Expectations vs. Reality By

By: Chelsea Silva-Martin


My idea for this painting was to illustrate Anna’s expectations versus her reality. The image of Anna drawn in charcoal is bare and nude, representing that her reality as a prostitute, as well as her lack of material wealth, which she desperately craves. Anna is looking at herself in a glass mirror, coming to the realization that “girl’s clothes cost more than the girl inside them,” (40) and questioning the significance of purity, (51). Anna’s reality is drawn with no facial expression, or features to illustrate how she’s still trying to figure out who she is as a person, how she identifies herself, and to illuminate her youth. I believe due to her family situation and being forced into independence, Anna was robber of her potential development, and I believe that she knows it herself, deep down, but she’s still struggling to identify why her life has turned out the way it has. The setting of the novel mostly takes place in London as she describes it to be “as empty as if it were dead. There was no sun, but there was a glare on everything,” (36). I purposefully chose to work with charcoal because of it’s harsh, yet dull tones, symbolizing Anna’s fluctuating mood. The mirror is also boarded by a square-faced clock, representing that time is constantly passing by, and with time comes age.  Anna’s priorities are as warped as the clock I’ve drawn, in an attempt to expose the division between Anna’s inner world versus her exterior world. Her thoughts are constantly revolving around her desire for fashion, and her desperate need of affection and financial stability, which she abuses from Walter. There’s a faded man standing behind her reflection, which has been drawn more freely and unguided, my aim for this man was to draw him free handed and unrealistic because, after all, he’s imaginary, and also expresses a lack of identity. This man is not Walter, but rather a male representation of her imagination, and fear of being alone. The boarder of the mirror is aggressively sketched out with the charcoal, a colourless, lifeless tool, in it’s rawest and purest form. Last by not least, Anna’s reflection of herself is of a more sophisticated, wealthy, beautiful and full of potential woman, giving off radiant energy expressed through the colourful splatter paint reaching out into annas reality. Her life in London would be much better if only there were a splash of colour in it. A version of herself she aspires to be but struggles to achieve. The painting/drawing was drawn freely, with the intention of revealing the reality of all the faults and imperfections she tries to hide.



One thought on “Expectations vs. Reality By

  1. This is really great. I love the opaque version of herself staring into this glamourous reflection. This touches on many of the themes inherent in the novel. I like the little splashes of colour, the clock frame, etc. It’s a haunting piece, which reflects the tone of the novel well. You’ve chosen to represent the reflection in modern clothing style, which is an interesting choice. I’m curious why you made that choice. Overall, this is a really well crafted piece that fitting reflects a lot of the feeling of the novel. Great work.


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