Thursday, 26 August 2010

Character Connection: Griet

This is a wonderful meme hosted by Jen at The Introverted Reader. Every week, you share one literary character that you love with your fellow bloggers. You talk about the character, say why you love them and hope that everyone else will love them too.;) Be sure to post the book’s title and author, and be very careful not to give away spoilers while talking about how much you love your characters.


Griet is the protagonist of Tracy Chevalier’s novel Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Griet is a sixteen-year-old girl working as a maid in the house of Master Vermeer and his nig family. I really love this character because Griet is a genuinely good girl and very normal. She is hard-working, intelligent and very perceptive. She was never educated like a lady; in fact, she hardly has any education, but that does not stop her from allowing herself to think.

She becomes engrossed into the Vermeer household, in particular into Vermeer’s work. His studio is a haven for her and in there, it seems that Griet can find herself. She is not educated, as I’ve said, but her perception allows her not only to appreciate, but also to understand Vermeer’s paintings and his artistic side, which buys her the master’s trust. But it is this trust that brings both happiness and misery into Griet’s life. She becomes caught in the world she doesn’t to. She is a very grounded girl, with reasonable expectations that never go beyond her social position, but even she can become an innocent victim when those above her want to create an intrigue. She becomes divided between two men, for different reasons, and she is also a victim of a rich man.

It is obvious that Griet truly respects her master and that she loves his world, but Griet is always rational and knows how dangerous this can be. But paintings are hard to resist, especially the ones done by Vermeer. She is able to genuinely appreciate his art: not because he is famous, but because she likes and understands the art he creates.

Griet is a character that I loved immediately. She knows her place and is a proper young woman and a hard-working maid. But despite her hard and simple way of life, she has a deep mind, which is what I truly love about her. She confirms Locke’s philosophy of “tabula rasa”, in my eyes. She may not be high born and educated, but she has experience and is a thinker, and learns through life. I love this notion.


Enbrethiliel said...


I know it's not very PC these days to have characters who "know their place"--but it's only right in a Historical novel, aye? Griet's character seems to prove that it doesn't matter what your "place" in society is, as long as your mind can transcend your circumstances.

That reminds me a little bit of the characters in Jane Eyre. ;-) Thanks for commenting on my own Character Connection this week, Irena! =)

Blodeuedd said...

The only thing I didn't like when when she went out and met with that guy who liked her, it felt unnecessary

Introverted Jen said...

I did like Griet, and while you're right that she knew her place, I started hoping for so much more for her. I was disappointed that all my hopes for her didn't come true.