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Madison GrossEnglishReedThe True Deceiver Essay Setting: Inside and Outside The True Deceiver, a novel, is written by Tove Jansson, a Swedish-Finnish author, and is the subject of the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we tell others. In this novel, we see inside and outside spaces and the different types of imagery. The imagery shows the conflict and message off the novel. The True Deceiver starts off with snow beginning to fall on a village all winter long and the sun rising late and setting early as snow begins to pile up. The main character is Katri Kling, who is a “yellow-eyed” outcast. She lives with her “simple-minded” brother and a dog she does not name. Another major character is Anna Aemelin, an elderly children’s book illustrator who appears to be Katri’s exact opposite. Anna lives in a large empty house, venturing out in the spring to paint exquisitely detailed forest scenes. But Anna has something Katri wants, and to get it, Katri will take control of Anna’s life and livelihood. By the time spring arrives, the two women are caught in a conflict of ideals that threatens to strip them of their most cherished illusions. When taking a deeper look at Katri, we see she is a 25-year old woman who has looked after her 15-year old brother, Mats. Their mother died nine months earlier and that has seriously affected Mats. (EXAMPLES) He is a “little slow” to catch on, but a very gentle lad who is described as a “simple” boy by the villagers. He does manual labor extremely well and with great care and attention and has few conflicts with the other villagers. He particularly enjoys helping out in the Liljeberg boat yard. Mats, since working there, has come up with his own remarkable talents and has drawn up an excellent design for new boats. In the novel, The True Deceiver we see many scenes of inside spaces. An example of an inside space is when the main character Katri “had scrubbed the room above the storekeeper’s shop, scrubbed it with a kind of painstaking rage, the way women clean when they can’t lash out….standing in hungry vigilance, waiting for some sign to tell him if he could go on hating or if there was the tiniest little handhold for his lust (pg.71.)” This quotation takes place when Katri moves to Anna’s place and explains how she cleaned and went about her work. It is clear from Jansson’s description that is an angry woman; she does not want to clean the floor. Her extreme emotion is visible through the scrubbing.  It describes her scrubbing the floor and cleaning the place with a rage that she is containing. We can imagine this because of the loss of her mom and the hard life she lives.  Jansson says, “Naturally she wants a fluffy floor. Carpet or no carpet, it’s all fluffy in here anyway — hot and hairy.  Maybe there’s more air upstairs. We’ll have to crack the window at night or Mats won’t be able to sleep (21).” Here, we see Katri’s emotion and can feel her love for her brother. She just wants it to be a safe place for her brother– and Katri will do anything for her brother. Jansson’s character is often judged by the others in town: “Katri’s advice was widely discussed in the village and struck people as correct and very astute. What made it so effective, perhaps, was that she worked on the assumption that every household was naturally hostile towards its neighbors (29.)” Her advice matches the way she looks at the world. Throughout the novel, she is looking out for her brother and own self-interest. When looking at Katri as a character, we see her strong will and passion to take care of her family. The conflict comes from being Anna’s total opposite and their differing views about life. Anna has material wealth which is what Katri wants really bad. Katri wants to take control of Anna’s life and to manage the way she lives every day. We see how Katri lives her life through the imagery of inside spaces and what she wants to accomplish and gain in her life. EXAMPLES OF SPACES INSIDE TO SHOW JANSSON”S MESSAGE The True Deceiver helps us to better understand the conflict between these characters. The outside space descriptions establish the setting of the novel. It is dark and the weather is always depressing and gloomy. Jansson says, “Nothing can be as peaceful and endless as a long winter darkness, going on and on, like living in a tunnel where the dark sometimes deepens into night and sometimes eases to twilight, you’re screened from everything, protected, even more alone than usual (.8.)” This is a description of the long winters they experience and how dark it gets. We see that it will be difficult to really see or understand things clearly. Lots of details are obscured. They compare the town, the village to a tunnel of darkness that you can barely see in during the dark night. It’s the outside of the village when they leave their homes that it is always dark and has very little light with the sun rising and setting quickly. Katri puts out food for the dog outside. The process of feeding the dog and Mats’s reaction shows that Katri did, “talk about the dog, but she put out food and water in the yard. Sometimes at night Mats would wait by the kitchen window with the light off and the door open. He saw the dog only once, just as it was growing light, and he went very slowly out on the steps and tried to coax it in. But it ran off into the woods, so he gave up (pg.161.)” Mats always tries to be friends with the dog, going slowly up to him from the outside porch, but he never gets the chance to pet him. Katri always leaves food so the dog would come back and Mats would have a chance to play with him. Jansson seems to be telling us that Mats, like the dog, recognizes Katri’s worth, but also they are both outsiders who depend on Katri’s sometimes brutal strength. Jansson shows Katri as she describes the weather and town streets saying, “She could easily have remarked on the heavy skiing weather, or asked how he could even see the road, or complained about the town not getting its ploughs out (pg.16.)” It is always snowing outside therefore they could not keep the streets plowed long enough before it started coming down again. Also, the visibility of the road was always poor and you could barely see down the street. The outside spaces show the characters’ will power to deal with a tough environment and a dark place which can cause you to be down. This was the conflict of a dark and cold environment, but the characters were able to overcome it and live life. The snow implies that there is a lot going on under the surface, but also there is a sadness to the lives of all three characters. The oppressive cold winter seems to cover things over, but also to make things worse.The True Deceiver is a novel to help us understand the impact of our internal and external spaces better. Jansson’s detailed setting descriptions help show Anna and Mat’s life and Jansson uses them as a metaphor for the struggle that they go through. The dark environment and minimal sun can represent her losing her mom. Additionally, our spaces generally define us in everyday life; they show how we live and what that represents. Teacher: Put in some specific descriptions of inside and outside spaces and then say what each one tells us about the characters. Then say why we needed to know that about the character. (How do these outside or inside images shape the meaning of the work?) You need two more examples of inside sources/ spaces and two more of outside sources/ spaces. maddie : Sources is spaces I mixed it up, so we said sources which my teacher says means inside and outside spaces. Also, my teacher says I need more imagery so try and choose inside and outside sources/spaces where you can talk about imagery.    Imagery in the novel The True Deceiver can be shown by when Katri said, “I remember the dog at home, when I was a girl; the one that killed chickens. They tied a dead hen around his neck and he carried it around with him all day until he just lay there unmoving with his eyes shut in a morass of shame. It was cruel (175.)” Jansson shows the imagery and scene from the situation when the dog was caught up with the chicken. When reading this out loud you can picture this in your head as a cruel scene involving a slow death. This shows how the character does not like death and is not a fan on the cruelty that the hen went threw. Katri is a nice girl who wants no death or harm in her life.

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