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The Painted Door

Literary Criticism
by

sufien tout

on 24 September 2014

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Transcript of The Painted Door

The Painted Door
Sufien Tout, Michael Hann, Geoff Winniski, Cameron Tooth
Literary Criticism Approaches
Psychological Approach
Psychic Zones
Ann has no real power and freedom is very limited, her opinion isn't really important
"pay no attention to me, seven years a farmer's wife-its time i was used to staying alone."
Stereotypical view that women can't work or hold any responsibility
"there's nothing to be afraid of now, though. I'm going to do the chores for you."
To Steven this affair didn't hold any significance while in Ann's mind it symbolized something more than John could offer
A form of freedom
Leaves the impression that a women need to be rescued by a man in order to find happiness
Sexual Imagery and Symbols
If you were in Ann's shoes how would you handle your id ? Would you allow it to drive your ? Explain
Was John's outcome the best choice ? and why do you think he chose it ?
What stereotypes of men and women do see present in the story ?
Does Ann's lack of power, freedom and attention justify her actions ?
Feminist Approach
A deeper meaning that is being conveyed in the story is how short lived desires can be
Ann was looking for freedom as well as a thrill
However, she regrets her decision and ends up in some sense killing the person she loved the most
Another idea that is visible throughout the story is the obscurity of freedom
Ann seeks freedom in the beginning of the story, however she doesn't seem to know what she wants
In the end she realized what she wanted but it was too late
The aspect of loyalty along with betrayal are illustrated by Ann and Steven
Loyalty only goes so far
When against temptation, loyalty doesn't stand a chance
Warmth seems to have a deeper underlying tone to it
When Ann thinks about Steven she puts more wood in the stove and this makes the house warmer
Steven found her at her "coldest" moment (going to do the chores in the storm) and slowly warmed her up
When John is found dead, frozen from the harsh storm, this symbolizes the end of Ann's temptation
Discussion Questions
What We Think
[ Sinclair Ross ]
Woodstove
Whenever Ann thinks of Steven she would get more fire in the stove creating more heat
Symbolizes her temptations and desires
Oval cleared in the window
Seen as a femal symbol
"slowly the clear place on the glass enlarged: oval, then round, then oval again"
"Across the drifts sped swift and snakelike little tongues of snow"
"Then ominously for a while the were only the angry little snakes of snow"
Represent sexual thoughts and repression
and phallic symbols
The story centers around a woman named Ann, who finds herself unhappy with her mariage and her life on a farm far away from any companionship. The story takes place in the early 20th century in a rather isolated farming area in a very harsh winter. After becoming dissatisfied with her husband's [John] constant absence, Ann finds herself questioning her relationship with John. She tries to keep herself busy around the house by painting the bedroom door so that she won't worry about her husband.
When a family friend [Steven] shows up to help her with chores and keep her company, she begins to compare him to her John. Ann is then driven by her rebellious thoughts and desires and has an affair with Steven. The next day John is found dead with a smear of white paint on his hand. We can assume that when John arrived home he found Ann sleeping with Steven due to the fact that the paint smeared on his hand is from the bedroom door.
Summary
Ann
Her impulsiveness and desires can be seen early on in the story when she doesn't want John to leave the house
Doesn't want to be lonely
Anxiety of being alone
Somewhat selfish and wants John all for herself
Rebelious thoughts
Her desires are further fueled with the arrival of Steven
comparing him with John
Fear of Dissaproval from Steven
Her id can be mainly illustrated by her lust for Steven
Dissatisfaction in her marriage
Looking for a thrill and fulfillement for her desires
Sleeps with him
Steven
He shows up knowing John is absent and assumes responsibility
Ann places her trust in him
He keeps her company and makes her feel important
He does the chores
His intentions were very clear from the moment he arrived
Intention of seduction
Disregards his friendship with John and assumes he won't find out
Lack of loyalty
John
At the beginning of the Story he walks to his father's farm to help him in the storm
He often disregards Ann's needs
Pride
Wants to run the farm without any help
Provide everything for his wife and also help out his father
Becomes dull and looks older from the excessive labour (Becomes boring and unattractive to Ann)
When John arrived home he wants to confront Stevn and Ann, but instead kills himself
Doesn't think of Ann or what would become of her
Trying ease his pain and suffering
ID
Ann
She tries to repress her rebellious thoughts
Paints the bedroom door to keep herself busy
She tries to protect her relationship with John
She tries to not give in to Steven's persuasion when he tells her that John wouldn't come back in a harsh storm
"He [John] always comes. There couldn't be a storm bad enough"
She feels guilty
Comparing John to Steven
Having an affair with Steven
Somewhat responsible for John's death
Steven
He tries to rationalize and reason with his his feelings
He tries to convince himself that John wouldn't find out and it wouldn't do any harm
"John isn't coming home"
John
Ego
Eventhough he left Ann to help his father during the storm, he went by Steven's house so that Steven would keep Ann company and they could play cards later when he returns
He decides to leave after he discovers Ann's betrayal
Ann
She knows that society would disapprove her rebellious thoughts and actions
Betraying John by having an affair with Steven was morally wrong
She feels guilty
Steven
He displays no conscience or morality
John
Superego
He loved Ann and did everything he could to meet her needs
He couldn't accept Ann's betrayal
Shocked by the affair
Against morals
Disapproved by society
Doesn't confront Ann or Steven
Thinks that maybe Ann is better off without him
Isn't worth the pain to live on
According to Sigmund Freud, Human behaviour is motivated by sexuality
Personality is divided into three Psychic Zones
Id is referred to as the unconscious pleasure principle, striving to fulfill desires
Ego is the voice of reason, and serves to satisfy the Id's desires in socially and often morally acceptable ways
Superego is the aspect which holds onto moral standards, acting as a guideline for what is good and bad or right and wrong
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