There are a lot of eye-popping colors in Ghost World, but the three most consistent elements of what I think of as the Enid Palette are vivid primaries: red, blue, and green.
A very specific and bilious shade of green emerges early in Enid’s wardrobe. This poisonous-snake shade appears in her clothing, which complements the strong primaries in which Enid usually dresses, as well as her black bob and dark glasses with her fair skin and blue eyes.
In the above shot, both girls wear green, but the colors and their function are totally different. Rebecca’s simple, anonymous knit shirt is kind of leaf-green and yellow, characteristic of the dusky rose, natural understatement in the palette associated with her character — in contrast, Enid’s plaid schoolgirl skirt is deliberately shockingly green, an unflattering color in a style that is a send-up of conformity.
As a symbolic or character-establishing color, it’s pretty elementary to suppose that Enid favors this green because she, herself, has some wide streaks of biliousness and poisonous-snaky snark.
Enid: Hello there, young employee of the Sidewinder.
Josh: I already told you I’m not going to give you a ride.
Enid: What can you tell me, young man, about the various flavors of “frozen yogurt”?
Josh: Look, I’ll be done in a minute. Just wait outside.
Boss: JOSH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?
Josh: (sighs) The flavors we’re featuring this week, in addition to old favorites chocolate and vanilla, are Six-Gun Strawberry, Wild Cherry Round-up, and Ten Gallon Tangerine.
Enid: Hmm. I don’t believe I care for any of those.
Over the course of the film, as Enid begins more deeply probing who she “is” and what that will mean for the rest of her life, the green starts to migrate. It appears on her lips; she wears green lipstick— I think not coincidentally — while she and Rebecca are deliberately lying to Seymour, leading him on to think Enid cares about his blues .78′s so they can laugh at his expense later. When she is inspired by old punk music and seeking to try new identities, the green moves to her hair.
Rebecca: (disdainful) When did you do that?
Enid: What? How long have you been standing there?
Rebecca: Did you have to buy new hair dye or did you still have some left over from eighth grade?
Enid: Fuck you, bitch!
Enid: Hi… what’s your name?
Man: (looks at watchless wrist, then down the street) Norman.
Enid:…Are you waiting for a bus?
Enid: I hate to tell you this, but they cancelled this bus line two years ago. There are no buses on this street.
Man: You don’t know what you’re talking about.
The green hair and the identity with which Enid associates it has surprising side effects: for one thing, it makes her ballsier. She is able to admit she wants to see Josh, even though he isn’t home. She finally brings to an end (shown two caps above) Rebecca and her long-standing speculation about the man who waits for the bus. And she gets mouthier than normal (partly due to defensiveness) with people she usually settles for being subtly rude to.
(Inside Zine-O-Phobia Bookshop)
Creep 1: I’m telling you, you’re wrong — carpet beetles are the only way to get the flesh off a corpse… Boiling is strictly for amateurs!
Enid: Don’t you creeps ever talk about anything nice?? Don’t you ever talk about … fluffy kittens or the Easter Bunny?
Creep 1: Look who’s talking — Little Miss Badass.
Creep 2: Yeah, nice outfit. Who are you supposed to be, Cyndi Lauper?
Enid: Blow me, doofus!
John Ellis: Oh. Didn’t they tell you?
Enid: Tell me what?
John Ellis: Punk rock is over.
Enid: I know it’s over, asshole, I —
John Ellis: Yeah, if you really want to “fuck up the system,” you should go to business school. That’s what I’m gonna do. Get a job at some big corporation and fuck things up from the inside!
You can see the wheels turning for Enid during this exchange and she is reasoning through her attempt to adapt a punk identity; she doesn’t like all the flak she’s getting for it and she doesn’t want people to think she’s a blindly-anarchic bomb-tosser, either. (I think Enid is mainly far too socially scarred, which manifests itself as smug mistrust and smirking aloofness, by other people to “join” any kind of revolution, ever.)
Enid: That’s not even …
John Ellis: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do you have my money?
(She wads up a twenty-dollar bill and throws it at him.)
John Ellis: Ooh, how “punk”.
Enid: That tape sucked, by the way.
Enid: It’s not like I’m some modern Punk dickhead… It’s obviously supposed to be a 1977 Punk look, but I guess Johnny Fuckface is too stupid to get it!
Rebecca: I didn’t get it either.
Enid: Everybody’s too stupid!
She dyes her hair back to black and continues trying to express herself (still having yet to realize in the bildungsroman tradition that she must find herself first, and expression will follow much more easily) through wardrobe, smart mouth, and hasty decisions.
That was fun. Maybe I’ll do red or blue later.
All the screencaps for Ghost World Half-Day will come from a combination of sources: heartstopper, augustusgloop, and vodiak on the LJ; Movie Screenshots on the blogger; various imdb caps and old, unsourced still shots. Also I might scan some pictures from the graphic novel since I am right now looking at the spine of it in a pile of books on my desk.