Revisited: Gold, Art, and Storytelling

I talked about this before, but I think it is worth repeating as the gold and yellow have remained a consistent aspect of storytelling within the series. 

Previously, I stated that the dull yellow we see attached to Athy in earlier chapters seems to represent caution, decay, sickness, jealousy, instability and fear while the gold, sparkling yellow seen throughout the work, signifies success, wealth, and cheerful feelings. In chapter 31, this idea is really brought home again as we see the pivotal scene between father and daughter. 

First, look at how they are framed. Before them is a room of glittering yellow (gold) light, however, both Father and daughter are in the shadows. Behind them, appearing to spring forth like magic, are–I believe– cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms are a symbolic flower of the spring, a time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life (according to Google). So what is this saying about the scene?

The gold before them signifies the success of the debutante ball, Athy’s step forward into adulthood and Claude’s hand behind her is him welcoming her to take that step (a gentle, nudge from his protective nest if you like). The shadows foreshadow their feelings for another, something that Athy’s following monologue and Claude’s response will show in a moment. The cherry blossoms are also foreshadowing of what new life Athy and Claude will live following this chapter. Their current life is fleeting, but something about it will be renewed (though what, we can only speculate about for now).

Then we have the monologue by Athy: 

It begins in a shadow fading to a bright yellow. Her words are covered in a shadowed gold, or a dull gold (the texture of the leaf’s surrounding “my true feelings” makes it appear golden). The dullness of the gold is a representation of how she feels. Her feelings, the success of her life with her father thus far, are wealth to her, but a wealth she “knows” she won’t keep, hence the dullness to it. The shadows fading to yellow is the return of that instability and fear as she recalls the book, how her life is about to change next.

Claude and Jannette are, like they were in the book, surrounded by glittering gold, but this time she is missing from this picture rather than off to the side surrounded by yellow. It shows her plans to leave, her plans to give up earning Claude’s love. 

But even though she is giving up on Claude’s love because she fears he will be cruel, she can’t help but recall her experiences with great fondness. 

Both moments with Claude that we see here are very touching, but also happened in scary moments. The first was right around her birthday, a touchy subject for Claude as it is when Diana died. The second is when she was little, post seeing Jannette for the first time, where she felt really insecure and Claude, knowingly or not, comforted her by holding her up and close. On the other side, these are also important moments for Claude. The first scene where she hops up and kisses him is a scene where he is somewhat expecting and hoping that she’ll ask him to escort her to the ball. The second is still soon after her first magically overload where she nearly died. Moreover, he’s worried about her socially. Claude didn’t grow up with friends and he doesn’t seem to know what to do for her other than to pick one. He asks if she likes them, twice, in a way that gives away his insecurities. Her telling him that she likes them is a comfort. He holds her close, tucking her into his shoulder–in a sense, they are comforting each other, whether they know it or not, in both scenes. It is fitting, therefore, that these are the moments Athy reflects on in her monologue. 

We come back to the present, and they are still in the shadows. 

Athy walks away and enters that golden light, she is stepping towards her future and has succeeded in surviving. She is saying goodbye, and it is more than I short goodbye with the intent to see him later. It is a real “goodbye” in the sense that she thinks that this is the end of their relationship.

Meanwhile, Claude is now surrounded by the dull yellow as Athy gets further and further away. He outreached hand and the yellow is a sign of caution toward what is happening. He doesn’t know how to approach her when her goodbye seemed so final. He is left in the yellow decay of what she is leaving behind by this goodbye and the look on his face almost appears filled with the instability and fear I discussed in my last post on the subject. 

 For those that haven’t already, you can read this webcomic on The storytelling is phenomenal and the art really does highlight or emphasis the importance of certain what is happening in a beautiful way. 

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