The Miniaturist Short Essay - Answer Key

Jessie Burton
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1. What is Nella's marital status when she first arrives at the Brandt home?

Nella is already married to Johannes when she arrives at the Brandt home. They had been married in a small ceremony the previous month, a wedding attended by many people from Nella's family, but no one from Johannes's family. At the start of the novel, she is coming to take up residence in her new marital home.

2. Describe Marin's character.

Marin is Johannes's sister and is therefore also a member of the Brandt household. However, her appearance is so severe and not in keeping with her bourgeois status, that upon first arriving at her new home, Nella mistakes Marin for a housekeeper. Marin is also described as frowning upon worldly pleasures such as sugar and other vices.

3. What are the circumstances of Nella's arrival at the Brandt house that are troubling to her?

Nella arrives at her new home as the lady of the Brandt household, but when she knocks, no one answers the door, even though Nella is sure that the time and day of her arrival have been carefully communicated to the Brandts. She also feels like someone is watching her and her suspicions are confirmed when she hears Marin in the dark hallway make a comment about her bird. Lastly, Nella's new husband Johannes is not even at home to greet her and Marin is decidedly unfriendly in her approach, not even introducing herself to Nella until an embarrassing situation (Nella asks Marin finally if she is the housekeeper) necessitates that she do so.

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