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Analysis of the text “A picture”
Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole
(13 March 1884 – 1 June 1941)
Hugh Seymour Walpole was an English novelist
. A prolific writer, he published thirty-six novels, five volumes of short stories, two plays and three volumes of memoirs. His skill at scene-setting, his vivid plots, his high profile as a lecturer and his driving ambition brought him a large readership in the United Kingdom and North America. A best-selling author in the 1920s and 1930s, his works have been neglected since his death.
“A picture” is a piece of fiction as we get an insight into the plot, the composition, the ideas, the problems and facts of life and the character. The story is the first person narration.
In this story we see the emotional conflict, the inner conflict of the character (Simon lied himself).
The story begins with reflections of the author about fine arts, about owners of different art subjects. This part of plot is used to attract reader’s attention to the story.
The main hero is the young man who called Simon. Simon is a journalist and a poet. His sentimental soul and lyrical way of thinking is presented by colorful describing of London in spring. And one more important character of this story is Vanessa. She is a very beautiful young lady who is in love with Simon.
Vanessa and Simon loves each other, but complication starts when Simon comes to the art gallery and sees a picture, where are two Italian woman. Simon is so impressed by the picture, he feels like they are alive and kook at him.
From this moment the description of the characters becomes more detailed and more clearly. Vanessa described in bright colors. Author uses a lot of epithets for Vanessa: “red gold hair”, “marvelous”, “good-tempered” etc.
Author also includes description of Vanessa’s friend Jane Porter. Jane is completely different from Vanessa. She is boring, passive and absolutely ordinary.
Jane is colorless and Vanessa is brilliant.
We can see Vanessa’s character through description of her room. It is “as bright as a beard paradise”, “too brightly colored”. There are a lot of decorations. It shows that she’s being unnatural, inconstant person.
And also we see that Vanessa and Simon are very different, even opposite. Vanessa is “startling”, “remarkable” and “brilliant” and Simon is nothing very remarkable. In spite of these things they still are going to be married. Author uses the frame around Simon’s description to show how they are different.
When Vanessa starts to understand how this picture is important for Simon, she becomes jealous. This picture doesn’t impress her, in addition she understands that Simon doesn’t think that she understand something in Fine Arts. Simon thinks of the picture all the time, he is really found of these women on it, who look so alive. Simon considers that he can’t afford to buy the picture, but finally he buys it. They argue and Vanessa leaves him. Simon is being hurt. During the whole story we see how Simon changes his attitude to Vanessa. He thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the world, and then he starts to be puzzled by her, he decides that all her beauty is blinding, and it’s just foolish decorations. I think that Simon understand that the picture is more natural and lively then Vanessa. Hence it appears his delight in looking at the picture. Vanessa control Simon, she always tell him what to do or not to do.
The moment when Simon brings the picture at home and he argues with Vanessa is the climax. Vanessa is very pushy and bossy person. She forces him to take it back to the Gallery. Simon shows his weakness, he overstep his interests to save their relationships. We see how Vanessa boasts of her triumph when Jane comes. But Jane is as quite as Simon; she is “the girl you can trust”. Jane is sorry for Simon; she said “I’m sorry you took it back”.
“There is an end to all things” by these words outcome is marked. Simon comes home and sees the picture on the wall in his room. Vanessa left him and left the note: “Dearest Simon, I have gone to Spain with Esteban, we are to be married as soon as possible. I have bought this picture for you. Was it myself or you that picture criticized? Always your friend and good-wisher, Vanessa.”
Speaking about the language in this text I can say that it convey romantic atmosphere of the city to the readers. To show us the beauty of London he describes different flowers in the streets: “daffodils and hyacinths and white liac and tulips”, he also uses epithets: “magical streets”, “pale soft dusty gold”.
Repetition of the sounds[r], [tl], [s], [i] author uses to express the noise of the streets.
Describing the picture author uses personification (“looking at me”), to show that Simon treat those women on the picture as alive people; uses metonymy (“small oil of Walter Sickert’s”); uses metaphor (“I seemed to belong to these women and they to me”); uses epithets (“in dull colors”, “most intimate”).
Vanessa’s portrait Is also full of epithets: “red gold hair”, “starling”, “remarkable”, “marvelous”, “good-tempered”,. We also can find a simile in her description: “she was like a flame”, “straight as a dart and slim as a flower”.
Repetition of the word “brilliant” show how wonderful and precious she is.
Describing Vanessa’s room author mostly use simile: “as bright as a bird paradise”, “as though as she lived in caravan”, “as though she had travelled on a magic carpet”; and epithets: “flimsy”, “guilt”, “artificial”, “too brightly colored”.
In the part of this story when Simon and Vanessa have an argument about the picture author uses a hyperbole (“as though she had struck me a blow in the face”), this moment show how important Vanessa’s opinion for Simon.
Speaking about the picture author uses the word “dull” several times. Vanessa sees this picture as “dull” and boring thing. Simon by turn loves this picture deeply. Here we see the difference between these two people.
In downfall, author uses epithet “miserable” and metaphor “conquered my foolishness”, to show the state of Simon at that moment.
At the moment when Vanessa breaks up with Simon author uses a hyperbole “a thousand waters had broke it upon me”. He wants to express the despair of the hero.
As a result we can say that Simon is dynamic and static person at the same time, because his attitude to Vanessa has a gradation, but his love to the picture is the same during the whole story. And Vanessa doesn’t change, she is a dominant and selfish. The title of this story is the content-making and connected with events. At the end we may conclude that the writer wanted to set an example of relationships between two absolutely different people.
In my opinion this book is very interesting and teaching.