Jack’s story is punctuated repeatedly with the sound of his wife, Clare moving furniture as she repaints the living room downstairs. No matter how much Jack attempts to prolong and expand his story, the sound reminds him that he should be downstairs helping his wife work. At the very end of the story, Jack joins Clare in the living room, where, looking at the wooden molding all around them, he feels as though he were in a cage. In this way, everything about the home he lives in—from the ornamental details of the architecture right down to the furniture and the living room’s fresh coat of paint—symbolize how stale and constrictive his life has become. When Jack looks at his home, he sees only the obligations, chores and marriage that are keeping him tied down. Clare is repainting the living room to prepare for the arrival of the couple’s third child, so in addition to representing a physical chore that needs completing, the sound of moving furniture that makes up the story’s background “soundtrack” represents the expansion of Jack’s family and the new era of his life that is dawning, whether or not he is ready for it. Therefore, when Jack finally finishes telling Jo her story and comes downstairs to see Clare repainting, he is no longer able to mask feelings of resentment, depression and isolation towards his wife and the life that they are living. The house itself symbolizes the ways in which he feels “caged” by his life.
The House Quotes in Should Wizard Hit Mommy?
Sitting on the bed beside her, Jack felt the covers tug as her legs switched tensely. He was pleased with this moment—he was telling her something true, something she must know—and had no wish to hurry on. But downstairs a chair scraped, and he realized he must get down to help Clare paint the living room woodwork.
The woodwork, a cage of moldings and rails and baseboards all around them, was half old tan and half new ivory and he felt caught in an ugly middle position, and though he as well felt his wife's presence in the cage with him, he did not want to speak with her, work with her, touch her, anything.