An Analysis of Ann Petry's "Like a Winding Sheet"

Essay by grigsA, March 2003

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There have been countless studies to that show Stress, Frustration and Anger are related. In Ann Petry short story "Like a Winding Sheet" you can observer this relationship. First, let us study the title "Like a Winding Sheet" the words Winding Sheet means "shroud", this indicate the characters of the story could have a shroud hanging oven him? The story is told in a third person point of view it takes place in the Ghetto's of Harlem. As you start reading the story, you can see right away Johnson and his wife Mae seem to be a happy black couple. He tries to get up before his wife Mae, and he wants to "surprise her by fixing breakfast" (1). This divulges a romantic side of Johnson to the reader however, instead of getting up he goes back to sleep because, he has worked ten hours at night and his legs are sore.

Another sign of Johnson's love for Mae is when they were arguing about being late for work and "he couldn't bring himself to talk to her roughly or threaten to strike her like a lot of men might have done" (59). Although, this appears from the outward appearance to be a normal relationship it's hard to ignore the inward emotion that Johnson has been keeping bottled up. Was this the beginning of Johnson's Stress, Frustration, and Anger?

As the story moves on Johnson arrive to work late as always, he see the forelady, a white woman who is upset about something. He avoids looking at her, but she stops him anyway. He greets her "good evening; Mrs. Scott' (91) and waits for her reaction. The forelady refers to the time and tells him that "he is late again" (92). Johnson explains to her that his legs...