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"Mona Lisa" by Leonardo da Vinci

My Father, it is surely a blue place,
And Straight. Right. Regular. Where I shall find
No need for scholarly nonchalance or looks
A little to the left or guards upon the
Heart to halt love that runs without crookedness
Along its crooked corridors. My father,
It is a planned place surely. Out of coils,
Unscrewed, released, no more to be marvelous,
I shall walk straightly through most proper halls
Proper myself, Princess of properness

Copyright © Unknown


At one point in their lives, everyone gets the painful feeling of being out of place, disparate or divergent to the environment in which they live in. Here, the reader experiences the feelings of an individual with an ambiance of displacement or an intense misbalancing in her world that cannot be fixed. The poem ideally focuses on a world where one can “fit in,” a marvelous haven or utopia. This manifestation of domicile relates to the exact covet of the common man. Everyone has once in their life desired to be in a more perfect would, a profound place in which they could genuinely harmonize and be accepted as the ideal.

It is interesting to observe the symbolism of the word “crookedness.” In it’s context, it stands for the normal state of being in which the speaker lives, the feeling of being out of congruity with the outside, and the already assimilated environment. The usage of the world “right” is compelling as well. The word “right,” by definition, means “accordance with fact, reason, or truth.” In the poem, the speaker has a dire desire to simply fit into the true perspective of things. In this perfect place, she is seen without her crookedness and therefore in her indubitable state. The word “Corridors” is also symbolic. Corridors are openings or passageways, and in this poem the speaker seem to communicate the idea that if only one could journey through the corridors of the “crookedness,” there will lie an uncoiled world in which the sincere truth will be exposed.
In contrast to the word “crookedness,” the words “straight,” “right,” and “ regular” stand for the mundaness which we all try to cohere to, the ardor one shows to fit into this “normal” image which has been perpetuated upon us since in the early years of our lives.
Normalcy means love, it means strength and stamina. Here, the speaker rehashes a fantasy of dwelling in an unblemished, flawless world she im agines, where, in the absence of her crookedness, for once in her life she shall walk proud and tall and feel as if she belongs, as if she is the apotheosis. The potent tone evoked during the last two lines of the poem is especially moving; it regards the impact of which this phantasm has had on the speaker.

On the topic of setting, the author would like to portray the image, using the word “blue”, of a far distance, an unknown place. When thinking of blue, most people contemplate of the clear sky and it’s endless, remoteness and expansion. In the poem, we read about an obscure place in which one can be free and unimpeded by people’s ignorant observations or previously conceived notions and immersed in truth.

The poem intensely appertains to the famous play, The Glass Menagerie. In the play, a girl experiences true “crookedness” and is forced to dream of a utopia with precision and absolute conformity to the heaven produced by the “Hunchback Girl.” Attributes of both the speaker in the poem the main characters in the play are extremely similar and both evoke a sense of sadness for the speaker. While the poem tends to be a bit abstract, the play can clarify all the sentiments that are attached to a dream and it’s reality.

analysis written by Daniella


the artist:
Leonardo da Vinci is a well-known historical figure, not only as an artist but also as an inventor and a scientist. Leonardo was born in 1452, in Vinci, Italy, just outside of Florence. He got his start as an artist in 1469 as an apprentice for Verocchio. Verocchio was a specialist in perspective, which was just beginning to be a popular aspect of painting at that time. As a Renaissance painter, he offered a fresh approach by painting realistically as opposed to the elaborate religious paintings of the time.
The scientist in him realised that objects in the real world were not composed of outlines, but of an intricate play of light and shadow. This technique, known as chiaroscuro, gave his paintings lifelike quality. Leonardo also used (and further perfected) a technique called sfumato, which emphasizes the change in color and detail as an object recedes in the distance.

the painting:
Painting the Mona Lisa, da Vinci made use of the sfumato technique. As most people who have tried their hand at drawing know, a lot of the expression in a face lies in the details: the corners of the eyes and the corners of the mouth. These parts are purposely left smudged in this particular painting. This is why nobody can really tell what mood Mona is in.
Scholars have also noted that Leonardo has played around with the perspective aspect in this painting. Upon close inspection of the painting, you may see that the two sides do not quite match. Not only is Mona herself a little unbalanced (on the left side of the picture she seems taller or more erect), but the background is too. The landscape behind Mona has a horizon which seems lower on the left side than on the right.

the subject:
There are plenty of theories going around about Mona herself. Not only about who she is supposedly smiling at but also if she really is the likeness of a lady named Mona. There was a Mona Lisa who was married to Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanoli del Giocondo, who could be the model for this painting. But Leonardo (being the scientist he was) kept meticulous records of his hours in his studio and the names of models. Allegedly no record can be found of a Mona Lisa posing for da Vinci.... For more information on this mystery of Mona Lisa, check out the links at the bottom of this page.

Buy the poster of this masterpiece at!
size: 14 in. x 11 in. price: $5.99
size: 20 in. x 16 in. price: $12.00
size: 23 in. x 29 in. price: $14.40
size: 32 in. x 24 in. price: $16.20
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University of Illinois
UI's English department's Gwendolyn Brooks page. Some bio information, some interviews, and some notes on her writings. Brooks, G.
Biographical information on Brooks, as well as a bibliography and a good collection of links.

College of Wooster
Great biograhical info and a nice interview with Ms. Brooks herself.

Longman Publishers: G. Brooks
Nice biography, and some great all-around links about women writers, writers of color, and such.

Louvre, Paris
The Louvre's page on Mona Lisa. The Louvre is the museum in Paris where Mona Lisa is currently being displayed

Mona Lisa Mania
Trivia about the famous model, as well as loads of information on everything Mona, including the various theories that are out there. (Check out the gift section too!)

Mona Lisa Images for a Modern World
Nice site with a huge variety of strange, odd, nice, and downright weird Mona Lisa images and information. Apparently some people were very inspired by her smile...

Why is the Mona Lisa Smiling?
Great ThinkQuest site with information on yet another Mona Lisa theory, suggesting there was no Mona.... and Leonardo actually painted himself.

Women Writers of Color
Great University of Minnesota site about their "Voices From the Gaps" Project. Nice set of links.

National Women's Hall of Fame
A leading distibutor of documentary film and video. Wonder if they have any footage of the actual disaster?

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