The Painted Door


Sinclair Ross

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The Neighbors Character Analysis

John, Ann and Steven live on very isolated farms, but they do have neighbors who live close enough to be familiar faces. Ann refers to them as a group, without discussing any particular names or personalities. At the end of the story, the neighbors are described discussing John’s death. Their comments confirm that his death looks like a tragic accident, and that it was foolish of him to try to come home with the double wheel around the moon in the sky.

The Neighbors Quotes in The Painted Door

The The Painted Door quotes below are all either spoken by The Neighbors or refer to The Neighbors. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Loyalty and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Painted Door Quotes

In the clear, bitter light the long white miles of prairie landscape seemed a region strangely alien to life. Even the distant farmsteads she could see served only to intensify a sense of isolation. Scattered across the face of so vast and bleak a wilderness it was difficult to conceive them as a testimony of human hardihood and endurance. Rather they seemed futile, lost, to cower before the implacability of snow-swept earth and clear pale sun-chilled sky.

Related Characters: Ann (speaker), The Neighbors
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

“It’s better with four, but at least we can talk. That’s all I need—someone to talk to. John never talks. He’s stronger—he doesn’t understand. But he likes Steven—no matter what the neighbors say. Maybe he’ll have him come again, and some other young people, too. It’s what we need, both of us, to help keep young ourselves...And then before we know it we’ll be into March. It’s cold still in March sometimes, but you never mind the same. At least you’re beginning to think about spring.”

Related Characters: Ann (speaker), John, Steven, The Neighbors
Page Number: 99-100
Explanation and Analysis:

“He was south of here,” they said wonderingly when she told them how he had come across the hills. “Straight south—you’d wonder how he could have missed the buildings. It was the wind last night, coming every way at once. He shouldn’t have tried. There was a double wheel around the moon.”
She looked past them a moment, then as if to herself said simply, “If you knew him, though—John would try.”

Related Characters: Ann (speaker), John, The Neighbors
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Neighbors Character Timeline in The Painted Door

The timeline below shows where the character The Neighbors appears in The Painted Door. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Painted Door
Loyalty and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Time and Aging Theme Icon
...she had someone to talk to, but finds the conversation with John or even their neighbors boring and repetitive—it’s just crops, cattle, and the weather, over and over again. The thought... (full context)