Reflections

By Charlotte Lapointe

 

Explanatory Text

When I first started reading Voyage in the Dark and even until the very end, I was convinced that I did not like the novel. I found Anna to be this unrealistic and unrelatable character that I simply could not connect with. I find that to be untrue however, now that I have completed my product. I have always loved to write which is why, naturally, I chose writing as a medium for this project. I knew I wanted to write a poem, but a single scene didn’t present much of a challenge for me, and so I chose the entire novel as my canvas. I noticed that all of the characters in this novel, like me, have something to say about Anna. According to them she is doing everything wrong and they all know what she should be doing to fix herself. I found, as I was writing this, that I related to her frustration; I understood why she was always mad. Wouldn’t you be unhappy too if all everyone ever told you was how they wished you would be different? This made Anna so much more relatable, because we all feel like that at some point in our lives. So my main focus for Reflections was to look at how each character that interacts with Anna sees or wishes to see her, and how this would influence her behaviour afterwards. So I start my poem with Anna staring into a looking glass, surrounded by other people who are also looking at her reflection. None of them see the same thing, what each sees is explained as the poem goes on. Throughout the novel, Anna listens to all that is said to her and sometimes tries to apply it. But there is always someone else coming in and telling her about some other aspect of her that needs to change. She is under constant criticism even though she is constantly changing how she acts. This is why I end my poem with Anna smashing the mirror, because it isn’t her in the mirror anymore, but a collection of reflections that are not her own. Every single line of Reflections hints at or points out a scene in the novel; I have included parts of the book from cover to cover. There are words or quotes from the book so that you can tell which character is talking to Anna, even without it being pointed out. Although feelings are not expressed verbally, they can be felt as the poem goes on; most predominantly Anna’s frustration. My ultimate goal is that, from reading Reflections, the reader is able to get the general idea of the novel, but mostly of Anna. I find that characters are the most important part of any novel, and that understanding them is what makes a story so good. If you can understand a character, it can make them relatable. Humans are by nature very selfish, we tend to want to apply the situations that characters face to ourselves, or make the feelings that they are feeling our own. A good author knows this, uses it to make a story that people will love. I hope that by reading my poem, people can get a good enough idea of who Anna is, and decide for themselves if Voyage in the Dark is worth reading.

 

Reflections

From bright and colourful warmth

To the dull and grey of cold

From young and mostly happy

To the melancholy of old

I do not know this girl

Through the glass she stares at me

You’re one and the same, they say

But looking glasses distort reality

Every girl in the glass is unique

They all see her in a different way

And although she is my reflection

Who she should be is for others to say

Hester

You should act more like a lady

Speak and walk all prim and proper

Stop the skipping and the singing

They will mistake you for a girl of colour

London, my dear, will fix you

Look at how pretty it looks from here

You’ll get used to the cold and grey

Just give yourself a year

So I walk with both feet grounded

While the London houses glare

Down roads of endless sameness

I forget the music in the air

Land Ladies

We do not let to professionals

We don’t want your business here

In the morning you’ll come crawling

Your latest client lurking near

Staying up and waking late

Still in your dress from the previous night

What a shameful way to live

For a lady, it’s just not right

So I start my days more early

And try not to get home late

Change out of my dress at night

To get away from the world I hate

Maudie

You’ve gotta learn to swank

‘Ladies, realize your charms’

Flaunt your beauty to the world

Wrapped in wealthy masculine arms

You should never appear too eager

Men love it when they gotta wait

Say you have a previous engagement

Leave them longing for your next date

So I buy expensive dresses

Put my beauty on display

As my wealth slowly dwindles

I let rich men come my way

Walter

What a pretty young girl you are

What a shame you never smile

You should try to be more happy

I can make it worth your while

There needn’t be a reason to cry

Be brave for a lady your age

I’ll find you a singing teacher

You’ll make lots of money on stage

So I drink to wear a smile

Am I now happy enough for you?

I’ll be brave and give you songs

Even my love if you ask me to

Vincent

Infantile little Anna

How just like a child you are

You must change the way you’re thinking

If you ever want to go far

Walter still cares for you

But his feelings, my dear, have changed

To think that this could have gone on

My child, you’d have to be deranged

So I try to believe things will change

Give the letters back and all

Why focus on a single man

When there are plenty of others to call

Ethel

A young girl like you should work

I can help you earn some money

If you haven’t got a place to stay

Change your luck! Come live with me

I should never have invited you

I should have known you were half-potty

You always got home late

And never once did you invite me

So I go for a walk and leave her

Who needs company anyway?

I’m much better on my own

I’ll find another place to stay

Laurie

Never say die sweet Anna

You have to get back on your feet

That man, he gave you money

There are plenty of others to meet

My good old cow needs sleep

You always look so tired

People do not like that

Get some rest, you’ll be admired

So I close my eyes and wait

For the darkness to take over

When at last it finally comes

I find myself wishing it would last forever

You should walk more like this

You shouldn’t talk like that

Go to bed more early

Get yourself a flat

Be a charming English lady

Flash a smile to onlooking men

Invite them when they are wealthy

They’ll give you money, again and again

So I smash the looking glass

Watch the pieces fall to the floor

Because is it really worth staring

If the reflection isn’t yours?

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One thought on “Reflections

  1. This amazing. I love this poem, and the way it’s presented, in fragments on a canvas. So great. I love how for each person, you give two stanzas of “you,” the character talking to Anna, and then Anna responding in the first person “I.” Really effective technique. You manage to capture the many different “versions” of Anna that exist simultaneously, like looking at a reflection of yourself in a smashed mirror. The image at the end is really effective. Also, your explanatory text is written in a very genuine and very natural way. You express yourself really well here, and you manage to convey complicated ideas in a very human way. Really tough thing to do, and quite an accomplishment. Congratulations on this outstanding piece.

    Like

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