Sidney Darrell's invitation


Character commentary: I was looking through my things and I ran across the first thing Sidney Darrell ever gave me-an invitation to his Private Viewing. Yesterday he told me he was going to be leaving for Paris and I have decided I will be leaving with him. I feel like a coward for not being able to tell my sisters directly that I want to be with Sidney Darrell. If I were to tell my sisters though, they would do everything to prevent me from running away with him and I must be with him, so I will just write them a letter explaining why I must leave. Darrell never got the chance to finish my painting and he promised that he would finished it. I heard Lucy talking to Gerdy about how since Darrell is deciating a painting to me I have become more shallow and that my beauty has gotten to my head which simply is not true. Yes I care about the painting but I am using it is as an excuse for Darrell. Things will be good, we love each other and he will take good care of me. But what about my sisters though? They will never forgive me, it will be as if I betrayed they when they have spent all this taking care of me. I know that I can be difficult at times and I do not help at the photography shop as much but it just is not for me. I cannot keep thinking about this, I will just leave the letter here and hopefully Gertrude does not find it until I am already on my way to Paris. 


Researcher Commentary: To society, Phyllis is now seen as a fallen woman. The second she chose to run away with Sidney Darrell she ruined her reputation. Not only was he a married man, even if he did not get along with his wife that does not change the fact. According to The Rise of the Fallen Woman the fallen woman usually dies, it is the only way to do her justice after she has lost her "innocence" after choosing to be with a man unwed. Phyllis chose to write a letter to Gerdy so she would not have a say in the matter, so that her sisters would not be affected by her decision since they did not know about the matter until it was too late but the decisions that she makes affects her entire family. It is ironic that Phyllis is touched that Darrell wants to use her as his muse for the Cressida painting. Cressida is known in the Iliad and Greek tragedy of Troilus and Cressida. In the play Cressida is left alone and gives into temptation and is disloyal to Troilus. Darrell wanted to paint Phyllis as Cressida the moment before her downfall.  Phyllis focuses on  the beauty of Cressida rather than the message behind the painting. In the Trojan War Cressida was a beautiful yet deceitful woman. Similar to Cressida, Phyllis is so beautiful and can get any man to do whatever she asks of him. The main connection between the two is that Cressida is also a fallen woman; it is implied that Cressida also "ruined" herself like Phyllis did.


Auerbach, Nina. “The Rise of the Fallen Woman.” Nineteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 35, no. 1, 1980, pp. 29–52. JSTOR, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021

Levy, Amy. The Romance of a Shop. Boston, The Algonquin Press, 1889. Cove,

     the-romance-of-a-shop-81a8a4c9-6776-4e2f-aab3-857fd5f6171c. Accessed 19

     Apr. 2021. .

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