Fioretta – Sophia – Angela

Use this forum to discuss the June 2018 Book of the Month"The Girl Who Knew da Vinci" by Belle Ami
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Vivianne Nat
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Re: Fioretta – Sophia – Angela

Post by Vivianne Nat » 13 Jun 2018, 08:44

In a way all the three characters can be considered strong. They each possess strengths in some ways that may not be how strong is defined in some people but based upon the way they were presented they are. Though some are right that the story focused on Angela's persona so she is more defined. You can clearly see that she is human with weakness and strength.
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Post by lesler » 13 Jun 2018, 12:56

Yes, all three are strong women. They are their male friend/lover's counterpart, not lesser. Especially Angela, with the ending of the novel the way it was.

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Kendra M Parker
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Post by Kendra M Parker » 14 Jun 2018, 05:45

cristinaro wrote:
12 Jun 2018, 04:16
Kendra M Parker wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 07:38
cristinaro wrote:
03 Jun 2018, 04:10
Fioretta Gorini works as a model for Leonardo at a time when girls posing for artists were considered either fools or wanton women.

Sophia Caro plans to elope with a German officer precisely during the Nazi occupation of Florence.

Angela Renatus stands up to her sexually harassing boss while risking her one-life career opportunity at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Would you call them strong women? What is their relationship with the men in their lives?
I might not go with “strong” but I would certainly say that these women were all counter-cultural. None of them were driven by social conventions. That doesn’t necessarily make them strong, simply unconcerned with social convention. I think what would make a woman stronger in literature would be to see her defy authorities in some way to make a significant change. None of these women really made a change to society or a significant difference in the lives they led.

That said, I would not call any of these women weak, either. I’d just like to see them make a bigger impact on those around them.

Fioretta was unconcerned enough that she went to Mass on Easter, but she did not fight to hang onto her life when her delivery went wrong.

Sophia went along with the plan to steal the painting even though she felt it was wrong.

Angela defied her boss, but only privately. She quit and refused to press charges for harassment or when her home was broken into. She didn’t want to make waves.

I’ve enjoyed reading about these women, but I willl say that I don’t feel they are great representations of strong women in literature. Someone more like Mina from Dracula, who defied social conventions by being a secretary, nearly becoming a vampire, and going on an extreme adventure to save herself would be a different matter. Or Jane Eyre who refused marriage when offered to her (twice!) before she went back and rescued her love. Or Hester Prynn (The Scarlet Letter) who refused to divulge the name of her daughter's father and chose to live with the condemnation and suffer the consequences to protect her lover. These are strong women in literature.
I completely understand your point of view. I guess everything is a matter of perception. It depends on what we understand by being strong. For example, I could understand Fioretta's decision not to fight for her life when her delivery went wrong. I could understand because I had been in love and I know what losing somebody you love more than your life, country, religion, norms, etc. means. By moral standards, what I am writing right now is not acceptable. I mean, I can understand loving somebody more than your newly-born baby and giving that baby up because you practically know you could never be totally there for him as a part of you died with the one you loved so much. Couldn't this be interpreted as an act of great defiance against any moral standards or social norms? After all, she did call the child's grandmother to take care of him. Of course, it could also simply be her depression or her lack of strength. :)

I liked your answer very much so I kept thinking about it. I am wondering if these three women could not have become representatives of strong women in literature as you say. I guess they could have become if their stories had been written differently. I loved Jane Eyre or Hester Prynn, but let's take Hester Prynn, for instance. She is indeed strong if you think of her ready to accept the public opprobrium and wear the imfamous letter on her clothes. On the other hand, wouldn't you call her a coward too and an unfit mother because she does not think that she has a child to protect? If people had known the truth, they would have blamed Arthur and not her. When I come to think of it, she does the same thing as Fioretta. She puts the man she loves above everything else, even her child. I don't know why, but I suddenly remembered Wuthering Heights. When Heathcliff comes back to Wuthering Heights, Catherine is married and pregnant with another man's child. It doesn't matter a bit. Their love declarations are among the most beautiful I have read. :) I don't know about these three women, but love is a strong force indeed.
Love is definitely a strong force, and it was interesting how it was a force that kept these two together across time. You make some good points. Now that I've finished the book, I think all three of the women in this book have strengths on their own, but their real strength is when they work with their partner. I still wouldn’t put them in the feminist icons category, but they have their own charm.

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Post by holsam_87 » 16 Jun 2018, 02:31

bookowlie wrote:
04 Jun 2018, 10:36
It's hard to say whether I would call Sophia or Fioretta strong women since their characters weren't too fleshed out in the story. Still, you bring up good points why each woman might be considered a strong woman at the time. Although Angela stood up to her boss, I think she was a bit helpless during the story and was protected by Alex. Her constant blackouts made her seem less in control.
That's true, but I think that Fioretta and Sophia were portrayed as being strong women. Angela could have been better portrayed, with better instances for her strength.
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Post by Jgideon » 17 Jun 2018, 00:05

I believe that they all demonstrated a lot of courage in the story. For instance, Angela is ready to defend her dignity even if it meant getting fired by her boss. I would consider them strong women.

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