Glass Books Question #12 ~ Colors

by Gordon Dahlquist

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Re: Glass Books Question #12 ~ Colors

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:18 am

Theresa, on pg. 202, Miss Temple describes Dr. Svenson as follows: "He was a strange sort of man, tall, crisply rumpled in the way only a neat-minded person can be, wearing a blue greatcoat with pale epaulettes and silver buttons and scuffed black boots."

To me, pale, silver and black signify lack of color, although it does say his greatcoat was blue. I think that he is meant to be colorless because he hasn’t lived a very exciting life up until now, and is moralistic and has the fear of heights. It would seem that he has a drab character. But in fact, he rises to the occasion and acts the opposite of his colors. But his greatcoat is blue. So maybe that signifies that he is destined for some excitement. I know….this is a stretch.



Jennak wrote:I also see in Dahlquist's use of color a continuation of the yin and yang theme. Chang's red and Celeste's green are opposite on the color wheel. Opposite colors are 2 sides of the same coin, in that when you look at green for a long time and blink your eyes...you see red. T.he same is true with orange (canal) and blue (glass).

Good catch, Jennak.


Linda B. wrote:
ladylinn wrote:Contessa's violet and purple told me of secrets and cunning.


In the past purple was also associated with Royalty & insanity. I thought that was very telling for the Contessa.

Well, she had an air as if she was royalty.
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Re: Glass Books Question #12 ~ Colors

Unread postby suec » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:33 am

I also associated the Contessa's violet eyes with power and status (and wealth). Liz, I also assumed Celeste's green was to represent her inexperience. It suggests something fresh and natural to me as well. But I began to think of as being like the traffic light as with ladylinn's comment earlier. To me it represents green for go, as in rush right in where angels might fear to tread. Chang to me seemed to be the opposite. It suggests danger but I also thought that the traffic light red was like his nature - to stop and think and weigh up before proceeding, and the way he reponds to the warnings that occur to him.
I mainly associate Svenson with being depicted mainly in monochrome. This is because the first colour is the ice-white of his hair. I think maybe it is only later that the "restrained Prussian blue" of his coat is mentioned, so I think of it as being not so crucial. With the silver buttons and black boots he is pretty colourless. It's appropriate for someone whose role has been essentially a servant to be unobtrusive in that way. It represents the way his work has become a "welcome sort of self-annihilation". And it also suggests to me the way he is a moral figure in the story. So Liz, I agree with you. And I think the ice-white of his hair connotes not only his morality but also the way he has been frozen in grief for so long.

DIDHOT, I do very much think of the white masks and so forth as being used in a pseudo religious way. The machine room I think is compared with a cathedral. And I’m sure I remember some talk along the lines of the people giving up their sin to attain paradise with the Process being sold as like a baptism or something.

As for the blue glass, I agree with the comments made already. But blue is also a term for adult content. Essentially, those blue cards and books are showing blue movies.

I imagine the film interpretation of this book to be very much Tim Burton's sort of thing, in terms of the colours. Lots of monochrome with dashes of vivid saturation. Sorry to stray into another possible question - I am thinking only in terms of colours here. It's just how I imagine it.
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Re: Glass Books Question #12 ~ Colors

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:52 pm

suec wrote:I imagine the film interpretation of this book to be very much Tim Burton's sort of thing, in terms of the colours. Lots of monochrome with dashes of vivid saturation. Sorry to stray into another possible question - I am thinking only in terms of colours here. It's just how I imagine it.

No worries, suec. :cool: You haven’t strayed too far. We won’t be discussing color in the movie.


suec wrote:Liz, I also assumed Celeste's green was to represent her inexperience. It suggests something fresh and natural to me as well. But I began to think of as being like the traffic light as with ladylinn's comment earlier. To me it represents green for go, as in rush right in where angels might fear to tread. Chang to me seemed to be the opposite. It suggests danger but I also thought that the traffic light red was like his nature - to stop and think and weigh up before proceeding, and the way he reponds to the warnings that occur to him.

:ohyes: Aha. The green light for Miss Temple had occurred to me, but I hadn’t taken the traffic lights all the way to Chang. Good catch!

I just have to share that before I realized that color was going to be significant in this book, when Miss Temple’s green boots were mentioned for the first time, my first thought was that she was probably quite spoiled, having many different colored boots. I have always wanted nice green shoes or boots, but that seemed too frivolous to me; so I never indulged myself. I don’t really have a point here…..just that this was my first reaction to the green boots. And the green boots were probably the first detail I noticed (and remembered) as I read the book. I also wondered if they would play a big part in the story.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: Glass Books Question #12 ~ Colors

Unread postby Beatrix » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:13 pm

trygirl, I thought the green represented inexperience, but Miss Temple definitely seemed "green with envy at everyone else's bravery".
Spoiler! :
At the end of the story she isn't wearing green, is she?? Hmm. Maybe because she had matured, or maybe because she realized how courageous she could be.


I was wondering why the women were wearing white when they go through the first part of "the process". White is often used to symbolize purity, maybe they wore white because "the process" was supposed to make them pure in the cabal's point of view.
Last edited by Beatrix on Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Glass Books Question #12 ~ Colors

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:37 pm

Beatrix wrote:trygirl, I thought the green represented inexperience, but Miss Temple definitely seemed "green with envy at everyone else's bravery".
Spoiler! :
At the end of the story she isn't wearing green, is she?? Hmm. Maybe because she had matured, or maybe because she realized how courageous she could be.

Celestial, as it were. Good catch, Beatrix!
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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