HOW DOES THIS EXTRACT CONTRIBUTE TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF MAGDALENA AND HER LIFE AT WHITE LAKE Essay

Submitted By g11261
Words: 890
Pages: 4

HOW DOES THIS EXTRACT CONTRIBUTE TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF MAGDALENA AND HER LIFE AT WHITE LAKE? IN RELATION TO THE REST OF THE NOVEL HOW TYPICAL ARE THE FORM, STRUCTURE AND LANGUAGE?
McCarthy uses juxtaposition to contrast the two sides of Magdalena throughout the novel. One way he does this is by differentiating between Magdalena and the image of her in the mirror: ‘She studied the girl and she studied the girl in the mirror.’ The definite separation of the two suggests there are two sides to Magdalena or perhaps two ways in which she is perceived by others and herself. In relation to the structure, McCarthy continuously switches between focalisers and in this extract Josefina is the focaliser. McCarthy’s decision to live Magdalena’s dressing through the point of view of supports and enhances how differently various people perceive her: ‘Como una princesa’, ‘Coma una puta’ is a good example of this. We have learnt that Magdalena is extremely strong willed and defiant about not being considered a prostitute shown through her refusal to conform to the expectations to dress and flaunt themselves in such a way a ‘whore’ should. Her response to her appearance being compared to what the Criada thinks is much like a princess’, by describing her appearance as looking like a whore it clearly portrays Magdalena’s distaste and unfavourable feelings towards the expectations of appearance in White Lake. It shows her refusal to take pride in looking like a prostitute which is shown previously when we are first introduced to her and she is portrayed to appear uncomfortable and aware of her appearance. She is described to have a ‘made up child’s face’ (page 6) which suggests a facade of making her something she is not which is continually reflected throughout the novel. This adds to our understanding that Magdalena does not fit in to the environment around her or belong with the other prostitutes in the White Lake. A strong theme McCarthy highlights throughout the novel is female objectification especially in regards to Magdalena. ‘Turned her like a toy’ connects to the idea of Eduardo perceiving her as his possession and contributes to our understanding of her position at The White Lake. As a ‘toy’ Magdalena is there for their entertainment and enjoyment which sadly reflects in her job as a prostitute. McCarthy goes into great detail when describing the event of Magdalena being dressed. In relation to the rest of the novel this is slightly unusual. The only other times we read about Magdalena dressing is when she and John Grady meet in White Lake and also when she is preparing to escape. In this particular instance Magdalena is portrayed to be a lot younger and ‘child’ like compared to the maturity described in the other two instances. This is linked to when JG has the dream where Magdalena is described to be wearing white which connotes to innocence and purity which is strangely ironic. ‘She took the brush and began again to brush the girl’s hair’ is much like an act a mother would do to her young daughter. This is emphasised by McCarthy’s use of the noun ‘Girl’ when referring to Magdalena which portrays her to be young and youthful. This language choice is quite typical throughout the novel as McCarthy also has the cowboys refer to JG as ‘Boy.’ By doing this JG and Magdalena are…