More Than Skin Deep - Mad Shadows

1285 WordsJul 15, 20136 Pages
Work Cited Blais, Marie-Claire. Mad Shadows. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Inc., 1959. More Than Skin Deep Mad Shadows is a French Canadian novella written by Marie-Claire Blais and was published in 1959. This novella illustrates a dysfunctional family, where outer beauty reflects status and is deemed more significant than inner beauty. Louise is a mother who loves her son Patrice solely based on his flawless physical beauty, which in essence portrays her vanity and superficiality. On the other hand, Isabelle-Marie, the daughter and a character that is unattractive on the exterior, is deprived of her mother’s love due to her lack of physical beauty. The author uses irony and imagery…show more content…
Vanity reflects pride, which is one of the seven deadly sins in Christianity. Therefore, it is ironic that Patrice uses water, which is often associated with sacred religious activities, to behave sinfully. Rather than cleansing away his sins, the author uses the imagery of water to emphasize Patrice’s vanity. Blais incorporates religious imagery to emphasize the dysfunction in the family. For example, she uses the imagery of bread and wine ironically to emphasize the fractured relationships in the family. From a Christian perspective, bread and wine represents communion and relates to the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples. This religious imagery, which symbolizes unity, is frequently mentioned in the novella and often ironically. For instance, “[i]t was again dinnertime, the hours when enemies with in a family passes judgment upon each other in silence” (103). The family gathers for dinner but is segregated and judgmental of one another. The scene at dinner conjures up an illustration of an excruciatingly “silent” gathering where family members loathe one another as “enemies”. During dinnertime, “Louise…poured some wine and came back to him smiling. Her Beautiful Beast was there before her, her handsome, powerful, and empty-headed boy”(88). Isabelle-Marie is always the one baking the bread and preparing the wine like a servant while
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