A Shift in Perspective
Imagine your bedroom. A room you’re familiar with, a room which filled with you-ness, just the way you like it. Now imagine you walk into your room, but instead of viewing your room through your eyes, you suddenly are looking at it from the point of view of an ant. Same room, yet at the same time, completely different. Nothing about the room has changed, only your perspective of the room.
To me this is what it feel like to read Klein’s novel, Ophelia. Diving back into 17th century Denmark felt good, but the world which I stepped back into seemed so different. Same place, yet at the same time, completely different. There were points in the novel where my mind would leap up in outrage thinking “That’s not what happened!” or “you can’t do that!” Prior knowledge of the storyline killed my experience reading the novel. My mind already had set in stone what was supposed to happen and looking at things from a new angle was made the story alien. It deviated from my thoughts and expectations. The shift in perspective the novel provided, however, made me realize how little we actually know about Ophelia in the play. We know almost nothing about her upbringing, her mannerisms, what she likes, what she dislikes. I guess that was Klein’s point. She really highlights the strength of women and she also made me realize how every character within a novel, no matter how small a role he/she plays, has a backstory of their own.