"Girl With a Pearl Earring" Analysis

Essay by biggie1usaA+, June 2006

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The novel "Girl With a Pearl Earring" by Tracy Chevalier chronicles the young life of a woman named Griet, as she travels through a journey full of love, hate, jealousy, hardship, and other experiences throughout her work as a maid. She is employed at the famous painter Vermeer's very large household. Catharina plays a main role in the house and is Vermeer's stuck-up housewife who gives birth to many children. Her mother, Maria Thins, is wiser and conducts most of the family's business manners. Griet is constantly quarrelling with another maid named Tanneke, who gets very jealous of Griet at times, as does Catharina and her daughter Cornelia. Cornelia is almost an exact replica of Catharina's stuck-up and snobby personality. Throughout the novel, Griet, Catharina, Tanneke, and Cornelia compete over their presence in the mind of Vermeer. Griet wins this battle, but in an essence, also loses the battle because everyone in the household is trying to get rid of her.

Griet is admired the most by Vermeer, which is something that she likes, but also places her in the most volatile position of the household.

Cornelia is always seeking ways to get Griet into trouble with her mother, Catharina. She secretly searches all day for any way to annoy or disturb Griet. This is in part because of her jealousy towards Griet and partly towards wanting to be closer with her father, Vermeer. It is evident that Cornelia doesn't just have a "grudge" against maids, because she is only looking for ways to be a nuisance only with Griet, never with Tanneke. Griet even says that Cornelia was out to get her, "Cornelia had been waiting some time for this mischief. She had even managed somehow to get up in the attic and steal...