“The Lamp at Noon” by Sinclair Ross
Stuck in dust
When one thinks of being caged, he or she may think of a bird being put in a cage so it can’t fly away. Or a person may think of a criminal caged by their jail cell bars, enclosing them off from society. However, in the short story, The Lamp at Noon, written by Sinclair Ross, a clear tone of desperation is shown through symbolism, confirming the harsh effects that the 1930’s dust bowl had on a family but specifically on a character named Ellen. Ross displays how the character Ellen is feeling very stuck in where she is living and also feeling trapped in a life she no longer wants to live in. Ellen is also feeling entrapped by her husband Paul in a way too, he traps her by moving to this place with constant dust storms and land that cannot be farmed, yet he refuses to give up and move back to the city, which infuriates Ellen. The author uses a lot of symbolism and foreshadowing to depict her being caged and later on her attempt at an escape. Ross uses dust as a symbol of sadness and depression. “There was dust everywhere. Her own throat parched with it.” Ellen is suffocating in sadness and is in a deep depression. She was depressed standing all day, feeling caged inside the house. “I told you this morning, Ellen; we keep on right where we are. At least I do. It’s yourself you’re thinking about, not the baby.” I think the author is foreshadowing the ending of the story, how Ellen ends up running away which causes her baby’s death. Her escape was brass a senseless and just shows how trapped she really felt. “I’m afraid, Paul. I can’t stand it any longer. He cries all the time” in this quote, she even uses her baby as an excuse to leave while arguing with Paul. Ellen staring out the window all day just shows her longing to leave. Furthermore, Ross uses this window in the house and even the door as a symbol for being caged, because she is looking outside but is unable to liberate and leave the house due to the...
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