Textual Analysis : Fingersmith

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of sexuality using the following: Camera shots, angle, movement and composition, editing, sound design and mise-en-scene.


The extract begins with the protagonist fitting a white dress, the colour white has connotations to the feeling of innocence – this can link to her innocence and vulnerability of her hiding her sexuality from everyone. Later on in this scene, shots change through the editing effect of dissolving. The shows the how the time is passing and Miss Maud is still feeling the same way about the servant. This is also shown when a wide shot of Maud’s hand hovering down the servant’s body clearly shows her desire for the woman. The non diegetic narrative of Maud runs through her thoughts and feelings about her feelings towards the lady.

The next scene is in the outside. Maud is painting her servant, which features many cross close cutting shots. Close ups of Maud painting the woman and close ups of the model’s  body shows Maud admiring the lady’s physical aspects. As soon as the male appears, the tension of the non diegetic score increases and the atmosphere becomes quite melancholy. The idea of the man appearing and the mood changing into something quite tense shows her vulnerability around dislike around the male character in the scene. The wide shot showing the man and Maud far away from the servant shows how distant the servant is away from the two of them; almost like she is unaware of the man’s desire for Maud. Maud then proceeds to drop red paint onto her skirt and as soon as she does that, the score stings and a reaction shot shows the man realisations for Maud’s love for the servant. The colour red is also associated with temptation and passion and as the red paint drops onto her white (this represents innocence) skirt, it shows that Maud’s innocence has now gone.

The man then drags Maud to the tree and a wide shot displays the male’s shadow overcasting maud. This arguably shows that the man is dominating her at this point; this could also show that the woman’s sexual desires for the servant are forgotten about at this point as the man and his desires are the main focus. The camera pans down her body as the man moves down her body which also relates to his desires. The tension is then cut as the diegetic sound of the servant calling for Miss Maud relaxes Maud. This can show that Maud is relaxed and feels most clam around the servant whom she loves.


One thought on “Textual Analysis : Fingersmith

  1. Good analysis, Emily, but this is a bit short and need to have a bit more technical terminology. You also need to ensure your descriptions are accurate and specific – what does the camera do in the tree scene, for example, and why?


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