The Painted Door


Sinclair Ross

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Themes and Colors
Loyalty and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Connection Theme Icon
Time and Aging Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Painted Door, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Loyalty and Sacrifice

The characters in “The Painted Door” are defined by their loyalties and the sacrifices they make for the people they love. John is deeply loyal to his wife Ann, and he expresses this by working hard year after year in the hopes of providing her with a better life someday. Ann has been loyal to John throughout the seven years of their marriage, but she secretly resents some of the sacrifices that being married…

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Men and Women

Although Ross does not explicitly condone or criticize the traditional gender roles that define his characters’ lives, the tension between male and female perspectives is a central source of conflict in the story. Ann feels that as a woman, she should be grateful and happy just to have a kind husband who provides for her material needs. She feels guilty for wanting a more varied, entertaining existence. John, for his part, does not understand…

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Isolation vs. Connection

“The Painted Door” takes place in a very isolated physical environment. Personal connections in this kind of harsh, rural setting are not something to be taken for granted. Ann is lonely in their little farmhouse, and dreams of going to local dances or of having friends over to play cards. In order to care for his aging father and make sure Ann has company during a storm, John must walk many miles in a raging…

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Time and Aging

For Ann, her awareness of time passing is torturous. It always moves either too slowly or too quickly for her. She feels that she is constantly waiting for the next season to come, and constantly waiting for each year to pass so that she and John will be a little closer to paying off the mortgage on the farm and being able to enjoy their life together. Ann sees herself as young, but feels…

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