This is the front cover of the sesquicentennial edition of the Vassar Quarterly, the alumnae/i magazine. (Yes I went there, hence deferring to the publication’s inclusive and always consistent use of alumnae/i to recognize and celebrate its heritage as a women’s college.)
Back to the assignment.
On first glance, the cover seems to be a reproduction of a famous painting of Matthew Vassar, the school’s founder, titled, most aptly, “Matthew Vassar, 1861.” I remember looking at that painting–writing about it, even–during my four years there.
But look again. That’s not Matthew Vassar at all, but actress Meryl Streep, class of 1971. According to the Quarterly, she was photographed by Brigitte Lacombe. I love this cover–how clever, how brilliantly executed, and how Vassar. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate 150 years than this issue, which is full of historical reflections, photographs and what the future will bring to campus.
Here’s the assignment. Take a close look at your protagonist. How do the other characters judge his or her appearance? What do they assume about your character based on looks? What do they miss on first glance?
Please feel free to leave your responses and thoughts in the comments. Or if you respond to the prompt on your blog, post a link to your insights. Happy writing!