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Trompe l'Oeil Summary
Mary Jo Salter

Everything you need to understand or teach Trompe l'Oeil by Mary Jo Salter.

  • Trompe l'Oeil Summary & Study Guide

Trompe l'Oeil Summary


Mary Jo Salter's poem "Trompe l'Oeil," which provided the title for her 2003 collection Open Shutters, describes an artistic style found in Genoa, Italy, and throughout Europe: that of painting realistic murals on the outside walls of houses and buildings, so real that people passing by are fooled, at least briefly, into mistaking the painted images for the things they represent. Salter uses this particular style of painting to spark a meditation on the nature of reality and the arts in general, finding insincerity in both the fake shutters that stand beside a real window and the French word "oeil" itself, which can be considered deceptive or a lie because it presents a final "l" to the eye but not to the ear (it is not pronounced the way it is spelled if one assumes each letter stands for a specific sound).

This poem is representative of Salter's work as...

(read more from the Study Guide)

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