Living in the Land
The land has always been a source of opposing forces: life and death, joy and sorrow, good and bad. The land (and the weather) has an effect on a person's state of mind, beliefs, values, and most important, perspective. The land has been used in literature countless times, and in countless ways. Sometimes, the land is used merely as a setting. However, in many cases, the land is used as a challenge to man, an obstacle to be overcome. In "The Painted Door", "The Broken Globe", and Canadian Gothic, the land is an antagonist.
In the short story "The Painted Door", by Sinclair Ross, the land mirrors protagonist Ann's thoughts and feelings, and heightens the loneliness and stress she is experiencing, building a wall between her and her husband, John. This internalization of the land is essential to the storyline, as it shows, rather than tells, the emotional turmoil Ann is going through.
"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" (Ross 277). Ann's emotions are not out of control, but the effect of the land agitates her state of mind to the point where she is more aware of what is going on inside of her, and begins to think even more about her dysfunctional relationship with John.
John believes that he devotes a great deal of himself to Ann, but it is really the land that he is devoted to. Concerning work, he says, "I don't mind. Look at the hands on me. They're made for work" (Ross 230). While he works so hard for her, he...