Dark vs Light

For this creative assignment, I intended to portray the two sides of Anna’s thinking by drawing; the dark vs. light. I felt that my artistic skill could do justice for the product. But most importantly, Jean Rhys’s novel contain many descriptions and it immediately gave me the idea to create art.

FULL resolution image

Being positioned in the centre of the page, Anna is dividing the page to accentuate the two sides from her mind, depicting the obvious and direct messages of both oppositions. Throughout the story, she is concerned about living in England and how irreconcilable the country is compared to the Western Indies, her home country. London is cold, dark and reluctant. She cannot endure the country’s gloominess and it is unbearable to settle in. Everything is machined, identical and enclosed. The colors are different than it is usually is. On the other hand, the Western Indies is like paradise for her. The warm and colourful country lighten the character’s mood. The sea, sand, trees clearly depict a sense of freedom. Freedom and light is what Anna misses the most. So living in England completely baffles her emotions.

She pronounces many imageries that describe the countries. Some are hyperboles, grotesques, personifications, etc. These are in fact my guidance on creating the product, instead of drawing anything irrelevant. I aimed to find as many imageries as I could. My biggest challenge was to unit every imageries found together. For instance, I took essential citations that could create a proper summary of the novel.

“Thousands of white people white people rushing along and the dark houses all alike frowning down one after the other all alive all stuck together” (16)

-Seeing plenty of people going to work. The houses could be compared to slums. Slums are identical buildings, usually made for poor people. Pretty much the most important image to portray. The gloominess and clouds encompassing the whole city.On the image, we can see it behind the four characters. Notice that the colors are weird. This is to depict that Anna is overwhelmed by the coldness of England.

“I went out for a walk. It’s funny how parts of London are as empty as if they were dead. There was no sun, but there was a glare on everything like brass band playing.” (36)

– Brass is like gold. Band is sound, the sound of London. Lights shine through the buildings’ windows(gold lights). Clouds on the horizon.

“Everybody did this mechanically, without a change of expression, so that you saw they knew it would taste nothing.” (50)

– The industrial life of London represented, people going to work everyday. Hard times. Tasteless, no freedom, no free time: work.

“He said he couldnt afford it because he had three children of his own to support[…] I can’t afford to give you nearly fifty pounds a year.”(54-55)

-Familly members cannot afford to take care of Anna. Thus, far less chance to return to the western indies. Money is portrayed on the sea. The birds represents it. So they are flying away just like the money.

“The thing about Francine was that when I was with her I was happy. She is small and plump and blacker than most people out there, and she has a pretty face. What I liked was watching her eat mangoes.[…] She could carry anything on her head.” (58)

-Good memories off close loves ones. It depicts the freedom and the adventurist quality of the child. We can see that on the image. Francine is eating a mango, while holding something on her head.

“It was like letting go and falling back into water and seeing yourself grinning up through the water, your face like a mask, and seeing bubbles coming up” (84)

-Giving up on life because of its intense darkness. Not worth living. Right at the bottom, we can see she is falling and grinning.

“She seemed very tall and her face enormous[…]It looked like a clown’s face I wanted to laugh at it.” (106)

-One example of the grotesque qualities of a woman wearing makeup. Her friend’s makeup looks ridiculous. Noticeable on the sea.


With the ambition and effort that I’ve putted on this assignment, I think I did a good job representing the novel, but it could be much better. I simply need more time. Nonetheless,  it shows the key points of the novel.




2 thoughts on “Dark vs Light

  1. Wow. This is an absolutely stunning picture you’ve created. Just, incredible. I am quite blown away. You are a terrific illustrator. It’s so visually striking and so detailed. Remarkable. And, it shows really strong engagement with the novel. Your text above makes so many strong connections between the details of the picture and the novel. It’s rewarding to see you put so much effort into this. I’m really glad you had the opportunity to express your understanding of this novel in a medium that you are so talented in. Honestly, it’s an amazing picture. I can’t stop looking at it. You should be really proud of this. It’s first rate.


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