The Many Faces and Moods of Death: The Very Image

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Although this was a very short/quick read, I found myself to really enjoy the symbolism etched within the two pages.  As we speak, I am halfway through Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and after reading this, I really noticed a difference between the pieces in regards to the Decadent era.  Now since I can't really comment on dear Dorian just yet, I wanted to strictly focus on the romanticism of The Very Image, and then later see if my opinions change on the matter.

First off, I was really impressed at how quickly the mood was developed within the first couple sentences. For instance, our author states that 'the air was damp with a cold drizzle,'black-cad passers-by sheltering under shapeless umbrellas...,' 'my ideas were pale and misty,' and '...despite its rigid architecture, despite the dismal, eerie vapor in which it was enveloped...' etc.  These phrases provided a lot of sensory adjectives that allowed us to feel, see, and smell the setting to which we are in-- not to mention provide us with an eerie feeling as if we were dropped into horror movie scene, where the helpless girl is walking up to the house that we all know she shouldn't go in.  I think I was just really impressed with the fact that the author was able to capture and provide all of this within a couple of phrases right from the start.  Also, I wanted to mention how the people seemed to play right into the setting/mood as well.  When our protagonist opens the door and sets his eyes upon the people, they seem drab and unsettling -- 'their gaze was devoid of thought, their faces the color of the weather.." -- this plays right along with the mood of the story.

As I continued to read the piece, it struck me that the tone was very sullen and dark... and I pictured an old man with a deep, hollow voice reading it to me in monotone. 

I loved that the author described Death as the mistress, and that they murdered their bodies to obtain comfort.  To me that is a very vivid yet imaginative play on words because it lets the readers create their own impression/embodiment of the characters we are introduced too--also, in my point of view...that makes it all the more terrifying.

I must admit that I was truly a fan of the ending...and I liked that it could be interpreted in two different ways. Basically, the driver brings him to the second destination to which he realizes as being very similar (yet different) to his original place of deliverance.  So either our character is brought to back to the same destination (to learn that death cannot be escaped) or he is brought to another one where is recognizes death in the crowd-- used as almost a foreshadowing technique that we are all going to die and that it is but a matter of when it will happen.

Very creepy; It won me over!
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2 Comments

Mike Arnzen said:

Bravo! I had much the same reaction to the description of setting and the "echo" structure of the ending. At what point did you realize that the story's conclusion uses almost the same exact language as the first sequence? It totally caught me off guard.

Mike Arnzen said:

Bravo! I had much the same reaction to the description of setting and the "echo" structure of the ending. At what point did you realize that the story's conclusion uses almost the same exact language as the first sequence? It totally caught me off guard.

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