say about the joys and difficulties of being an artist? On page 204 Vermeer speaks of the “cost” of his painting to his household.  Is it worth it?  Why, so often, is an artist’s genius recognized only after he or she has died?

 

  1. Identify and assess the impact of perceived  ambiguities such as the fate of the painting, or Digna’s last line, nuances (similar longings of Hannah, Magdalena and the girl in the painting; repetition of Old Testament oppression of Jews suggested by Passover), and complexities within the text (“Call it a memorial act, aimed at cheating the world of its triumph by ignominy, but by its very privacy, it failed.” “If she’d seen that eventually, with help, she could paint, it might have made the years of birthing and dying harder.)

 

  1. Write an analytical argument about the way in which the theme or meaning represents a view or comment on life, using textual evidence to support the claim.

Here are some views and comments on life from the text (select one or find another in the text that interested you)

Magdalena: “lives end abruptly,…living is repetition,…nice things almost happen.”
“Remember no wrongs.” p. 75

“…there was nothing so vital as paying attention, and perfecting the humble offices of love.” p. 8

“How love builds itself unconsciously, out of the momentous ordinary.” p. 80

“Knowing what love isn’t might be just as valuable though infinitely less satisfying as knowing what it is.” Said by Claudine, p. 107; also applicable to Cornelius, Adriaan.

“There’s got to be some beauty too.” p. 145

“I had fancied love a casual adjunct and not the central turning shaft making all parts move.” Said by Adriaan, p. 194, but also applicable to Vermeer, Laurens, Claudine.

 

  1. Explain how voice, persona and choice of narrator affect characterization, tone, credibility of text. For example:Claudine’s engaging disparagement of the Dutch and her enthusiasm for love encourages readers to forgive her superficiality and immorality; her lighthearted, satiric tone allows readers to believe in the simultaneity of the two affairs; Adriaan’s reflections written thirty years after his affair with Aletta verify the depth of its effect on him, and the credibility of her fate; Magdalena’s simple sincerity makes the painting and her longing real.]

 

  1. Select a phrase or sentence from any story in Girl in Hyacinth Blue, and analyze how it applies to the whole book.

    Suggested lines:

    “love enough” p. 2
    “…capable of doing some great, wild loving thing. Yes, oh yes.” p. 51
    “In the end, it’s only the moments that we have.” p. 71
    “It’s only after years that one even notices the excruciating complexities.” p. 72
    “Remember no wrongs.” p. 75
    “…there was nothing so vital as paying attention, and perfecting the humble offices of love.” p. 78
    “How love builds itself unconsciously, out of the momentous ordinary.” p. 80
    “Look long enough, out or in, and you’ll be glad you are who you are.” p. 81
    “Knowing what love isn’t might be just as valuable though infinitely less satisfying as knowing what it is.” p. 107
    “There’s got to be some beauty too.” p. 145
    “I had fancied love a casual adjunct and not the central turning shaft making all parts move.” p. 194
    “…sacred with the tenderness of just living” p. 223
    “a respite in stillness from the unacknowledged acts of women to hallow home” p. 223
    “…soul enough to speak” p. 226
    “All of it is ordinary to everyone but me.” p. 234
    “If two people love the same thing, then they must love each other, at least a little.” p. 235
    “Would that have been enough–to tell a truth in art?” p. 238
    “…nice things almost happen” p. 240
    “…if the life of something as inconsequential as a water drop could be arrested and given to the world in a painting, or if the world would care.” p. 242

 

  1. Analyze the moral choices made in the novel. What were they based on? Given the situations and the characters, were they good choices? The best that could have been made? [Cornelius’ treatment of his father; Cornelius’ decision of what to do with the painting; Saskia’s use of the seed potatoes; Aletta’s killing one baby; Adriaan’s giving up the other baby; Vermeer continuing to paint rather than taking a wage-earning job; Magdalena taking money from her husband’s strongbox to buy the painting.]

 

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