Sexuality and Society
The Scarlet Letter and Juno Project
The theme of outer versus inner self is one that was represented in both the Scarlet Letter and the movie Juno. In both pieces, this theme was clearly presented and was a key component in the overall message of both. For these reasons, I decided to represent this idea in my creative project. I attempted to represent the idea of physically and emotionally displaying one part of your personality while concealing other parts and the repercussions of both.
In both of the Scarlett Letter and Juno, the characters that were able to outwardly express their emotions had an easier job overcoming any trouble that they faced. In the Scarlett Letter this concept was shown through the characters of Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmsdale. Hester was forced to express her emotions outwardly because she was marked with the Letter A, while Dimmsdale, who was equally as guilty, was enabled to internalize his guilt throughout the whole play. As a result Hester dealt with her feelings in a very manageable way while Dimmsdale bottled them up until he exploded. Through my project I wanted to represent this idea that how you portray your emotions on the outside can very often be the opposite of how you are feeling on the inside.
My creative piece consists of four different masks: two being the outer body and the other two being the inner body. Each sets of masks represents a different side of the theme. One mask pairing displays a tranquil outside with a hectic inside and the other mask pairing displays a hectic outside with a tranquil inside. I represented tranquility by collaging my mask with natural and earthy elements. Nature is often associated with peacefulness and restfulness, so I thought it would most accurately symbolize a calm serene façade and/or emotion. I represented hectic emotions by collaging my mask with magazine clippings. I used mostly triangles because they have three sharp edges. To me, the edges displayed the clash and struggle that people often find when attempting to reveal their truest emotions. I also used a combination of warm colors (red and orange) and cold colors (blue and green) because they are opposite on the color wheel allowing for more contrast.
The biggest problem that I encountered while doing this project was finding a way to differentiate each set of masks from the other. I wanted them to all be connected, but I also wanted a clear differentiation between them. I found a way to do this by adding specific features. The outsides personas both have facial features to differentiate them from the inner personas and the inner personas are both separated into horizontal sections, the top representing a brain. I also wanted to connect both “tranquil” personas and both “hectic” personas to one another. I did this by adding small similarities to each piece. The outside “tranquil” mask uses a lot of red berries, so I connected the inside “tranquil” mask by adding a few berries. The outside “hectic” mask uses a lot of red triangles, so I connected the inside “hectic” mask by adding a red triangle.
I think that I did a really good job of displaying the overall theme. It is clear when looking at my project that each mask represents an opposing idea. I wish I had done a better job of connecting the outside of the mask to the inside of the mask. If I did this again I would find a way to clearly display which outside mask belongs to which inside mask.