By Vanessa Correia
The scene that I have chosen to depict in my drawing is the one where Anna visits Walter and loses her virginity to him. I chose this scene because I think it represents a turning point in the novel, Anna’s stepping stone into a world of desperation, confusion, and darkness. I wanted my piece to reflect the sadness and resignation present in this deceptively simple scene.
The focal point of my piece is a somewhat abstract rendition of Anna. She is nude and utterly vulnerable, laying in the fetal position. Of course, the position of her body can be seen as obvious foreshadowing to her pregnancy, but I meant it to illustrate her own childishness and immaturity. Anna is only 18 years old, alone in a country she detests (and that detests her), with very little experience and no moral guidance. She has just been taken advantage of by Jeffries, and acknowledges that “[she’d] always known, always remembered…always known it” (32). I interpreted this ambiguous thought as her admitting that she feels and has always understood her destiny of sadness. Like a baby, she is helpless in this moment of resignation, but recognizes that she has lost her innocence.
Although Anna is meant to be the focal point of the drawing, there is a lot of wandering for the eyes to do. The colored dots lead to a sense of confusion and even anxiety. This was not exactly my intention, but I do think it lends itself quite well to Anna’s state of mind. The top half of the drawing is composed of red, orange, blue, green, yellow, and gold dots, which are not structured and seem to have a life of their own. This exotic array of color portrays Anna’s origins in the West Indies and has a happy and lively tone. The bottom half, however, represents the uniformity of England which Anna so vehemently despises. On the way to Jeffries’ residence, Anna remarks that the street is “quiet and watching and not friendly” (31). When she leaves after the rendez-vous, she makes her way through the street in the fog. All images of England in this scene are gloomy, and so naturally I felt that grey, light blue, and black dots should represent the despondency of the surroundings.
Both worlds, of happy memories and sad realities, inevitably clash, with Anna in the middle. I put her in the middle because she truly doesn’t fit into either world. The opposing moods also mirror one another, which is an allusion to the looking glass in the scene. Anna feels that she looks silly when she sees her reflection in the mirror, openly mentioning that she doesn’t like what she sees and that different looking glasses give her a different version of reality. To be honest, I don’t know exactly what Anna saw when she looked into that mirror. I assume she saw reality, her young body and confused spirit. It obviously caused discomfort, but it didn’t lead her to make any better decisions in the novel. In this regard, the pointillism style reflects a sense of reality and unreality and the angst of confronting the past and the present simultaneously.
I feel as though my work did capture the thematic essence of the novel by playing with the depressed tone and dream like states of confusion. Although it wasn’t my initial idea to have the entire piece composed of dots, I became entranced and anxious and couldn’t stop myself from stabbing all those colors onto the sheet. I still think it was a successful attempt at portraying this crucial scene in the novel. I truly hope it has the emotional and visual impact that I intended.