Textual Analysis : Fingersmith

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of  Sexuality  using the following: Camerawork, Editing, Sound design and Mise en scene



The opening scene is set in a dimly lit room and involves Maud caressing the Servant who has just received a brand new dress. This scene is filled with sexual tension in the way that she is touching the woman, but the setting of a dimly lit room suggests that her feelings must be concealed. This is reinforced with the Narration that is used as it is used to express inner thoughts that she feels that she can not voice towards the servant.  A Mid shot is used to show the intensity in which Maud looks at her and the Servant being framed in front of Maud also shows the admiration and importance that Maud has for her which builds up ideas of sexuality. Miss Maud’s feelings are expressed in the Non-Diegetic sound track which has romantic connotations which further emphasises the secret nature of her feelings since the soundtrack cannot be heard in the world in which the story is unfolding in.

We are then introduced into a scene in which Maud is showing admiration, yet again, for the Servant by painting her. Cross cutting and close up shots are used to show the focus and intensity that Maud is paying towards the sexual features of the servant  which highlights and adds to the sexual tension. We are then introduced to the third character which is a Young Male who appears to be a man of power. Loosing concentration by admiring the servant that she is painting, Maud drops red paint down her and this is not unnoticed by the newly arrived character. Red is not only a colour that has a semantic field of danger but also love and lust which represents the way Maud is feeling which in tern displays her sexuality. A 3 Shot is then used in order to get the reaction of all the characters and further display Maud’s sexuality coming to light to the other character and a loss of innocence is shown through the stain that is left of her dress. Much like the stain left on Maud’s dress, Maud’s sexuality and feelings are permanent and cant be washed away .

An imbalance between the power of the sex’s is shown through the use of framing the newly arrived male character in the centre of the screen, and also have him on a higher level than the 2 other female character. The idea that Man ultimately rules over Woman is then later shown where the man physically abuses Maud by using his strength and status that he has. Maud is next shown being pushed against a tree in what is an uncomfortable scene where the edenic music cuts and then a wide shot displays the male’s shadow casting over Maud as he gets closer and closer. This is used to show the darkness of his sexual intentions as well as the power that he has. A sound bridge is then used to show that the Servant is looking for Maud and this is followed by a sigh of relief from Maud which shows that she only cares for the Servant. Never the less the male character fulfils part of his sexual desires by slowly dropping down the side of Maud’s body before erotically kissing her hand in a extremely sexual manner. Maud shows signs of discomfort while this is happening and the scene then fades away making it seem as if it were just a nightmare.

The final scene is in the bedroom where Maud is in a dimly lit room removing her garments. This footage was slowed down to give you the idea that she is in a dream like state and that she wishes that the earlier events of today were just a nightmare.

In conclusion sexuality is presented as being dark and secretive and is not openly expressed from maud to the servant which contrasts the open sexual desires shown from the male character to Maud


2 thoughts on “Textual Analysis : Fingersmith

  1. This is a good analysis of the scene, but…
    – You need to provide an introduction that puts the scene into context.
    – Take every opportunity to use technical vocabulary (but don’t capitalise words randomly).
    – Ensure you cover all four key areas in some depth.
    – Provide a short but thoughtful conclusion.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s