Sinclair Ross’ short story The Painted Door, takes the reader back to life in the Canadian Prairie’s during the late 19th century or early 20th century and explores isolation, love, lust, and betrayal.

There are three characters in the story, Ann, the wife; John, the husband; and Steven, the neighbor. While he goes off to help his father during a cold winter storm, John leaves Ann at home, sending Steven to the house for games and dinner later that evening. During John’s absence, the reader is given a glimpse into the mind of a lonely farmer’s wife during this period of time, and the isolation she feels. During John’s absence, Ann tries to occupy her time and ease her mind by painting their bedroom door. Eventually Steven arrives to the farm, bringing lust, confusion, adultery, and betrayal, ultimately leading to the suicide of John.

The author is detailed in his description of the mood of the story, the severity of the storm, and the loneliness of Ann. The author is also creative in his writing and with only one sentence, brings light to earlier events in the story. Mid-story the details are rather vague, leaving the reader to make conclusions and be creative with their own imagination as to what is really taking place. However, the last sentence in the story brings all the vague details together in such a satisfying way.

This is a story I would recommend because of the vast amount of detail in setting the mood which contrasts the vague description of details between the characters.


Ross, Sinclair. "The Painted Door." Short Fiction: An Anthology. Ed. Mark Levene and Rosemary Sullivan. 2nd ed. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford UP, 2015. 304-17. Print.