Each of the women in this novel treats Griet differently, so she reacts differently to them. She does what she has to do in order to survive in the Vermeer household, and in the process she learns a lot about living. In the book, Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, Griet enters into many new relationships with different women, and in each she learns something, and she grows as a person. Griet has a house enemy, Cornelia, a young, red headed daughter of the Vermeers.
On the very first day Griet arrives, Cornelia is sassy to her and Griet responds by slapping her. Griet questions the little girl, “Cornelia, are you going to help me carry the water? If not, go back up to your sisters If she had sulked or shouted, I would know I had mastered her. Instead she laughed. I reached over and slapped her” (Chevalier 22). Griet wants to show from the beginning that she is in control and that the children will not walk all over her just because she is a maid. From that point on Cornelia wants revenge against Griet.Order now
She does everything in her power to frame Griet with doing numerous things, such as stealing. When Catharina finds her comb missing and Griet is accused, she knows right away where the comb is and sure enough she finds it in her trunk with her own comb gone. So Griet comes forward to Johannes Vermeer and stands up for herself. She confronts him and says, “Sir, I need your help” (147). Cornelia’s actions teach Griet that she has to be assertive in order to get ahead in life, or else people 2 will take advantage of you. They also teach patience to Griet.
As Cornelia tries to make Griet look bad, all Griet can do is be patient and do her best to set things straight. Maria Thins and Griet have a neutral relationship. Maria Thins does not really favor Griet, but she does help her out. When Maria Thins finds out that Griet is helping Vermeer with the colors, she helps her to keep the secret, and makes excuses for her when others want to know where Griet is. She does this because she knows that there will be a commotion if the rest of the household finds out about Griet’s work, and because it helps Vermeer to paint faster.
Maria Thins acknowledges Griet, “You help him paint faster, girl, and you”ll keep your place here. Not a word to my daughter or Tanneke, now” (110). Despite Maria Thins kindness in helping Griet to stay discreet, she still treats her like a maid. She orders, “I might have known, clever one that you are. You almost fooled even me. Now, get that poor girl down there a footwarmer” (110). Griet is grateful of Maria Thins agreement to help her stay secret while helping Vermeer because that is one less stress she has to deal with while being a maid in the Vermeer house.
Griet learns to be thankful for the slightest good things that happen to her because she feels so alone and miserable while working as a maid. The way Maria Thins sometimes talks to her doesn”t even bother her like it does if someone else is saying it because she is grateful. Catharina’s relationship with Griet is not a good one. Catharina treats Griet as if she is better than her, and as if Griet does not deserve respect. She accuses Griet of stealing her pearl earrings before even checking to see if they are missing.
She asks Griet hastily, “Did you steal the key to my jewelry box and take my earring? ” (213). Catharina 3 is also jealous of Griet because she is allowed into the studio, and she finds out that her husband paints Griet, the maid, and not her. ” “You and the children are not a part of this world,” Vermeer said, “You are not meant to be. ” “And she is? ” ” (214). After this incident when Catharina makes Griet feel so inferior even though all she does was what she is told, Griet leaves. “I turned and walked from the room when I reached the street I did not look back- (215).
Griet learns that nothing is worth losing her self-pride. She learns from working in that household that her self-pride is the one precious thing she can keep, and she will not let anyone take it away from her. In this novel, Girl With a Pearl Earring, Griet grows up a lot after she is tested with so many different relationships. She finds characteristics inside of her that she doesn”t even know she has. She finds out who she really is and what she wants for her life. She will not let people treat her.