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The Painted Door by: Sinclair Ross, Relationship

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What holds a relationship together? How do relationships go the way they do? What in a relationship causes it to tremble and fall apart? According to this short story “The Painted Door”, communication is what determines how the relationship would start and how it will end up. Communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship. The author develops this theme through three main aspects of the short story: character, conflict and symbols.

The theme was clearly developed with the characters. The characters in “The Painted Door” contributed their own amount to help back up the theme in the short story. The characters were Anne (Jack’s wife), Jack (Anne’s husband), and Steven (Jack’s best friend). Ever since Anne and Jack had got married, the relationship seemed to take a different toll as the years went by. Maybe even the love for one another was at a point where it is was at risk. Jack seemed more devoted to his work than towards his wife (Anne). That probably gave Anne the idea that Jack was not doing his part of the relationship, the part in which he should be comforting Anne and actually communicating with one another. But Jack could have had the speculation that Anne was being unfaithful because of the fact that Steven and herself was spending a little too much time with another. Jack decided to keep this thought to himself because if he confronts Anne about his opinion it would put they’re relationship in jeopardy.

It would cause tension between the two of them and it would seem that Jack does not trust Anne. Or Jack was not sure what to say, he just did not how to describe his matter to Anne. He didn’t let one little detail get to him. But, Jack could have tried to learn how to dance or at least attempt to dance with Anne to show that he cared about her. That would tell Anne that he is okay with trying new things just as long as the bond between them two won’t ever fall apart. On the other hand, Steven was obviously attracted to Anne and he noticed the way Jack has been treating her. He thought to himself, “Since Jack can’t satisfy his own wife, I guess it is my duty to.” And so he did that. This was not all Steven’s fault though; Anne played her part also, leading Steven on. The times they have spent together dancing and talking to one another must have ignited some kind of spark. Even when Steven came later on to check up on Anne, she decided it would appropriate to tie up her hair the same way it was when they went out dancing. That meant the two both played a part and led to this problem. They did not refuse to it or nothing, they just played along.

The conflict that Anne faces in the story is man versus himself. She believes that silence is for the best and she should not mention to Jack what had really went on with Steven and herself. She desires that sleeping with Steven will not cause conflict with her relationship with Jack. Everything will be back to normal. She is unwilling to face reality and is unenthusiastic towards everything because of her past with Steven, knowing that she was attracted to Steven. The conflict that is also faced with Steven and Anne are man versus man. They both feel guilty for what they both have done and Steven being Jack’s best friend does not tell Jack about the situation. Being best friends they could have resolved this problem. The fact that they were best friends was what made it worse, Steven has betrayed Jack. These two examples demonstrate that at long periods of time, a relationship tends to turn sour due to a couple not communicating to one another.

Symbolism is the main device used by Anne to develop the theme in the short story. The “painted door” symbolizes the state of Anne and Jack’s relationship. It is in a critical state and by painting over the old door, it symbolized that Anne was putting the past behind her and going in with the new. This actually meant leaving Jack and getting together with Steven. The yellow “paint” also symbolized the pain and sorrow in Jack’s state of mind. The fact that he had came back and found out that his wife was having an affair with his best friend disgusted him. He was hurt internally and at the same time he was left with the “yellow” paint stain which represented that he was bleeding internally and leaking out “yellow” blood.

The three aspects of the story: character, conflict, and symbol agreeably work together to develop the theme that communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship. Sinclair Ross provides evidence that in order for a couple to maintain a stable relationship, each partner must do their own part so there is actually a future for the two. A positive point of view brings trust with your partner and you become more cherished by your loved one.

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