In reading the story, "Like a Winding Sheet" by Ann Petry, we see that the character of Johnson feels imprisoned. The imprisonment that he feels comes from different areas, his job, his perceptions, and his own helplessness in the face of control that he feels from women.
His job is a source of imprisonment because he is at the mercy of the shift change, the pain in his own body and he feels that if he were able to make changes in the way his job was done he wouldn't feel the pain. As it is, there is a sense of helplessness because he is not free to make the changes.
He perceives that incidents happen to him because of his race. Examples of this are the reactions that he feels in his arms and hands when his forelady makes the statement, "And the niggers is the worse. I don't care what's wrong with your legs.
You get here on time. I'm sick of you niggers-" He doesn't realize that the statement may have been nothing personal, just a reaction from her own bad day. Another example is when the white girl at the counter in the restaurant tells him " no more coffee for a while" he believes that it is because of his race, not because there is no more coffee. A third example is when Mae makes the statement, "You're nothing but an old hungry nigger trying to act tough and-". He doesn't see it for the teasing that it was.
At the beginning of the story, we see that he feels controlled by Mae because even though she pointed out to him that he needed to hurry or he would be late, she makes him even later by having to convince her to go to...