The lady in the looking glass: a reflection

After reading and discussing “The lady in the looking glass: a reflection”, Pato told us to answer in pairs some questions from her blog. This is the work Tomas Braun and I did.

The lady in the looking glass



Question 2: The unnamed narrator attempts to construct a portrait of the Isabella Tyson that consisits of her outer self and her inner self. The portrait is reflected in the objects inside and outside the house as they reflect in the mirror. Describe the images reflected in the mirror.


2) The narrator builds the inner and outer self of Isabella from the things and objects reflected in the room and in the garden. On the one hand, the inside of her is represented as an empty, dark room. In there, strange creatures and shapes danced through the joyless room. For example, there were “petals falling” and “ curtains blowing”, giving a gloomy atmosphere. On the other hand, her outer self is represented by a garden full of life and joy. It was full of colorful flowers and moving creatures.


Question 3:

What kind of contrast is there between the objects inside the house and outside the house, as they are reflected in the mirror?


3- The contrast between the inside of the house and the outside, allows the reader to see and compare this contrast to Isabella’s inner and outer self. In the inside of the house, we can see chaos, mess and a lot of creatures, showing how horrible and dark the inside of it is. However, the outside is still, quiet and colorful. This contrast which is reflected in the mirror can make us realize that Isabella’s inside and her mind was a chaos and a mess, although from the outside we could see calmness and that she seemed organised.


Question 4:

Describe how the narrator attempts to compose the portrait through the mood inside the room, through her own imagination, and through the presentation of Isabella in the mirror


4-By describing the mood inside the room, throughout the mirror, we can realize how Isabella is presented and described. The room, in the inside, is dark, spooky and with many creatures. Moreover, everything is a chaos and a mess, with chairs all over the place. We can compare the room with Isabella’s inner self and mind. Although she shows another thing in the outside(like the garden) we can see that in the inside her kind is a chaos. Her mind is reflected with the room and the inside of the house, by the mirror, showing a straight connection between them.


Question 6:

What material objects inside and outside the house does the narrator use to imagine Isabella’s life?


6) On the one hand, for her inner self the author chose to represent her with furniture Isabella bought during her various trips to foreign countries. For example, the “rugs, chairs, cabinets” that were afforded in the “most obscure parts of the world”.  the other hand, the main thing the author uses to describe Isabella’s outer self is the various types of colorful flowers, like “white and violet blossoms” and roses.


Question 7:

What are Isabella’s letters supposed to conceal, according to the narrator? What would one know if one could only read them?


7- These letters, at the beginning are supposed to be love letters from relationships, boyfriends and friends, who showed their affliction and care for her. They are supposed to be “appointments to meet”, “long letters of intimacy and affection”. She seemed to be a person with lots of bonds, and relationships, with a lot of friends who were constant seeking to reach her throughout numerous letters. Despite this fact, in the end, we realize that these letters were bills which she had been hiding, showing that although we saw in the outside a sociable and rich person(garden), she had a lot of bills to pay and no one talked to her. In the end, we understand she was lonely and not so sociable as we thought.


Question 8:

At the end of the story, according to the narrator, is it possible to know objectively one’s inner reality?


8) What the author tries to transmit with the story is that most of the times we have two versions of us: one that we show to everybody and is superficial, and other that is personal and its empty and dark. At the end, the writer shows it is possible to know one’s inner self, as there is an epiphanic moment in which she discovers “ she was perfectly empty”. This means she was dead alive, and had no purpose of loving another person, and she herself was able to discover it. She realised all the colorful flowers and life she showed to others didn’t represent her real self at all.


Find a picture of a room inside and a garden to illustrate the house in the story

Read the following text. How is this related to the story?


The main feature that relates it with the story is that the text presents two women who represent the two extremes of women stereotypes in the XXth century: the angel and the mad. In “The Lady in the Looking Glass”, these are represented through Isabella’s inner and outer self; one which is very joyful and colorful, and other which is dark and tactless. Moreover, the text deals with Women and their rights at the times when Virginia Woolf lived, and we can also say that the author of our story was on the “monster” side.


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