Connections On Reading Selection Based On the Muralist

ConnectionsOn Reading Selection Based On the Muralist

ConnectionsOn Reading Selection Based On the Muralist

B.A. Shapiro in her novel The Muralist proffers an account ofHitler’s rise to authority and America’s frantic endeavor toliberate family members from Europe even as it was obstructingpermits to many migrants. However, the novel does not comprehensivelyfocus on Hitler’s rise or the American’s frantic attempt, but itfocuses on two women: Alizée Benoit, a young French artist, and hergreat niece, Danielle Abrams (a young academic at Christie’sauction house). Alizée has migrated to America and found a group ofcompanion painters in Lee Krasner, Pollock, and Mark Rothko. Thenovel begins with an account of Danielle Abrams in 2015, catalogingthrough recently revealed Abstract Expressionist canvases and shethinks that the paintings are genuine pieces painted by the era’siconic artists (Shapiro, 2015). She then discovers four canvasses,which she feels were painted by her aunt who went missing in 1940.Thus, the novel provides parallel connections between 1939 whenAlizée is working as a fresco painter and 2015 by accountingDanielle’s story (Shapiro, 2015). Through Alizée, the reader watchRothko, Pollock, and others trying to progress their distinctivestyles. Moreover, Alizée is the main character and through her, thereader is drawn into the splitting prewar fight over whether Americashould welcome migrants escaping the Nazis.

Numerous connections are essential in making a reading selection asthey allow a reader to decode meaning and comprehend a story easily.Connections allow a reader to question the foundational aspects of astory, as well as, allow the reader to connect the various instancesof the text to their experiences. It is worth noting that connectionsallow a reader to identify with the characters, for example, Shapiroblends history with literature, which means readers can identify andsympathize with real characters. Moreover, connections help to appealto the reader since they often provide a parallel story. On the otherhand, connections help an author to offer a comprehensive andcritical story to the reader. For instance, the connection of Alizéeand Danielle’s stories help to offer stories from two periods.Moreover, by investigating the enigmatic life of Alizée, the novelmanages to make the varied and radical world of abstractexpressionism accessible and human. The use of different connectionsallows the author to play with varied aspects of the story, althoughit sometimes become thought-provoking to compose the opinions of thereal historical figures.

The Muralist tells two stories in the same way, but from differentpoint of view thus, it manages to connect the lives of two differentpeople who lived periods apart. By offering an account of Danielleand Alizée, the author links Abstract Expressionism with Realism.The author entwines the lives of both fictional and historicalcharacters, as well as, moves between the past and the present. Thediscourse on the Great Depression illustrates how Franklin Rooseveltcreated jobs through public works under the auspices of the New Deal,which sponsored WPA (Work Project Administration). Eleanor Roosevelt,a dynamic supporter of arts lobbied on behalf of WPA (Shapiro, 2015).The novel makes a great connection on this scenario, as through reallife painters such as Pollock, Rothko, and Krasner, it shows how theywere remunerated to craft paintings for federal and state publicbuildings. Although the novel adds a fictional character in the nameof Alizée, it manages to proffer the appropriate between history andliterature. The placement of Alizée, a fictitious character in thelives of real-life painters such as Pollock helps to illustrate whatinformed the arts of the artists. Moreover, her placement helps thereader to understand the main aspects of the Abstract Expressionism.

The representation of the situations in America before World War 2such as the majority’s disapproval of America engaging in the warand the denial of visas to migrants helps to portray the period in acontemporary manner. In fact, oppression of the refugees and denialof visas is as current as during the illustrated period thus, ithelps to make a parallel between America’s response then and today.Through Alizée’s depiction, the reader sees her struggle to obtainentry permits for her family where she runs against standoffishnessand nativism as typified by obstructionist and anti-Semitic policiesin the state department and Kennedy and Lindberg. As such, Danielle’spursuit of her quest to understand about Alizée’s disappearancehelps her comes to terms with her kin’s experience in France.Danielle and Alizée’s endeavors to recover their family and therevulsions of the Holocaust help the reader to think about thepresent refugee crisis.

On the onset, the author gives an account of Alizée’s lifeespecially her job in painting and drawing murals. Seventy yearslater, the author cast Danielle who recast Alizée’s life byassessing her artwork in the auction house (Shapiro, 2015). Alizée’sremaining two paintings and her brief stories inspire Danielle,herself an artist before her divorce. It is imperative to note thatthe story weaves literature into historical situations and figuresconsistent with the periods taking independences to attend to thestory. As such, the numerous connections provided in the novel allowsthe author to research historical facts that she frames into thestory. Although Shapiro sacrifices historical accurateness for theplot at times, the connection helps to stimulate the reader’senthusiasm to ascertain facets of art or history, which may becomparatively unfamiliar. For example, the novel allows the reader tocomprehend that the Abstract Expressionism arose from paintersinvolved in the WPA project. Conclusively, the novel’s connectioncapacity helps to explore the situations of Jews, effects of theGreat Depression, divisive politics of influential Americans,psychological fragility of painters, family bonds, and the emergenceof the Abstract Expressionism.


Shapiro, B. A.(2015). The Muralist. HarperCollins