The Girl : IMAGE 35 : Brass Ring
I35, in which The Boy offers The Girl a brass ring as a mock wedding ring, anticipates I43, in which he presents her an engagement ring. Vertigo makes extensive use of repeating images and subtly altered couplets or homologous pairs to give an additional layer of coherence to Vertigo, joining together parts of the story, creating back stories, developing characters and adding social commentary. This technique demands that readers think about details or flip back to re-examine earlier pictures for clues they may have originally overlooked. A star, a rose, hands, trains, timepieces, bottles, the eagle, telephones, narrow lanes, a broken line, are among the images that accrue symbolic, even iconic importance through repetition and association.
A cliché for signifying worldly success, the brass ring helps to sound (delicately, not brazenly) the story’s romantic theme, as well as to relate worldly success and romance. Offering himself as a marriage partner, The Boy models his capability as a breadwinner.
The underlying solemnity of The Boy’s financial commitment to The Girl tells in his eventual decision to leave the city to find work (I45, I160-62), and in his refusal to impose himself upon her when he returns almost five years later without prospects (I188-I90). Vertigo contrasts The Boy’s determination to earn money, which drives the plot of the final section of Vertigo, with the unbridled greed of the board members of the Eagle Corporation of America (see 88-90). The Boy’s ambition is sanctioned by true love.
Notice, at the base of the block in I35, the engraved lines adding a partial outline. Combined with the serried radiant lines, jagged shading and delicate cross-hatching, they create an abstract pattern, an impression of the powerful and complex emotions of the moment. Note also in the area of The Boy's eye how Ward has used tint lines and gently lowered the block to give an impression of the ambient light as well as to suggest that light is being cast by the brass ring.