"The Closing Door" by Angelina Weld Grimké.

Essay by sweetld215University, Bachelor'sA+, September 2003

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The Closing Door

By Angelina Weld Grimké

I find this short story to be somewhat deceiving at first because it feels as though the story is about the generous nature of Agnes Milton. The first several pages the narrator speaks about her hardships in life and the generosity of Agnes; however, the ending is quite unexpected. The narrator was passed from relative to relative after her father's death (apparently due to alcohol poisoning), but Agnes was the only one kind enough to take her in and treat her like a daughter.

This story gives the reader a good slap into the realities of life for colored people, especially in the south. Agnes is a complex character who changes drastically by the end of the story. In the beginning Agnes seemed to be a kind hearted, gentle, playful woman. She has "the mother heart...that...brought me to live in the only home I have ever known."

(1905). After Agnes got pregnant appeared to be a point where she began to change, and the quietly closing doors were apparent to the narrator and Agnes' husband, Jim. She seemed to be withdrawn, anti-social, and basically interested in solitude.

Agnes had a great joy in life when it came to her younger brother, Bob. She loved him desperately and waited, with great joy, for his letter to come to her every week. Agnes' demeanor went down even further after she learned about Bob's death. Not long after the news of Bob's death Agnes' other brother, Joe, appears. For the first time in quite awhile Agnes showed some signs of life - she smiled again and even chuckled.

After Agnes learned the truth about Bob's death she took a desperate tail spin into depression. She continued with the familiar quietly closing door...