As is often mentioned in The Painted Girls, the theory of Criminal Physiognomy says that one's physical "look" determines what sort of person one will be. The principle characters in our book (Antoinette, Marie and Emile) all seem to have the physical attributes mentioned in this theory. Is it their appearance that has drawn them to lives of misery? Marie, the model for Degas' dancer statuette, is the only one of the three who has read about the theory. I wonder if she knows the truth about this unfortunate mistake by the theorist.
In a time when girls from poor families have no protection, and are vulnerable to all the evil Paris has to offer, is it really possible for the sisters to lift themselves out of this life? And what of the boys? Is a confession of murder the only possible way to be free of Paris and get a one-way ticket to hard labor in New Caledonia?
Author Cathie Marie Buchanan has posed some very interesting questions in this book, and we will have the opportunity to answer them when we meet on Tuesday, August 12, at 6:30. Be sure to sign up now.