Girl with a Pearl Earring: Griet [ISFP 9w1]

Function Order: Fi-Se-Ni-Fe

Griet and Vermeer understand each other almost from the first moment they meet, in their similar love and grasp of colors and the nuances of what improves an artistic creation. She thinks differently from his wife and mother-in-law, in that she asks permission to clean the windows in his studio, remarking that it might change the light (and therefore, hurt his works in progress). She develops a quiet, unspoken passion for him that becomes sensual in her mind, as they spend more time together, working in silence side by side—mixing his colors, and while he paints her and positions her to be his perfect subject. Griet becomes so overwhelmed by this erotic moment, she rushes out to sleep with the butcher’s boy as a way to release her tension. She is focused in the moment, busy doing her chores, and paying attentive detailed depth to the world around her—she knows to move a chair out of where he is painting, because it will make the space less cluttered in his finished product (when he asks her what made her do it, she says ‘she looked trapped’ by it), she sees the different colors in the clouds when she truly looks (and enjoys looking later), and she first rearranges the dinner vegetables in her own home in colors to make a more attractive place serving. She also shows a stubborn refusal to compromise her honor, when she refuses to take her hair down in front of him (she says she cannot do it, and then “I won’t do it”) and is offended when others assume she is going to have an affair with the man of the house. That isn’t who she is. Griet makes a momentary miscalculation, when she slaps one of Vermeer’s bratty daughters—the girl has punished her for making them laugh and earning her father’s disapproval by wiping mud on her newly cleaned sheets. She retaliates from the blow by braking Griet’s prized painted tile, which her father gave her when she left home.

Enneagram: 9w1 so/sx

Griet does not want to provoke displeasure in her mistress or arouse any kind of conflict, so she keeps her head down, is obedient, permissive, and submissive to those around her—except when various men attempt to take liberties with her, then she is angered and outraged and refuses to compromise herself, because she wants to be good. She does not intend to have an affair with Vermeer and resists her own attraction to him, though it makes her happy to spend time with him. She doesn’t want to pierce her ear for the portrait, especially because he wants her to wear his wife’s prized pearl earrings—her main objection is that she will find out, be hurt, and cause strife. Griet cows away from anger and tries to minimize her presence as much as possible; it makes her tremble to change something in the master’s studio, even though she thinks it will improve his portrait, for fear of earning his displeasure. She occasionally lets out her anger in a rush that soon cools – she slaps his daughter for her bad behavior, but then makes no fuss about discovering the child went through her things, threw most of them on the floor, and broke her most prized possession. Griet refuses to be inappropriate according to the social standards of the time—she knows only loose women of the lower class show their hair, so she keeps it bound even when sitting for a portrait.