Analysis of a Key Passage
The Lamp at Noon by Sinclair Ross
In The Lamp at Noon by Sinclair Ross, the author suggests that the desperate act of protecting a belief can bring others to their limit. In the excerpt, Paul and Ellen are arguing over whether they should move back into town or stay working as farmers. Paul does not understand the desperation in Ellen, and Ellen does not understand why Paul would want to stay there.
At the beginning of the excerpt, Paul is shouting at Ellen, telling her how he does not want to work for her father, how he can’t go “living off your people-charity” which causes Ellen to explode on him. Paul’s idea of being a farmer is rooted within him, and his pride, as we can see, gets the best of him. He is desperate to keep his dream of working as a farmer alive, and yet, he cannot avoid the fact that he needs help, because the word “charity” shows that he understands it is help, but he is not willing to accept it. In Paul’s opinion, living in a town is considered to be the same thing as living in a different country; the way he states “your people” rather than “your parents” shows that he does not feel like he belongs in the same group as his wife or in-laws. When Paul says “charity”, Ellen goes off, and describes how “borrowed money you can’t even pay interest on, seed from the government, grocery bills, doctor bills” counts as charity as well, how he “calls it independence!” though he is getting immense amounts of help. Her retort shows that she is sick of borrowing from people she doesn’t know, that she does not want to live a life of borrowing and lack of independence. But Paul is persistent in his dream of becoming a good farmer where “the land will come back” and “we’ll have crops again”. Paul’s strong belief of being a good farmer in a dead land is extremely evident, because we can see that he is always defending his dream of having a good farm with many crops, while ignoring common sense and his wife’s reasoning. Ellen...
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