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The desperate girl: Or, what *do* you call that archetype, anyway? - A Sorta Fairytale
October 2013
 
 
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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Fri, Jul. 6th, 2007 07:59 pm
The desperate girl: Or, what *do* you call that archetype, anyway?

I was getting ready to post this at canon_orx  , and decided I wanted to post it on my own LJ instead.

He raised his eyes, and recognized that wretched child who had come to him one morning, the elder of the Thenardier daughters, Eponine; he knew her name now. Strange to say, she had grown poorer and prettier, two steps which it had not seemed within her power to take. She had accomplished a double progress, towards the light and towards distress. She was barefooted and in rags, as on the day when she had so resolutely entered his chamber, only her rags were two months older now, the holes were larger, the tatters more sordid. It was the same harsh voice, the same brow dimmed and wrinkled with tan, the same free, wild, and vacillating glance. She had besides, more than formerly, in her face that indescribably terrified and lamentable something which sojourn in a prison adds to wretchedness.

She had bits of straw and hay in her hair, not like Ophelia through having gone mad from the contagion of Hamlet's madness, but because she had slept in the loft of some stable.

And in spite of it all, she was beautiful. What a star art thou, O youth!


~Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


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A young girl walked to the witness stand. As she raised her hand and swore that the evidence she gave would be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help her God, she seemed somehow fragile-looking, but when she sat facing us in the witness chair she became what she was: a thick-bodied girl accustomed to strenuous labor.

In Maycomb County, it was easy to tell when someone bathed regularly, as opposed to yearly lavations. Mr. Ewell had a scalded look, as if an overnight soaking had deprived him of protective layers of dirt; his skin appeared to be sensitive to the elements. Mayella looked as if she tried to keep clean, and I was reminded of the row of red geraniums in the Ewell yard.

~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird


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There was a scuffling noise in the corner beside the open window, and Harry realized that there was somebody else in the room, a girl whose ragged gray dress was the exact color of the dirty stone wall behind her. She was standing beside a steaming pot on a grimy black stove, and was fiddling around with the shelf of squalid-looking pots and pans above it. Her hair was lank and dull and she had a plain, pale, rather heavy face. Her eyes, like her brother’s, stared in opposite directions. She looked a little cleaner than the two men, but Harry thought he had never seen a more defeated-looking person.

~Jo Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


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(Merope artwork by Tealin.)

So…has anyone else besides me, ginnytoo, and this person noticed this?

Joie

Tags: ,
Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

9CommentReplyShare

prettyannamoon
prettyannamoon
the laughing cat
Sat, Jul. 7th, 2007 02:12 am (UTC)

Interesting comparison, especially with Mayella. The wretched, maybe?

The artwork for Merope looks like it could be by Heather aka Makani.


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Sat, Jul. 7th, 2007 02:34 am (UTC)

Actually, I took a second look at the French site, and I was able to figure it out. This is the artist: http://tearain.tripod.com/hp/index.html

The style is a bit similar to Makani's, though.


ReplyThread Parent
prettyannamoon
prettyannamoon
the laughing cat
Sat, Jul. 7th, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC)

Tealin! She was one of the first HP artists I ran into - I didn't realize she was still around!


ReplyThread Parent
tesgirl123
tesgirl123
tesgirl123
Sat, Jul. 7th, 2007 02:46 am (UTC)

Part of me has always wondered just how much we as readers unconciously internalize and would unintentionally borrow for our own purposes. Obviously nothing in those pieces is plagiarized, but the style and the imagery is so remarkably similar that you have to question things.

Is it because we all hold this image in our minds that our words reflect the image, or is it because the images have taken shape as a result of the words?


Hopefully that made sense because I'm really tired and slightly tipsy


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Sat, Jul. 7th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)

*nods* It made sense to me.


ReplyThread Parent
thewhiteowl
thewhiteowl
Could use a little more cowbell
Sat, Jul. 7th, 2007 11:38 am (UTC)

Oh, now I feel like re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Definitely seeing the Mayella resemblance.


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Sat, Jul. 7th, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)

The Mayella-Merope resemblance is most striking, I agree. Eponine is similar, but there is at least one very important difference. As the essayist I linked to above pointed out, the obsessive love of those two girls drove them to do terrible things, and those terrible things led to even more terrible things that drove much of the conflict in their respective stories. Eponine, on the other hand, while a bit morally inconsistent, ultimately loved Marius in a much more self-sacrificing way.


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Sat, Jul. 7th, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)

Also, Mayella and Merope are more similar physically; neither of them are "beautiful" in spite of their impoverished state, and both are noted for keeping clean where Eponine allows straw to entangle her hair. But what strikes me in all three descriptions is that in each there is a strong sense of contradiction: wretched but beautiful, fragile but thick-bodied, clean but defeated-looking.


ReplyThread Parent
heavenscribe
heavenscribe
heavenscribe
Tue, Jul. 10th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)

I agree Joie. This is a contradictory archetype. These women are pathetic yet they have some mysterious aura that draws both men and the reader. It is interesting that the way Hugo wrote Eponine is different from the way she is portrayed in the musical and other movie adaptions. In the musical she is just this rash teenager, not at all gentle or pleasingly poor.


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