As we continue to read The Painted Girls, we find both Marie and Antoinette are making decisions about their futures we may find ill-considered. What gives these girls such low self esteem? Is it that they are poor and fatherless? They are both clever, if not educated. They may not be beautiful, but Marie is a talented and hardworking dancer, and Antoinette seems to have other skills that make her desirable. What are the parallels between these girls and abused women and girls today? What is the cycle that makes it easy for them to submit to the wrong situation or the wrong man?
Whether or not an artist would take advantage of girls like Marie and Antoinette depended on his own perspective. It seems Edgar Degas may have believed criminal activity was the destiny of every poor person, no matter how talented, literate or industrious. That view of fate was a common theme of Emile Zola and other writers of that time.
Do you agree? Are you finding the book interesting, depressing or both? Join us for our next face-to-face. Please reserve your space at the table now. See you on Tuesday August 12 at 6:30 p.m.