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Girl With A Pearl Earring

Girl With A Pearl Earring

Discussion Starter:

Did you find Griet to be a likeable heroine? How well could you relate to her? What about Vermeer? Do you think that Vermeer loved Griet?

Post your thoughts on the book here...

Submitted by Sharon, posted on Friday March 02, @08:40PM

Did anyone here like the book?

Tuesday, 19-Sep-00 12:35:29

I kept feeling like I just wanted to SLAP Griet. Who did she think she was kidding?

And to answer your question about Vermeer's feeling toward her: No, he was enchanted by her but did not love her.

by Bonnie on Friday March 02, @08:42PM

Re: Feature: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I thought it was a good book. I didn't always understand Griet, (especially her hair thing!) but I think one of the ideas of the book was that she (as well as Vermeer) saw things differently.

by Tulip on Friday March 02, @08:43PM

Re: Feature: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Yeah, what WAS that with her hair. My biggest problem with Griet was

She shivered and shook all wide-eyed but there she was letting Pieter feel her up every time you turned around. She wasn't consistent.

Thursday, 21-Sep-00 15:10:12

by Bonnie on Friday March 02, @08:44PM

Re: Feature: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I don't think that was so inconsistent, I think she felt obliged to... because of her family ( the butcher's son would always have good meat) and because he was a very eligible young man, and deep down she knew that he was the logical person to be with.

(22-Sep-00 11:45:31)

by Tulip on Friday March 02, @08:45PM

Re: Feature: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Bonnie, you didn't care for Griet... but did you like the book, or did Griet's character spoil it for you?

One of the things I kind of liked about the book was that Griet was such an unusual character. I thought the whole story was very unusual in the way Griet told it.

Vermeer was kind of shrouded, although I was left with the impression that he was somewhat of a cad, especially to his wife and Griet. But part of it is probably just the way women were treated in those days.

22-Sep-00 14:39:42

by Sharon on Friday March 02, @08:47PM

Re: Feature: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Only in that here she is cowering one minute and getting felt up the next.

I just wanted to say "Will the REAL Griet please stand up?" LOL!!!!

And Vermeer - I don't think I wanted to know any more about him.....shrouded is good, in his case.

Tuesday, 26-Sep-00 09:18:43

by Bonnie on Friday March 02, @08:48PM

Re: Feature: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I liked this book and it sure made looking at Vermeer's painting fun. I thought that Griet was strange but I chalked it up to her being young and unsure of herself. I know I would not do well living and working in someone else's house. Plus the fact that Vermeer's family were of a religion she was not familiar with and had more means for living.

I certainly don't think Vermeer was in love with Griet. He was more intrigued with his own power over her (artists are a bit weird, ya know) and a typical man in that there were just certain areas of his life he didn't deal with (lazy, too emotional, who knows) his weirdo wife and mil.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the book and I would have never read it if I hadn't seen it mentioned here. Thanks!

Wednesday, 27-Sep-00 21:52:01

by Leslie on Friday March 02, @08:50PM

My take on it...

Friday, 29-Sep-00 15:08:11

I agree with Leslie on several points... Griet was very young (sixteen wasn't it?) and her situation, being uprooted from her family and stuck into a strange household with a strange religion (to her)... that could mix a kid up alittle. I know when I was sixteen I had quite a different perspective on things than I do now!

I disagree, however, that Vermeer enjoyed his power over Griet. But I agree about the lazy part. Here's why: I think that Vermeer and Griet were both attracted to each other and could possibly have fallen in love, but that the rigid social structure of their times prevented it.

Both of them knew that they were mismatched, socially and did not have the "power" to do anything about it. Griet, because of her low social stature and Vermeer because he did not want to upset his life as it was (that could be called "lazy"?) or perhaps he was simply being loyal to his wife and family, although it was very difficult to tell what kind of relationship he & his wife had.

His gesture with the earrings at the end seems to indicate that he had some kind of special feelings about Griet. And the fact that Griet did not keep them shows how restricted she felt by her class.

Overall, I enjoyed this book too. Sharon

by Sharon on Friday March 02, @08:56PM

Re: Feature: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Loved "Girl With A Pearl Earring." Look for "Girl In Hyacinth Blue" and "The Music Lesson." More great Vermeer fiction!

by J. Davis on Friday March 02, @08:58PM

Re: Feature: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Thanks for these suggestions! I had not heard of those.

(08-Jan-01 12:07:15)

by Sharon on Friday March 02, @08:59PM

Re: Feature: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Thursday, 22-Feb-01 01:14:34

My Book Group is reading Girl w/Pearl. I thought the book was an easy read and an interesting concept, but I found the story a little too linear and with too few conflicts. She had very few decisions to make (they were made for her) and her biggest adversary was a child who pulled pranks. I thought the historical details were the most interesting part of the book, and very well done.

by Gny on Friday March 02, @09:01PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and could not put it down. I've always liked Vemeer's work and it was interesting to see how Chevalier intertwined historical fact with fiction, bringing the painting to life for me. I wonder what story-line a different writer would have come up with using the same painting? Did anyone else see the symbolism in the second ear piercing in the studio with the artist? I saw that as the breaking of the hymen in the only way it could have happened given the circumstances. The hair thing was about letting go, becoming uncontained and free so to speak (another symbol, of course)
It's fun to see how different readers interpret the story.

by Cee Jay on Sunday July 01, @04:20PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I enjoyed Griet's character very much. Vermeer seemed to be a very quiet man, who maybe didn't want such a large family. I don't think that Vermeer loved Griet in a "sexual" way, yet I do feel he had a special appreciation for her and considered her his friend yet without ever really saying that she was. I enjoyed Girl With a Pearl Earring so much that I went and checked out a book about Vermeer to see who the girl really was and more about his life. It left me with a funny "aftertaste" when reading some of the stuff about Vermeer and knowing there wasn't really a "Griet." The whole he's real and she wasn't was an interesting plot. I read that the real girl in the painting was Vermeer's daughter Maria.

by Sarah on Monday March 04, @04:21PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

They don't know for sure who the girl in the painting is but it is thought that it is most likely to be his oldest daughter...we won't ever know for sure...

by Lita on Friday February 20, @06:28PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I really like Girl with a pearl earring. I am the same age as Griet and it was really interesting to see how teenagers had to be put to work and how socialclass meant so much more then than it does now.
I do not understand Griet, and I don't know why anyone would pierce their own ears unless they were infatuated with the person that asked them to do so. I do think that Vermeer fell in love with the myseteriousness of Griet and also with the way she also saw things in the way he did... but I think it was Griet that was in love with him, not the other way around.
I agree with the idea that Griet did not keep the earrings because they were too nice for her, but I think they were also a way for her to rid herself of what she once maybe had wished she could of had (a future with Vermeer). When she used them to pay off their debt I think it maybe was her was to somehow repay him for his kindness towards her. He made her feel special, and I can understand how Griet might have misinterpreted it for something else at first.
Hopefully the butchers son understands her better than I did!

by Katelynn on Thursday August 15, @12:31PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Do you think Vermeer was the father of Griets oldest son?

by Cecillia on Wednesday February 19, @10:25AM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

He was named Jan, after his father.

by Cecillia on Wednesday February 19, @12:19PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

there is no way that Griet's eldest is the son of Vermeer. This is a stupid assertion. The relationship between Griet adn Vermeer was designed to be very ambiguous, and the piercing of the earring into the ear (a symbol of the loss of virginity) and the white paint on the palette knife (also a very phallic symbol) does make the question of whether Vermeer slept with Griet even more hazy. However these instances are simply symbolic and suggest a special connection, and altough there is definately a sexual element, Griet did not sleep wiht Vermeer. This is made explicitly clear by Griet's disappointment at the finish of the painting and Vermeer's brushing off of Griet in saying "It is done." The painting of the pearl earring into the painting is the last real connection we see between Griet and Vermeer and as you can see, Vermeer brushes Griet off. Even Tracy herself says that both Griet's children are Pieter's. Don't misconstrue and exaggerate these things!!!!

by mackenba on Wednesday April 14, @12:30AM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

from the moment i picked up the book up to read i was automatically glued to it, finishing it in 2 days which is a grate effort for me. griet was a good character but i also belive that she should have been more open on the way she felt instead of keeping it all in. i dont think i can relate to her but can see where she is coming from.Personally i dont know if Vermeer loved her or not, but he definately had feelings for her, otherwise he would have not cared so much about her, and left the pearl earings for her.....

by Susan on Wednesday May 07, @03:17AM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

if someone could help me out with this, i'd really appreciate it. if you had to pick one, what do you think the most important quote from the book would be? i wrote down a few, but i can't decide. any thoughts?

by kayla on Thursday August 19, @02:05PM

what the...

this was the most superb text i have been introduced to in my life!!!

by rochelle on Tuesday October 12, @05:32AM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I liked the description of old Holland. I didn't really relate to the story between Griet and Vermeer, I had a whole other scenerio in my head between the two before I read the book! I did find it historically interesting, and the research about life back then seemed accurate.. I guess I just expected more behind that "look" in the painting.

by Edie on Tuesday November 02, @03:07PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

There seemed to be alot of misunderstanding about the problem Greit had with people seeing her hair. I did some research and according to that you were not supposed to show your hair to anyone but your husband.

by Alyssa on Monday November 22, @01:50PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I did find Griet to be quite likable and admirable in many respects. But that's not the same as me being able to relate to her or identify with her. She seemed too stoical. She put up with so much and never told anyone about her hardships, including her own parents, because she and want them to worry about her.

No, I don't believe that Vermeer was in love with Griet. I think that he was too selfish for that. Infatuated? Definitely. But he was very much a coward over the whole earrings thing. I do understand that their relationship was doomed from the start because of their social status, however, Vermeer should have owned up to lending Griet the earing for the painting.

I really liked this book.

by Sigrid Macdonald on Sunday January 16, @08:08PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I absolutely loved this book. i read it in (literally) a few hours. it was the best book ive read in a while. the thing with the hair was quite simple, i thought. only sexually promiscuous women (aka whores), or the very rich, showed their hair in those days. when her hair was down, she felt like she wasnt the same person, like she was dirtier somehow. i thought the telling of the story through her eyes was good, seeing her grow steadily more attracted to vermeer, then seeing her pain when she realizes that he doesnt love her. and its not like she wanted to be "felt up" by pieter, its that he had more control over her, and he knew it. she had to marry him to help keep her family alive, so she couldnt stop him from doing whatever he wanted. she just didnt enjoy it. there were only two times where she did it willingly. one was a reward for keeping her secret, because she had nothing else to give him that he really wanted, and the other time was when vermeer had seen her hair, so she felt that she had nothing to hide anymore. she was being rather reckless at that point, and she regretted it afterwards in the story.

by mary peace on Saturday July 23, @08:23PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

yo was happinin . i read da book for school and i dont get y she felt she was like unworthy of wearing pearl earrings or showing her hair. according to her religion she should believe everyone was equal and that she was as good as any woman around. Actually i lied i listened to the cassettes in stead of reading . <>^\\~B.O.R.I.N.G.~//^<> lol

by tom hammer on Monday August 15, @06:30PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Her son was called Jan after HER father.

by Jo on Monday September 12, @01:20AM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I liked this book alot and i liked Griet. I think she was being thrown into an adult world of relationships and sexual desire and she still had the innocence of a child. She was caught between wanting more in life with love and doing what is expected of her. The hair thing also puzzled me at first but i came to realize that i could somewhat relate to Griet. She wanted to have the perfect love and reveal herself to only one man. In many books i have read, the author has used a womens hair as a sacred part of a womens body and should be shown and let down in front of one man. One book was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. The whole hair thing is her trying to hold onto her innocence in an adult world that shes confused about. Pieter feeling her up was an example of her not really wanting to do it but being confused because shes in this sexual adult world that she is totally clueless about.If you notice in the book she states about her not really wanting it.

by elisabeth on Monday June 26, @06:05PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

i thought this book lacked substance, the concept was boring to me, i'm 16 in year 11 and its an essential text for my english course.
I thought there was no point to the story, it was about a guy who paints and his maid with emplied sexual bravado that never amounts to everything. All in all a boring and uneventful read. I agree with the person who says something about Greit's main advasery being a young child who pulls pranks.

by caitlin on Sunday July 02, @12:56AM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

i just finished this book. i read it two years ago and now i am reading it again because of a summer work.

after reading this book the second time i was like "wow! this book is great"
it help me visualize the life that Vermeer might lead since there is very little information on him. i think he is a great artist. in this book the only thing he cared about is painting. He seem to be living in his own world. He definitely does not love Griet, just interst in her as artist view.

I really didn't like Griet that much yet i do like her in some way. its very conflicting. Griet made Vermeer's wife look so mean and evil. Also how can Griet love Vermeer? she should drict all her attention to that butcher guy. he is way more nicer and treated her well.

overall this book is great. i think i could read it over and over again without getting tired of it

by lu on Sunday July 30, @03:26PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

can someone tell me how did this book relate to the real world?
thank you

by lu on Sunday July 30, @03:28PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

The painting is said to be of Vermeer's eldest daughter, Maria. But even so, people can never be sure. I liked how actual history was mixed with a blend of something else to create the story for Girl with a Pearl Earring. It was definitely unlike anything I've read before, no comparisons come up in my head. But, I still think that Griet and Vermeer had a special relationship, an interest in each other more like it.

by Eliza on Thursday September 21, @02:02AM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

"the butcher's son would always have good meat"


by LOLbot on Monday November 13, @03:39AM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

the reason she kept her hair covered, was because she was protestant, and protestant woman were required to have their hair covered.

by shayla on Saturday December 16, @02:40PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

The Girl with a Pearl Earring is a very intriguing story. I read the book and found it quite interesting, with the characters and themes. I don't get what Griet's aspirations appear to be throughout the book. Obviously, her poor class, her sex - gender and young age prevent her from achieving motives and apspirations. But the question is, does she have any apsirations at all? any dreams? or maybe they build up through her life as time goes by. When Griet becomes a maid, her dreams become unrealistic. She starts to have aspirations but is going through a whole lot of difficulties to be able to be successful.
I really liked this book, as studying it helps me learn about Griet's society back then; it seems very interesting. rozen maiden

by nadia on Friday March 16, @02:21AM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

This book is absolutely fabulous. To the girl who said that it lacked substance due to her being in year 11 and being part of her English course, I am also 16 and no book has struck out to me with greater value. It is captivating and enigmatic in the sense that it encapsulates 17th century Delft society through the eyes of a 16-year old girl, catapulted into a world of Catholicism completely foreign to all the austerity that she has been brought up with. To a certain extent, it exercises the way female subjugation is prevalent through out history in many societies, and asks the reader to consider the factors that may be held accountable to such subordination.

by PCD on Saturday September 29, @08:59PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Can anyone tell me the significance (symbolism) of "the Eight-Pointed star" and "the keys" (for the studio)?

by Simon on Sunday November 18, @12:10AM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

more symbols: - Griet prepares colors for the painter (what else to add? - seems obvious) - White sheets, symbol of virginity - Yellow-gold table-cloth in mother's office, symbol of wealth - Shining-clean bronze vessel in the hands of heroine, symbol of clarity/virginity/openness - Dirt on white sheets: symbol of calumny - in the beginning of the film, Griet goes from a dark into brightly lit room, a symbol for growing-up, discovery, and epithany

by Yuriy Alexandrov on Monday December 31, @03:31PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

even more symbols:
- painter asks the girl to open lips, and then to half-open, a symbol of tenderness and confidence between man and woman, and (controlled) sexual desire
- a sunbeam on the wall, reflected by the brass vessel in the hands of the girl, a symbol of projecting the good will on others
- pearl earrings, a symbol of collected light
- dropet(tear)-shaped earring, a symbol of farewell
So remarkable real story, Vermeer, A Girl, Earrings, The Painting, The Novel, The Film, The Actors, - blessing to us all, through centennials.

by Yuriy Alexandrov on Tuesday January 01, @06:03AM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I feel like Vermeer and Griet were not "in love" but shared a love. The painting was there love in a way, like others have commented the piercing of the ear was a symbol of loss of virginity and the painting was a symbol of there love. I think the beauty of art overcame them. Vermeer loved his paintings (thats why it took him so long to finsh them, he wanted them perfect), and Griet was in his painting so therefore he loved her, maybe in a way most people cannot understand. Also we have to keep in mind that Griet and Vermeer were both kind of weird, but they both understood eachother, and it is rare for anyone to find someone in this world who will understand you and protect you. And a comment on the hair thing, I find it in a way erotic that her hair was "forbidden" to see but then seen by Vermeer. I think it made Vermeer understand who she really was when he saw "all" of her.

by Ally on Wednesday November 26, @10:03PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Can anyone tell me what the pearl symbolizes. I have to write an essay in class about this book and what the pearl represent She needs a good intro with a thesis. Three body paragraphs with good topic sentences. She also said that we need to find one thing in particular that the pear represents and the three body paragraphs support it. If you can help me with my essay please reply of email me at Thank You very much

by Pat on Wednesday March 10, @02:11PM

Girl With A Pearl Earring

How did religion affect Griet's ability to establish relationships with Catharina and her family in Girl with the Pearl Earring? Did the difference in religion make her isolated? If so, how?

by Carter on Thursday January 06, @03:52PM

Re: Girl With A Pearl Earring

I absolutely loved the book. At first I thought it was a little slow but it was absolutely captivating. I felt like a lot of it was based on the concept of "ownership" it seemed like everyone owned Griet in some way or another. Vermeer and Catharina owned her because she was their maid. Her family sold her at the beginning signifying that they originally owned her. Pieter owned her as her boyfriend or whatever they called it back then and he wanted to own her to be her husband. Ruijven wanted to own her in a sexual way but when he refused that, he owned her in the painting of her that he recieved. it was like the only thing that was truly hers that no one else owned was her hair and her virginity. but after Vermeer saw her hair that didn't matter anymore. it was like she lost the only part of herself that was really hers, so she went and had intercourse with Pieter. I agree that Vermeer was fascinated with her because of the way she saw the world and I think that she was fascinated with him because she had never met anyone like him before and he had so much to teach her, he helped her to see the world differently. I also agree that he loved her in a way because he loved his paintings and she was in his painting. I think he wanted to own her in a way, like with the piercing of the ear.

by iamthewalrus on Tuesday April 12, @03:55AM

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