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Eyes in Novels

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DianeL
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Eyes in Novels

Post by DianeL » Sun August 21st, 2011, 3:22 am

[quote=""Misfit""]I've just read two books by John Jakes, and while he really doesn't go overboard with the sex scenes I was a bit put off by the men always getting *hard* looking at the beautiful bad girl, i.e. even to the point of one man thinking he'd never had one so big or similar. Plus the bad girl was always grabbing at every man's crotch. After a while it gets rather repetitive and I was wishing he'd make his point in a better way.[/quote]

It'll give me away for the adolescent and immature person that I am if I admit that your last sentence here is giving me a huge grin, won't it, Misfit ... ? :D


Interestingly, the one scene I find coming to mind as distracting (I can't call it bad) is the first time Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt get together in Anya Seton's classic, "Katherine." Even giving it points for the fact that the novel is essentially a romance, the scene-setting was just too obsessed with pretty details for me, which felt too 20th-century somehow. It felt too cinematic, actually. I'm all for atmosphere, but this was set dressing, which is a different thing.

I also went perfectly nuts at the way she was portrayed (for the full multi-decade run of the novel) as looking at him "through her lashes" which, when I consider the positioning of my eyeballs and their lashes, sounds incredibly uncomfortable. When I look at anything at all, my lashes - even on the rare occasion I have altogether false ones on! - never, ever, lie between my eyes and anything they point themselves toward. One would need some inconveniently long and HEAVY tresses on their eyelids to have them hanging over their lenses, such that it would be necessary to look "through" them. But that is a quibble I suppose I should learn to just live with. It's hardly unique to "Katherine" and isn't going to go away soon.
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Michy
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Post by Michy » Sun August 21st, 2011, 3:40 am

[quote=""DianeL""]
I also went perfectly nuts at the way she was portrayed (for the full multi-decade run of the novel) as looking at him "through her lashes" which, when I consider the positioning of my eyeballs and their lashes, sounds incredibly uncomfortable. When I look at anything at all, my lashes - even on the rare occasion I have altogether false ones on! - never, ever, lie between my eyes and anything they point themselves toward. One would need some inconveniently long and HEAVY tresses on their eyelids to have them hanging over their lenses, such that it would be necessary to look "through" them. But that is a quibble I suppose I should learn to just live with. It's hardly unique to "Katherine" and isn't going to go away soon.[/quote]

That is so funny that you bring that up, because every time I read about a female (always beautiful, of course) looking at a man "through her lashes" it bugs me because I think, "how is that possible?!" I thought I was the only one who was *ahem" nit-picky enough to be bugged by such a detail. :)

You know what else always baffles me? Is when a character -- either male or female, I've read it with both -- obsesses over the color of the other's eyes from across the room. They notice the gold flecks in their brown eyes, for instance. And it's always from at least several feet away, never from close up. How can they see such detail in a person's eyes from more than five inches away? Are they looking at them through very strong binoculars? :D

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 5:44 am

People can indeed look through their lashes - it's just that eyelashes are so close to the eyes that you don't see the lashes. Princess Diana was often photographed in a pose like this, with her head bent and her eyelids partly lowered while she looked upward at someone. You can try it yourself if you put the back of your finger up to just touch your lashes and look over your finger - has to be through your lashes, if you can see over the top. However, I do think this shifts the perspective to an exterior point-of-view, because the person who is looking through her lashes wouldn't be aware of the lashes.

But the eye color thing drives me nuts, too! The really over-the-top case is in The Da Vinci Code when the main character is in the Louvre after hours, having just been shown the body, and a huge amount of descriptive detail is lavished on the way the museum is lit only by red lights set into the floor, creating a dim, eerie red glow - and then the love interest walks in, and he notices the color of her eyes!
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 9:54 am

Yes, the eye thing gets me too. Frequently characters have impossible eye colours - or only attainable by the use of modern tinted contact lenses. I guess a lot of this stuff goes by way of artistic licence and creating the impression, or being so caught up in the moment as not to think it through.
I have just read a boys' own adventure historical where the hero has been nailed to the floor and severely abused in his male parts. But he still manages to be up and at it when the opportunity to escape arises (has to climb down a latrine chute). Later in the novel someone else is shot in the thigh and has to have the bullet dug out rather brutally - it's gone in deep. But next minute he's swimming and rowing and crawling and fighting, and just occasionally remembering to clutch his leg. It's great fun, but I didn't believe it for a minute.
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Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

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Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 12:17 pm

[quote=""EC2""]Yes, the eye thing gets me too. Frequently characters have impossible eye colours - or only attainable by the use of modern tinted contact lenses. I guess a lot of this stuff goes by way of artistic licence and creating the impression, or being so caught up in the moment as not to think it through.
I have just read a boys' own adventure historical where the hero has been nailed to the floor and severely abused in his male parts. But he still manages to be up and at it when the opportunity to escape arises (has to climb down a latrine chute). Later in the novel someone else is shot in the thigh and has to have the bullet dug out rather brutally - it's gone in deep. But next minute he's swimming and rowing and crawling and fighting, and just occasionally remembering to clutch his leg. It's great fun, but I didn't believe it for a minute.[/quote]

I'm thinking we might need to have a thread for these. As soon as my insomnia induced brain can think of what to call it.

I had a good chuckle over The Bronze Horseman and her remarkable recovery from a broken leg. Winter hits and she's barely out of the cast and all over icy steps and streets and doesn't bat an eye worrying about taking a fall and reinjuring it?
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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 1:52 pm

[quote=""Michy""]You know what else always baffles me? Is when a character -- either male or female, I've read it with both -- obsesses over the color of the other's eyes from across the room. They notice the gold flecks in their brown eyes, for instance. And it's always from at least several feet away, never from close up. How can they see such detail in a person's eyes from more than five inches away? Are they looking at them through very strong binoculars? :D [/quote]

This bugs me, too. I'm not a person who can pick up such details in one quick, swooping glance, yet people in novels often do. I also wonder how long you can gaze directly into someone's eyes without it being creepy or rude?

Another pet peeve of mine is the amount of detail romance authors give to eyelashes (not just women's, but men's as well). Some of those descriptions go well beyond overboard.

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Post by Divia » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 2:36 pm

I have to say I obsesses about eye color.

I think part of it comes from that I have crappy brown eyes while my mother has brown hair and the most beautiful blue eyes ya ever did see. My step brother has black hair and stunning icy blue eyes.

I hate my eyes. HATE THEM. I want pretty blue ones. And I lament over it. I can't wear contacts because I hate things near my eyes. :(
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Michy
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Post by Michy » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 3:04 pm

[quote=""Divia""]I have to say I obsesses about eye color.[/quote] But I'm sure you don't do it from 20 feet away, the way they do in the books. :) Unless you have amazing eyesight yourself. :)
I think part of it comes from that I have crappy brown eyes while my mother has brown hair and the most beautiful blue eyes ya ever did see. My step brother has black hair and stunning icy blue eyes.

I hate my eyes. HATE THEM. I want pretty blue ones. And I lament over it. I can't wear contacts because I hate things near my eyes. :(
I have brown eyes, also, and for the first 30 or so years of my life I didn't appreciate them at all, despite always getting comments about my "big, brown eyes" when I was young. I always wanted green eyes (green being my favorite color); I would have even settled for blue, anything but BORING brown.

But it started to change for me as an adult, I think triggered by a friend of mine who loves her brown eyes. She even wears brown-colored contacts (very hard to find, because who wants to turn their eyes brown?) to enhance their color. I started thinking, then, that brown eyes are actually quite nice. And when I had portraits done a few years ago, and both photographers commented about my eyes, I realized that they are one of my best features. When I see other people's eyes, I now think the brown ones are the nicest -- they are deep and fathomless. :D I wouldn't trade mine for blue or green, now, even if I could.

Ok, sorry mods, I've taken this waaaay off-topic. :)

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 3:12 pm

I've noticed sometimes that men have longer lashes than women. There was a guy in Law and Order the other night who had the most amazing eyes - blue with gorgeous long lashes. I was sooo jealous, especially as I've got really sparse lashes. So it's not just girls who can look through their lashes, although a man doing it might look a bit odd!
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 3:18 pm

On the whole eyelash detail business, if you check out paintings of women done during the renaissance, you'll notice the lack of eyelashes. That's because they were thought to be in the same category as leg hair--crude hairiness useful if you were a peasant and worked outside in the wind and dust. Noblewomen plucked them out.

Here's an example, Genevra di Benci by Leonardo. He loved to paint the detail exactly at he saw it, and you'll notice she's plucked out her lashes.
Image
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Mon August 22nd, 2011, 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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