Last night as our book discussion group grappled with the themes of Joseph O'Neill's novel Netherland we were impressed by his use of colors throughout the book. This was one of the ways that he effectively made New York City an important character. I was reminded of this upon reading the following sonnet by Shakespeare where he also makes amazing use of color.
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
- William Shakespeare