An Analysis of John from The Painted Door
John, a character of Sinclair Ross’ short story, The Painted Door, is a very admirable character. A struggling farmer, he resides in a small farmhouse alongside his wife of seven years, Ann. During a raging snowstorm, John ventures to his father’s house to assist him. This leaves Ann alienated in the farmhouse. John arranges for his friend Steven to visit Ann and accompany her during her isolated hours. While he is visiting, Steven seduces Ann, and they ultimately sleep together. After discovering this, John commits suicide by freezing to death in the roaring blizzard outside the farmhouse. A hardworking labourer, John is a diligent, considerate and unappreciated character. Firstly, John displays that he is diligent. He works independently at his farm, having “never hired a man to help him” (Ross, 3). By working unaccompanied, John does not have to pay another man for his assistance. He uses this saved money to purchase new clothes for Ann, and pay off the mortgage of the farm. Due to his independence, John's work is extremely grueling. Ross tells the readers, “[he] should slave away for fifteen hours a day” (3). John begins his agricultural labour at half past four, and [it] lasted till ten at night” (3). This constant work leaves John fatigued, resulting in his muscles aching and his feet dragging. Each day John drives the horses through the field, and tends to the farm. However, despite the colossal amount of labour John performs, he is very satisfied with his occupation. Noticing how strenuous John’s work is, Ann suggests, “You’re doing too much. Get a man to help you, just for a month.” (3). Considering Ann’s proposal, John, proud and content with his work, replies “I don’t mind. Look at the hands on me. They’re made for work.” (3). Even throughout the winter months, when no work is to be done, John is still searching for work. He awakens at five to tend the fire, while his true desire is to visit the stable....
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