The activity I enjoyed the most was reading and discussing “The Lady in the looking glass”. We dedicated several classes to the reading, as to fully understand and reflect on the story. Firstly, we contextualized the story and period by investigating about the author, Virginia Woolf. Then, the first step when reading was focusing on symbols of the first two pages. We identified the symbols of the flowers mentioned when describing the garden on the text, which mostly symbolized innocence, but without realizing the connection between the symbols and the story. Also, according to the pages read, we described the protagonist, Isabella, with the information revealed by the text. The next class, we finished reading and, after analyzing and talking throughout the reading, we were able to fully understand the story, and deeply reflect on it. Throughout metaphors, comparisons, symbols and a powerful epiphany portrayed by the object of the mirror, we were able to understand the complete contrast between the inner and outer self of the protagonist, depicted by the inside and outside of the house. This invited us to reflect on this story easily.
“The Lady in the looking glass” describes the story of Isabella, who shows herself as a cheerful girl, full of friends and with a really great life. This part of herself is portrayed in the story with the description of the outside of the house, a garden full of colorful and gorgeous flowers and with no imperfections. However, Isabella’s real self is nothing as the garden. She is dead alive, and feels empty. Her life is sad, and messy, just as the inside of her house. This permits to establish a constant parallelism between the house and Isabella, where the outside and the inside matches with the inner and outer self of the protagonist. I was able to reflect through this method of learning, as the story invites us to perform this reflection upon ourselves. This is possible as “The Lady in the looking glass” ends with a moral; “people should never leave a looking glass in their rooms”. This invites readers, and made me reflect upon this phrase. The symbolism of the looking glass is reflecting the universe and our real selves, so by leaving a looking glass we should be conscious and prepared that the truth will come to light. This story, and especially the role of the mirror on it, made me reflect on how, although I try to always show happy, I still have a dark side with sad or obscure thoughts, as well as a part of me that is full of questions and doubts. By reflecting on this, I understood that although people usually show their outer self, their “colorful garden”, we all have an unrevealed side, our messy and disorganized part, that we sometimes keep just inside of us, and is not revealed, at least until we find ourselves in a moment of revelation, were everything comes to light.
Throughout this activity I was not only able to reflect upon myself or connect it to people’s inside and outside, but also to today’s reality. Many people are not able to truly express who they are, because of social pressures, or just because it is too harsh to accept it. Many people’s dark side is bigger than others, and it can not be solved if it just stays in the inside just as Isabella. While performing this activity, I could think about two Ted talks I had previously watched. One was about a woman who expresses how she hid her true self for so many years, until she finally realized and accepted who she really was.. At the end of the talk she says; “My biggest obstacles I would ever have to overcome are my own fears and insecurities. I believe that by facing my fears inside I will be able to change reality outside.” These last sentences made me find a really intimate connection between Isabella and Morgana Bailey from the ted talk, as they both showed themselves in a way they were not, and finally their true selves came to light. I believe that in different lengths every human is scared about facing their own fears, which is why I really thought about this ted talk while doing this activity. I was also able to connect this work with another talk I have watched, which was performed by a model who expresses how aspect is no guarantee that you are going to get everything you want in life, no matter how beautiful or happy other people perceive you, you can still be very insecure or empty. In “The lady in the looking glass”, readers at the beginning thought Isabella was really happy and fulfilled, as she supposedly received letters from friends, was rich and people admired her. However, we then realise that although she superficially showed herself this way, she was dead alive. This ted talk, in a less extreme way, transmits the idea that having money, being beautiful or being admired by people does not mean you are complete on the inside, and explore how “image is powerful, but also superficial”, just as in “The lady in the looking glass”.