Comparing Griet's The Girl With A Pearl Earring

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Essay 4: The Girl with a Pearl Earring Being a quiet person is both a blessing and a curse. For sixteen year old Griet it is helpful that she is quiet yet highly observational since she works as a maid. This trait serves her well in the Vermeer household, as she cleans and runs errands all day while paying close attention to the entire family. She takes particular interest in the Master of the house, Vermeer. She seemingly falls in love with his paintings, and this translates to infatuation with Vermeer himself. Griet and Vermeer have a strange and tense relationship, which is both remarkably subdued and powerful. There is a definite attraction between the two, revolving around the world of art. In Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier,…show more content…
From the moment Vermeer first meets Griet, he wants to learn more about her. He asks her why she lays out the vegetables according to color, and Griet replies “The colors fight when they are side by side, sir” (Chevalier 5). Vermeer “arched his eyebrows as if he had not expected such a response” (Chevalier 5). Immediately, Vermeer finds Griet to be intriguing and different. He trusts her to clean his studio. Something about Griet makes him believe that she can do the job right, and clean a place that his wife is not even allowed to enter. Griet is a highly personal and quiet person, not revealing very much about herself but instead soaking up information about others. She is incredibly intuitive and an appreciation for art. As she cleans Vermeer’s art studio, she thinks that his current painting is too busy and would look better without the map. Vermeer, a great artist, ends up removing the map from the work eventually. When he asks her about it, she tells him that “It is a better painting now” and Vermeer’s “smile made me grip my broom tightly” (Chevalier 64). This reveals that Griet has a true artist’s eye. It is painfully obvious that she is attracted to Vermeer; it is less clear if he is attracted to…show more content…
By the time Vermeer is painting Griet, they reach the climax of their relationship. After years of working side by side but hardly ever touching, Vermeer pierces Griet’s ear. He “stepped up to my chair. My jaw tightened but I managed to hold my breath steady. He reached over and gently touched my earlobe. I gasped as if I had been holding my breath underwater.” (Chevalier 153). Griet is thoroughly excited by his touch, and feels a deep desire. Since the book is not from Vermeer’s perspective it is unclear of what he feels, but he does not visually react at all. If Vermeer feels the same way that Griet does, he would show some sign of desire himself. Griet is very content watching Vermeer as he studies and paints her. She notices, however, that “he looked at me as if he were not seeing me […] as if he were looking at a painting” (Chevalier 180). This realization is difficult for Griet, who yearns for more romantic or personal attention from Vermeer. She is becoming a work of art in Vermeer’s eyes. Perhaps she always was. As Van Leeuwenhoek warns, “The women in his paintings - he traps them in his world” (Chevalier 186). Sure enough, Griet slowly becomes more and more trapped within Vermeer’s artistic world and is less and less in his personal

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