Girl With a Pearl Earring

by Tracy Chevalier
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What things strike Griet about the meat hall?  

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Griet is still having trouble adjusting to her new life as a maid. Life in the Vermeer household is exhausting; Griet feels constantly tense and serious in a house where everything is so strange and new. As part of her job, she's required to make regular trips to the meat...

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Griet is still having trouble adjusting to her new life as a maid. Life in the Vermeer household is exhausting; Griet feels constantly tense and serious in a house where everything is so strange and new. As part of her job, she's required to make regular trips to the meat hall. These little excursions provide a welcome diversion from the daily grind at the Vermeers'. And at least the meat hall is a familiar place, somewhere that Griet can easily find her bearings.

During her first trip to the meat hall, Griet meets Pieter the butcher and his son, also called Pieter. On that first meeting, Griet notices the way that Pieter the elder looks her over as if she were "a plump chicken he was considering roasting." The butcher's unwelcome gaze is contrasted sharply with how Vermeer looks at Griet. He sees her with the eyes of an artist; he appreciates her extraordinary beauty in an aesthetic, rather than a purely physical sense.

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