Themes in Lenses by Leah Silverman
Theme in Lenses Imagine for a moment a world where there are no feelings or warmth, no smiles or tears. A world where people are no longer people, but pieces of metal. We would only see this world as dead, not beautiful. Leah Silverman’s Lenses foreshadows this imaginary world as our future. The message that the way we are made, as unique individuals, is the most beautiful is conveyed through the main character Corinne’s thoughts, emotions and viewpoint. The author uses Corinne’s thoughts to support the message.
An example of this can be found on page 2 where Corinne thought “but her new eyes will not be brown, and they will not shine with her laughter”. Corinne believed that the grey mechanical eyes simply couldn’t compare to her friend Grusha’s real eyes that “hold you when you look into them”. Another example is the use of personifications in the story. Corrine described Grusha’s eyes as eyes that danced, flashed and shined; just as how she would describe living, breathing people.
This emphasizes how the eyes contribute to the individuality and beauty of a person, and the fact that nothing can replace them. Corinne’s thoughts led to her distressed emotions on the up-coming surgery to replace Grusha’s eyes. The reason for her distress reinforces the message because the source of that distress does not come form the fear of an unsuccessful surgery, but the idea that her friend will no longer possess real eyes. Corinne loved Grusha’s brown eyes that told a story.
She felt that it would be easier to “carve her own heart out of her chest” than to replace Grusha’s eyes. She also felt extremely guilty about taking ways Grusha’s eyes because she believed that by taking away those eyes, she would also take away a part of Grusha that made her unique: a part of Grusha’s soul. Although Grusha was the one that would ultimately lose her eyes, the author chose to write the story not in her perspective but in her friend Corinne’s.
This is another way the author used to express and emphasize the message. Due to the fact that Grusha needed well-functioning eyes for her profession and her sight, she does not have much of a choice. She may not have wanted to replace her eyes, but there wasn’t any room for compromises. By writing the story in Corinne’s point of view, the author is able to introduce a truer feeling of sadness and loss. Another reason is the fact that people tend to overlook certain details about themselves, such as the feelings their eyes convey.
By using Corinne’s voice, the author emphasizes the aliveness of Grusha’s eyes. A world made of pieces of metal is only filled with emptiness and loneliness. There is no hatred and sadness, but there is no happiness and love either. It may be a perfect world in people’s eyes, but it will never truly be beautiful. By creatively using the main character’s thoughts, emotions and viewpoint, Leah Silverman clearly conveys the message that nothing is more beautiful than the way we are made as unique individuals.