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Character Analysis Of Sinclair Ross' "The Painted Door"

730 words - 3 pages

Sinclair Ross' short story The Painted Door takes place on an isolated farm during the Great Depression, whose closest neighbor, Steven, is two miles away. The isolation is even intensified in this story due to the horrible snow storm. Ann's husband John braves the weather to visit his father, leaving her all alone, but on his way he stops by to tell Steven to go play cards with his wife. In situations where people are experiencing strong emotions such as fear, desperation, or, as in the case of this story, extreme loneliness, it tends to bring out their true characters. We can see this by analyzing the traits of John, Steven and Ann.John, "a slow, unambitious man, content with his farm and cattle"(48), is completely devoted to doing what he thinks is going to make his wife happy, when what she really just wants is his company. He goes through his farm work, without any hired help whatsoever, in hopes that one day he can provide Ann with nice things. His devotion, mixed with simple-minded bravery, is why he had trudged on through winter storms twice a week to see Ann before they were even wed. Those treacherous icy conditions are why it's truly evident how caring a man he is.His devotion to trying to make Ann happy goes even beyond braving the weather: He catches Steven in bed wither her, but silently leaves, letting her be with him if that's what she wants.John is slow and kind, but Steven is quite the opposite. He is not a cruel man, but definitely has cruel intentions from the first moment he steps into Ann and John's house. From the very beginning he is continually assuring her that it's "too rough a night, even for John"(60); that he would more than likely stay the night at his father's instead of going out in that weather. He senses Ann's weakness and loneliness when he arrives, finding that she has tried, and failed, to do the evening chores in that freezing temperature.It's almost as if Steven knows the entire time how this is going to play out, for he says, perhaps with a...

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