Isolation can lead to feelings of fear and loneliness and ultimately drive a person to make a poor choice that they may regret due to all the pressure that has influenced them. Some people have a desire for human contact and when it is not present, they are unable to cope with it in a healthy manner, causing them to be angry or frustrated. In the short story The painted door by Sinclair Ross, the author portrays the ideas of how isolation can affect an individual’s loyalty.
The protagonist, Ann, is baffled with her inner thoughts and feelings that lead her to make a decision she regrets later on. Anns need for human contact is foreshadowed through different events throughout the story, leading up to the choices she makes.
Many people experience the feeling of isolation for various reasons. In Sinclair Ross short story, Ann and her husband live on a farm that’s isolated from the rest of the world.
The fact that they live so far away from others can cause them to feel alone and fear being left alone but, they each show it in different ways. It is understood that Ann is afraid to be left alone when John tells her he must go visit his father. Ann feels as though John does not spend enough time with her, and should ask someone to help him in order to make things easier for him. Youre doing too much. Get a man to help you – just for a month.
Ann believes that if someone helps him, he will have more time for her. Initially, Ann didnt want John to leave to see his father, she worries that something might happen while he is away but when he tells her that it will all be alright she gets mad. Throughout this incident a storm is present in the background and foreshadows that as the storm gets worse, so will Anns thoughts and feelings towards John. The idea of John leaving angers Ann and when he leaves, the storm worsens just like her feelings. Pay no attention to me. Seven years a farmers wife – its time I was used to staying alone Ann is angry because she does not like the idea of being alone and wants her husband to spoil her with his time and affection rather than gifts. The story begins to show how Ann treats John as if he is not a good enough husband. Ann is hoping for a better life with her husband, but does not realize the actions she makes when she is influenced by her loneliness will change her life in an unfortunate way.
Although Ann is angry at John he still offers to invite a friend over so that she isnt alone during the storm. The need for human contact and affection can make an individual act out in damaging ways in order to fulfill that need. Ann begins to compare John to Steven implying that Steven is better maintained than John. Hell be shaved, though – thats what I mean – and Id like you too to spend a little time on yourself Ann is already beginning to imagine a life with Steven, leaving her with confused feelings about him. These thoughts also foreshadow that Ann is somewhat attracted to Steven as she compares his looks to Johns. The storm had unnerved her and suddenly at the assurance of his touch and voice the fear that had been gripping her gave away to a hysteria of relief. Ann is relieved to see Steven when he finds her in the storm and helps her return home. Ann is no longer lost in the storm which symbolizes that seeing Steven has calmed her dark thoughts. Steven goes out to the stable and when he returns, Ann is wearing a pretty dress and has her hair and make-up done. This foreshadows that she is expecting attention from him, Steven, as she is dressed to impress. They eat supper and play cards without John and as the night gets colder, Ann starts a fire that grows hotter. The fire foreshadows that although she is missing John, things with Steven begin to heat up as they flirt with one another. Ann and Steven end up sleeping together and Ann tries to justify her unfaithfulness. He saw the double wheel he knew. He shouldnt have left me here alone. Ann feels that John was aware of the dangers of the storm, yet he still went to check on his father. She is angry that he left her alone knowing that it was dangerous and blames her mistakes on John. After Steven and Ann sleep together, she dreams that John caught her cheating which foreshadows that John knows. Ann begins to regret her decision and realizes she truly loves John but what has been done cannot be undone.
Throughout the story, the storm is one of the major events that foreshadows that Ann will cheat n John. The storm separates them from the beginning and as the storm gets worse, so does their separation. Ann also speaks plans on painting the house but mentions that no amount of paint could cover up the cracks on the wall. This symbolizes that their marriage is already breaking and foreshadows that it will continue to break. This also that Ann will not be able to cover up her mistake just as paint will not cover up the cracks on the walls. After Ann has painted a bit, she grabs some bedsheets that end up getting paint on them which foreshadows that Ann and John’s marriage will no longer be clean and pure. Seeing that the paint is still wet, it can be assumed that perhaps something ele sould get paint on it. This assumption becomes true when Ann discovers her husband has died in the storm and white paint is seen on his hands showing that he knows Ann has betrayed him. …through the days and years to come, she would try to make amends. The guilt that Ann has now from the choice she made with Steven will forever leave her feeling more empty than ever and trying to find a way to make it up to her husband who she truly did love.
In conclusion, the feeling of isolation and fear of being alone can lead people to make inevitable and regrettable choices just as Ann did. Ann felt the need for someone to acknowledge her and her feelings because John did not and left her alone at a time when she needed him most. The foreshadowing used throughout the short story demonstrates that being alone was always going to lead Ann to make the wrong decision. Sinclair Ross’ perception of isolation revealed how it can truly affect individuals’ faithfulness and decisions when they are isolated.