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Posts: 166
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun

The painter, Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, seems to me the one character, with the possible exception of Fersen, who lives a life beyond the prison walls created by rigid societal expectations and circumstances of birth. She earns her living and receives recognition by her talents, not her position in society. She moves about freely.

MA once knew a freedom akin to this. She recalls her childhood playing with her brothers and sisters: "Because our enterntainments most often involved our talents-- at the keyboard or the the bow, dancing or singing or acting--our ability determined who was dominant and most admired." (p 112)

MA and EVL become fast friends and MA is able to confide in her in ways she doesn't to others. She considers EVL and herself to be "equally fortunate" in the lives they were given. (p 285).

By the end of the book, MA seems to have no regrets, but it is clear to the reader that she is the less fortunate of the two. Her life may have been abundant but her role is no longer needed, and according to the logic of the times, she and her husband must be destroyed in order to make way for the new order.
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun

What I noticed about Elisabeth was that she gave the Queen the opportunity for straight forward, honest conversation. I think that MA appreciated this because, as Queen, I am sure that she was told what people thought she wanted to hear, not what was necessarily true

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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