Violet Evergarden, at least for the first half of the series, has settled into the structure of following one character other than Violet per episode. As we see get to know that character, we see Violet through her eyes, and as Violet has experiences with them, she comes closer and closer to understanding the meaning of love. The character of focus in episode four is Iris, the immature and quick-tempered doll, as she receives a special request to be a ghostwriter for an individual in her hometown.
After injuring her hand during a disagreement with Violet, Iris brings her to be the typist as she travels back to her rural village. Once there, Iris discovers that her mother sent the request under a pseudonym with the intention of throwing a party in which her daughter might find a husband. Iris is irate, but attends the party anyway. It ends disastrously when Emmon, her old love who rejected her once before, arrives, and she storms out embarrassed, angry, and crying.
There’s an irony to this episode: Iris and Violet are dolls, experts at communication, and yet Iris and her family are constantly miscommunicating, while Violet is only steadily learning what it means to understand people (she takes a few steps forward in this episode, including the subtle change of being able to admit she may be wrong because she didn’t read into the subtext of the situation). It’s easy to point out where the troubles lie with Iris and her family; it lies in the lack of authenticity of their communication. Iris has been exaggerating her popularity as a doll, which her family knows to be false, leading them to worry about her; meanwhile, Iris has never told them about Emmon, culminating in an emotional situation. Iris may not even have been authentic to herself, having run away from Emmon to become a doll and masking her county origins with fashion and makeup rather than facing her troubles and accepting how her past has made her who she is.
It’s easy for me to say that all this would be solved if Iris had been more true to herself and true to her family (and visa-versa as they both share the blame). And while that’s accurate, I have to admit that none of that is an easy task to do. I advised a young person yesterday who knew she needed to confront her best friend about an issue, but likely wouldn’t do it. It was just too hard. There was too much to lose—relationships, pride, and comfort. I feel similarly when deciding between keeping up a facade and digging deeper: is it worth the pain that’s coming?
In the series, its Violet, of all people, who offers a helpful suggestion. She remarks, “If you’re having trouble speaking from the heart, a letter can help you do it.”
Iris ends up requesting that Violet ghostwrite apology letters to all those who attended the party, and most importantly to her own parents. For once, she speaks from her heart, leading to understanding between Iris and her mother and healing their hurts.
If you’re having trouble speaking from the heart, a letter can help you do it.
There’s something miraculous about the written word. I know for me, I can pour forth so much more on paper (or Wordpress) than I can with my voice alone., and not just in terms of expressing myself thoughtfully, but also in terms of saying something really sincere. A notepad or a blog is almost a go-between, a mediator who is my confident, one I feel comfortable telling my sorrows to, and which then passes that conversation on to another (or to the world).
As Violet expresses also, “Not everyone puts their feelings into words”—but sometimes I need to, for others, for myself. Words have the power to express what’s in my heart, what hides in my innermost being, and they long to get out—if not by voice, then maybe even better, through pen and paper.
Featured image by by Cheese慷 (reprinted w/permission)