The Painted Door - Setting

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SETTING – The Painted Door JennExner

In the story, “The Painted Door,” Sinclair Ross creates a mood of bitter cold, extreme isolation and loneliness. For the environmental means, the story is set in winter and there is a large snowstorm coming. The isolation of the farmland is made abundantly clear when we learn the closest neighbouring farm is “five miles away.” The physical setting of the environment is important to a good story as it reflects the moods and emotions of the characters and it gives the reader a glimpse into how the characters are feeling. The environment of a story can also be used to bring out issues between the characters or as a technique for foreshadowing what is to come later in the story. The mental setting of Ann is that of the physical environment. She has turned cold and indifferent toward her husband John; her feelings are stormy because she longs for another man but struggles with the guilt of it all. Both of these physical and mental settings contribute to the climax and conclusion of the story. The repetition of Ann’s feelings of boredom, loneliness and indifference all contribute to the reader really understanding her emotional turmoil. Ross also uses the physical description of the storm to describe the feelings of Anne towards the two men. She is conflicted and is going back and forth between hot and cold for both John and Steven. This emotion is also made clear with the help of describing the fire in the stove going from hot to cold and back to hot again. Sinclair Ross does a great job at using the flames and heat of the fire to describe her unresolved feelings for not only her husband, but for Steven as well. A great deal of this story is spent describing Ann’s environment, both inside and outside of her home. The barrenness of the surroundings in which the characters live is probably the most vividly expressed theme of the entire story and gives clues to how it is possible for Anne to engage...
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