The Painted Door by Sinclair Ross

The Painted Door by Sinclair Ross is about a couple that has been married for 7 years, in which, they’ve lived on an isolated farm. The wife Anne seeks change in her boring life resulting in her committing adultery. Later in the story Anne comes to the realization that she’s truly in love with John but it didn’t matter because John had witnessed her sin. John is announced dead because while walking away from his home in dismay he froze to death.

In comparison, Behind the Headlines by Vidyut Akulujkar the wife Lakshmi is tired of her repetitive life style which is cause by her husband Hariharan who was a “[]promised professor of economics in a respectable Canadian university. ”(pg139) The couple were immigrants from India therefore they carried on a traditional marriage. Shortly after Hariharan leaves to a work conference his wife Lakshmi dropped her house keys into the mail slot showing that she was not coming back to him. These two short stories are similar in the aspects of conflict, plot, and characterization.

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The main conflict in both stories is an internal struggle in which the protagonists Anne and Laksmi suffer. Although their marriages appeared successful from a bystander’s point of view the reality was the complete opposite. “Their tracks ran parallel, without any hope of intersection. ”(pg142) This quote from Behind the Headlines gives the reader a solid image of what their marriages are like. In comparison, The Painted Door consists of a similar quote “Pay no attention to me. Seven years a farmer’s wife—it’s time I was used to staying alone. (pg226) The reason these marriages weren’t working wasn’t because the love was nonexistent it was because of the dull repetitive life styles they endured due to their husbands professions. Both protagonists seek change in their marriages concluding in both of them turning away from their present husbands. Furthermore, the short stories both include couples who have been married for a long period… The subject of the relationship between men and women has always been debated, but never summed up to a clear answer.

Both sexes have their vices when it comes to interacting with each other. Though it is possible we can never know for sure, people still try and bridge that great gender gap. Authors Sinclair Ross and Anton Chekhov both wrote stories that reflect what they think the essence of a relationship is. Ross’ “The Painted Door” and Chekhov’s “The Brute” both have somewhat similar characters and situations, but each definitely has a unique course through the swampy waters of lost love. In both “The Painted Door” and “The Brute”, there are classic, though obscure, love triangles.

In “The Brute”, widowed Mrs. Popov still mourns her cheating husband when brash Grigori Smirnov charges into her life looking for a debt to be paid. In “The Painted Door”, Ann is a dissatisfied farmer’s wife who falls into infidelity with a younger man when her husband is thought lost in a snow storm. This lack of spousal presence makes each woman turn to the immediate man of the moment to fulfill the need to have someone close. Comparatively, by taking the entire length of the story, Mrs. Popov seems slow to change her priorities from her husband to Mr. Smirnov.

But, Ann, on the other hand, was reluctant to let go of her husband and eventually never really did by the end of the story. Not to mention Mrs. Popov seemed to feel no guilt as she fell in love with Smirnov (though there was definitely anger! ) while Ann fought an internal battle of her emotions towards Steven from almost the moment John had left the farm through when they had found him frozen to death on a wire fence. Perhaps to reflect the differences between each stories’ leading ladies, their husbands also seem to differ greatly from each other. The late Mr.

Popov was described as ‘unjust, cruel, and unfaithful’ to his overly forgiving wife while John was completely on the other side of the mountain. John loved Ann so much that he worked his hands to the bone 15 hours a day without complaint, just so he could give Ann what he thought she wanted and deserved. He loved and cared for Ann so completely that he even suggested himself that another man should come by the house and keep her company. Contrary to the story, I believe that on some level John knew exactly what could happen, what situations could arise with that other man while he was gone.

He knew full well the ferocity of the storm that night and that he probably would not make it home again. Anticipating this, he insisted Steven was to come be with Ann for the while. I think John realized that if he wasn’t coming back from this storm, he would see to it that Ann was taken care of. While he didn’t know for sure if Steven would be able to provide, John knew he would be able to give Ann the one thing John never could: the satisfaction of having a husband to fully live life together with, rather than a husband who provides the life she lived mostly alone.

Essentially, the contrast between these two stories boils down to the fact that “The Brute” is a non-serious farce, while “The Painted Door” resembles a modern soap opera drama. 80 of “The Brute” consists of Mrs. Popov and Mr. Smirnov shouting and mocking each other, while “The Painted Door” was moved along by Ann’s divided introspections and emotions. The relationship between a man and a woman not only makes excellent writing, but it has often unconsidered importance to society.

Biologically, the success of the relationship means the efficient continuance (or lack thereof) of our species. Economically, corporations’ failure to appeal to both genders simultaneously rather than each separately could mean whether or not the companies live to see another fiscal year. But most importantly is the effect the man/woman relationship has on us socially. Slightly more than half of the world’s population is women. If one half of the world didn’t get along with the other half, how would we progress?

In a ripple effect started from the dawn of civilization, cultures and societal structures were passed along through the ages. Religion. Kings and queens. Labourers and labourer’s wives. Legendary conquering warriors (and the women that smirked behind them. ) By way of our often misguided and thoroughly unstable relationships, societies still managed to survive, evolve and diverge into our world today. It just goes to show that everything doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to work.

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The Painted Door by Sinclair Ross. (2017, Feb 18). Retrieved from