Exploring the doppelganger in The Girl In The Mirror

Read more about how Rose Carlyle infuses classic gothic details in a fresh take of old evil twins on her novel The Girl in the Mirror. – Inkish Kingdoms

Avid readers are usually known as bookworms, but we tend to use book dragons – to make ourselves feel better – however, we all know that we are just huge nerds. I say that as a compliment because I am a huge nerd.

During my master’s and an Oxford Course, I discover that I do believe that you can be self-taught and still make out in the world. I have been studying Gothic literature because I love studying and the theory behind this genre; therefore when I picked The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle, I saw one of the many elements of Gothic Literature: the doppelgänger. 

Many stories narrate the horrors of having a double, a being that looks just like us, or our evil twin. The doppelgänger, for the German Romantics, carries with it an ominous feeling of tragedy and fatality. This double that we see outside of the mirror is our enemy who lures to fight, and the old stories believed that seeing your living double was a presage of death.

By defining the term mirror twins, Rose starts the book foreshadowing many of the events that will take place on the pages of this contemporary thriller. Mirror twins describe the identical twin pairing that matches as if they were looking into the mirror; in other words, having a mirror twin is as if your reflection from the mirror was alive. When we look into the mirror, there is a disassociation of the self but, more importantly, we see our contrary, so imagine looking at your twin and seen your contrary self.

Rose assembles in perfect harmony the horrors of the Germanic doppelgänger and the weirdness of mirror twins. The Girl in the Mirror narrates the story of Summer and Iris, who are unexpected twins. Summer has always been the pretty one, the charismatic, the one favorite, whereas Iris always lived in her sister’s shadow. Summer has the perfect life, the perfect husband, and, after their father died, she also has what Iris has always dreamed of: their family boat. Iris wishes to go back to the sea and cling to her childhood moments. So, when Summer invites her to sail together, only one of them comes back. Summer is dead, and this seems to be Iris’s opportunity to have everything she ever wanted.

The final encounter between the living-mirror-reflections brings the characters to chaos, disruption, and questions the psychological stability of the survivor. As seen in Will Wilson by Poe, Summer’s life seems to Iris. In the final scene of Poe’s story, Will Wilson kills his double, and, after stabbing him, a mirror appears in front of him. This event alludes to the insanity of the character and questions if Will Wilson only saw his double in front of an actual mirror. Likewise, in The Girl in the Mirror, the image of the dead sister haunts the surviving sibling because she was the living mirror reflection, so every time she sees herself in the mirror, she sees her sister and not herself.

The relation between the mirror, the twins, and the thematic of the double seems extraordinarily well planned by the author to be a mare confidence. Typical of a thriller, Rose Carlyle tells an impossible story with twists and turns impossible to decipher, implying that summertime stories are not always a vacation.

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