In Chapter 7, Jack and Jill get their makeover scenes.
Last chapter the twins made their choices on who they wanted to be. This chapter, we get our first glimpse of what that looks like, both in how they are treated, how they behave, and how they are dressed.
“Children have preferences. The danger comes when they, as with any human, are denied those preferences for too long.”
Clothes continue to play an important role in symbolising identity. It is important to note that Jack chooses her clothes and has to work out how to bathe herself. Jill, on the other hand, is given instructions on what to do and told what to wear. Jack plays an active role in her identity, while Jill lets others shape her. This is made explicit when the narrator begins to describe what Jill might have been like, if not forced into a role. She sees everything as a binary choice because she was raised that way. She is a product of others, rather than her own person. Meanwhile, Jack actively shapes her own identity.
“Dr. Bleak lived outside the castle, outside the village; outside the seemingly safe bulk of the wall.”
Jack and Jill’s situations don’t just show the difference between being active and being passive, they are represent the difference between truth and lies. On the one hand, Jack is presented with strange sights that might send others screaming and running. Jill receives the care she has wished for all her life. The fact that her Master is a vampire is something that is only hinted at, never stated outright. Jill faces the seeming of safety, while Jack faces danger with eyes wide open.
In the end, each environment, with its benefits and tradeoffs, suits each character perfectly. Jack must work and be uncomfortable, but she is able to learn, to see the truth. Jill must unknowingly live in danger, but she doesn’t mind what she’s ignorant of, and can be comfortable and appreciated as she’s always wanted to be.
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