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In this scene, a young soldier of that corps is departing his beloved. He holds onto his cap with one hand and with the other is pulling open the door. She tries to stop him from leaving, pressing her hand to his chest while grabbing the doorknob to push it closed.
There's one key question that will help you understand the full complexity of the conflict in this scene. Whose home is this? His, hers, or theirs?
(Hint: Look closely at the image on the wall and at the dog. Knowing who is depicted in that image is key to understanding the conflict.)
An insightful comparison can be made with another Millais painting called The Huguenot Lover (and featured in Touching The Art!).
How are these two departure scenes different?