“The winter sunlight, gleaming full upon her face from a side window, lit up the azure in those beautiful eyes, till their colour seemed to flicker and tremble betwixt blue and green, as the opal tints of the sea change upon a summer’s day. The small brush fell from her hand, and blotted out the peasant’s face under a widening circle of a crimson lake” (Braddon 121)
Throughout the novel there has been a conflict or a binary between what is real and what is a merely a facade. This conflict can be seen by the reader in this passage. I was interested in this passage because of the way Lucy visibly reacts to Robert. Here, the image of Lucy’s eyes changing color implies that there is some part of her that is not real, and that she is uncomfortable by Robert. Lucy’s blue eyes are a part of the image of herself that she has created and chooses to show to the world, but when Robert starts to question her and what happened to George; Lucy’s eyes flash a green color thus revealing that a part of her that she keeps hidden is starting to reveal itself. A large part of Lucy’s power comes from her image. Everyone thinks she is a sweet, beautiful, innocent woman, and she needs people to have that idea of her in order for her to maintain her power and position. If Lucy is found out to be Helen, then she will loose her place as Lady Audley and likely be persecuted. Thus Lucy takes advantage of female stereotypes to get what she wants, and to help her achieve her goal.
In this passage, Braddon also describes Lucy painting a “beautiful Italian peasant, in an impossibly Turneresque atmosphere” (Braddon 121). However after Robert accuses Lucy she messes up her painting. Lucy painting mirrors how she subtly manipulates the situations to benefit her and her needs. However, Lucy is so shocked by Robert’s accusation that she messes up her painting thus revealing that the scene she has set up is beginning to fall apart.