Monologue from a painting…

Published on: Author: Ms. Allesandrine 7 Comments
"Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper, 1942
“Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper, 1942
"Snap the Whip" by Winslow Homer, 1872
“Snap the Whip” by Winslow Homer, 1872

"Piano Lesson" by Romare Bearden, 1983
“Piano Lesson” by Romare Bearden, 1983

Above are three famous paintings.  Select one of the individuals in one of the paintings.  Adopt the persona of that individual and write a monologue from your new point of view.  Challenge yourself to write at least 300 words!
Here are some questions to consider:
What are you hoping will happen in the next few minutes or hours?
*Are you getting along with the other people/person in the scene?
*How often are you in this same setting?
*What can you see outside the boundaries of the frame?
*Do you like being in this painting?



7 Responses to Monologue from a painting… Comments (RSS) Comments (RSS)

  1. In this piece, I am writing from the perspective of the man sitting by his lonesome in “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper:

    I come to this diner every night to just be by myself and avoid going home. At least it’s the server’s job to care about my feelings and doesn’t insist on ignoring my existence like everyone else. That’s why I’m here, just to escape it all. The worst part of my day is when I first get out of bed in the morning and come to the realization that all day long I am going to have to watch people walking around with their bright smiles and happy personas, in their own carefree worlds filled with joy, and I am alone. The more happiness surrounds me, the deeper I sink into depression. Being stuck in a dead end job with no family to call my own is hard enough, but it seems that no matter how hard I try, no one will accept me for who I am. Just because I might be construed as different does not mean that I am not a human, and all humans need some sort of love and affection to remind them that life is worth living. I am alone, but it wouldn’t be this way if people weren’t so ignorant. People say that our only goal in life is to feel needed by someone, like a child needing their parents to take care of them and vice versa as the years go by, but I have never experienced this luxury. All my life, I have mattered to no one but myself and I can’t say that I have ever met anyone else who truly knows what that feels like. Now as I watch this couple in here looking just as miserable as I, I realize I’m not the only person with problems; the only difference between our situations is that I don’t have anyone to share my sorrows with. I am alone. If only I had someone to tell my troubles to, one that will listen to what I have to say, and try to help me make the pain go away. Instead, I sit here, pining for what never was and what I know never will be. Now I get to throw myself a pity party for one, but at least no one else will have to know; I am alone.

  2. I am writing from the perspective of the waiter behind the bar in “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper.

    I’ve been serving all day and I’m so incredibly tired. An hour ‘til close- I hope no one else comes in. “Fat chance,” I think. It’s Friday night, everyone in the city is out having fun tonight, except me. The bell just rang. That damn bell that rings every time a new customer opens the door, walks in, and sits at the bar, waiting to be served. It’s a tired looking man wearing a worn out suit and hat. He sits down and opens the paper. I can tell he can barely keep his eyes open. “I hope he doesn’t try to talk to me,” I think, “I can’t deal with any sob stories right now.” Then I hear another ring. This time, good looking couple walks in, laughing. She’s wearing red lipstick and a beautiful red dress. He’s tall, his suit is clean, and fits him perfectly. They lean over the bar and the handsome young man makes a sound at the back of his throat and I look up. My eyes meet the pathetic looking man on the other side of the bar. He stares back at me expectedly. Both the couple and the man want to order at the same time, and it’s up to me to choose which party I want to serve first. If I chose to serve the lonely man, would I make his day better? If I chose to serve the fancy couple, would they give me a huge tip and make working a long and stressful night worth it? Either decision would be ideal, but I am not a selfish man. Money is a great thing, but so is knowing that one of my deeds can turn someone’s day around. “Sir, can I offer you something to drink,” I ask. The man across the bar smiles and orders a coca-cola with ice.

  3. I am writing from the perspective of one of the kids in “Snap the Whip” by Winslow Homer.

    Staring out the window, I realize I will never be part of their group. They all grew up together, whereas I just moved in across the street. I always see them outside playing in my yard. However, I am never invited to play in their games. I feel like I’m not wanted by any of them. I sit inside all day, subtly sticking my head out the window every few seconds, hoping they will see me and invite me out. However, it never seems to work, they are always too busy focusing on their games. I wish I had the courage to walk out there and ask them if I can join. Then, I get nervous and never confront them. They wouldn’t want me out there anyways. I am just a child and they are grown up. Why would they want to someone younger bothering them?

    As I sit there thinking, I realize that I am wasting a perfectly good day doing nothing except be bored. So I pick myself up out of the chair and walk out into the fresh air. The sun was blazing, and the air was dry and humid. I walk over to the trees and just stand looking into the woods. After about 10 minutes, I decide to go for a walk.

    As I come back from my walk from up and down the hills in the back of my house, the boys are still playing outside. They see me walk to the door of my house and call me over. As I walk they all yelled, “Would you like to play with us?” I felt a huge smile appear on my face and suddenly ran over to play with them. One of the boys said “We were waiting for you to come out so we could play with you.”

    We played until the sun set and we couldn’t see each other anymore because we had disappeared into the black of the night.

  4. I am writing from the perspective of the man sitting by himself in Edward Hopper’s, “Nighthawks”.

    “I guess I’ll have another drink” I tell the waiter sadly. I’m sitting at the small restaurant downtown; it’s past eleven now, almost closing time. I’ve been coming here almost every night lately. Ever since my wife, Carlee, died three months ago I don’t know what to do with myself. I loved her so much; she meant the world to me. Just thinking about her brings me to the verge of tears. So I’ve been coming here a lot, I mean, what else can I do? I’ve had enough of sitting home alone being miserable and crying all of the time. Not that I have much company here, unless you count the waiter. He talks to me occasionally, he’s walking towards me with my drink in his hand now. “Excuse me, Sir, are you okay? You look like you’re having a rough night.” At this moment, I feel like breaking down, telling him everything about my wife and how lonely I’ve been. But he just turns around, there’s a couple walking through the door.

    From here, I can tell that they’re both dressed very sharply, they must be coming from some sort of show. As they come closer, I realize how much this woman looks like Carlee. Same fire truck red hair and everything, if I didn’t know that my wife was dead, I’d think that I’m looking at her. Here come the tears. No, I think to myself, be a man…don’t cry in public. I take a swig of my drink in an effort to fight back my tears, and continue to stare at her.

    I flashback to the night of my wife’s death. We had gotten into a huge fight that night over something stupid and she stormed out of the house sobbing. It was raining hard that night, who knows where she was planning on going. Next thing I know, the cops are at my door saying words I never thought I’d hear. “Your wife is dead. A drunk driver crashed into her head on. I’m so sorry.” All I can think about is how it’s my fault. Although everyone assures me that it isn’t, I know in my heart that I caused it. If we hadn’t been fighting, she would have never left. If she never left, there would have never been an accident and she’d still be with me.

    I snap back into reality when I hear the voice of the man, “Excuse me, Sir, are you okay? Why don’t you come sit with us?” I throw some money down on the counter, get up, and walk out of the restaurant.

  5. From the perspective of the student in “Piano Lesson” by Romare Bearden.
    The last thing that I want to be doing right now is this. Every day I am dragged off to these piano lessons at the demand of my mother. It is her wish that one day I will use my skills in the arts to become rich and famous. However this is not the lifestyle that I envision myself living. I would rather make a modest living doing something that I love. One should have the power to control their own destiny, not have it played out by someone else. Each day my mother tells me what a great composer I will be and that I play even better than she did when she was my age. I do not dare defy her though because I fear that she will reject me if I stop playing the piano. She is forcing her past upon me. She was nowhere near a successful as she wanted to be, but she will not live out her dream in my life. Since birth I have been sitting at the stool in front of this piano. At first I enjoyed it, and then I found it boring, now I loathe it. I’m not sure what I want to do with my life but I know it’s not this because too much of a good thing is bad. After a few more songs I will no longer be tied up with my mother’s wishes. I will explore the world and find something I am truly interested in until the next afternoon when my lesson starts again. Hopefully I can find something that interests me and I won’t mind doing the rest of my life.

  6. I am writing from the perspective of the student in “Piano Lesson” by Romare Bearden.
    Maryann looks down on me as I make another mistake on my piano. The daggers she sends me almost make me want to snap the piano shut and stop, but I can’t, not for my parent’s sake, or for Maryann’s. I’ve been playing this piano since I was 7 and now I’m almost 17. I can’t stand this piano or the looks my instructor gives me. I don’t care. I don’t care that I’m not good at the piano or that I haven’t tried to remember anything I’ve played for the last year. All it does is build up the tension between Maryann and I. Every week she tells me, “Jocelyn, why don’t you try hard enough? You’re not good enough for this or anything!” I’ve heard it so many times that I believe it. But at the same time, I want to prove her wrong. I AM good enough. Maybe not for piano but I can be good enough for something. She’s wrong and I’m biting back my tongue to wait for the perfect moment to retaliate. She’s wrong because the one thing I can do is sew. I can make clothes like no one else can. I’ve become so obsessed in proving Maryann and everyone else wrong that it’s all I think about. Every spare moment I have is spent drawing, planning, and making spectacular pieces of clothing. I haven’t slept in weeks it’s all that consumes me. And one day when I finally succeed in life, I can turn right back around to Maryann and say “I showed you.” I don’t need this piano or the razor blade sharp, cold looks that make me beat down on myself. One day I will snap this piano shut and I will walk away with my head held high knowing that I have something to look forward to and that it’s something that won’t tell me I’m not good enough. Most importantly, it won’t have anything to do with a piano.

  7. I am writing from the perspective of the person in the window across the street in Edward Hopper’s painting, “Nighthawks”.
    ‘Oh, that stupid bar is still open!’ Why does this neighborhood have to be so run down? All of the lowlifes and scum that come slinking up to the bar at all hours of the night, and day! They desecrate the peaceful atmosphere on the streets, scare away all of my business, are loud, rowdy, and criminals. I don’t know why Mick lets them in every night. He used to run a respectful shop, with the society types strolling in right after dinner and after the parties. I remember those days; the joyful noise of merry-making and good times rolling up and down the streets, brand new Chryslers, Chevrolets and Cadillacs parked in front of the diner, the bar, the theater and of course my shop. Then the shooting happened, and it all went to south. Gone went the ladies in fur with the men in tuxedoes. Down came the theater, after the fire raced through it two years ago. Now all that’s here is the abandoned lot, home to under the table trades and meetings at midnight; that and my store along with Mick’s place make up the main attractions of the street. I can see why Mick’s had to cater to the delinquents, but I still refuse to be corrupted. I don’t want people ruining my reputation. I can see the lone man sitting down there, nursing – what, his fifth?- drink, staring at the floor. He probably won’t even make it to the sidewalk before blacking out. At least the other couple actually looks like they are nice people, just in the wrong part of town. Mick better make sure they get away safe, because I can see from up here the diamonds around her neck. Ah, memories of the old days. Why can’t we just go back to that?

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