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Word Count: 1,104
For a short story to be effective it must be able to produce high levels of intensity emotion and drama To do this it must convey a great deal of information in a short space of time As a result the short story usually leaves a great deal of its content open to interpretation and examination by the reader Also the denouements of short stories frequently remain inconclusive and unfulfilled Together these attributes add to the action and intriguing character of this genre of literature An essential element of the short story is to make the personal events experienced by the characters universally understood by the reader The story must present themes which are relevant to the reader in order for it to make an impression For this reason short stories tend to be based on some type of controversy or debatable issue In Sinclair Ross highly metaphorical short story The Painted Door the explicit theme is centered on adultery However there are other more subtle motifs in the story that play a very significant a role in its success The themes essential in making the protagonists adultery understandable are the landscape her isolation and the feelings of betrayal and guilt that she experiences following the central act of the story A great deal of this story is spent describing Anns environment both inside and outside her house The story takes place in the past before automobiles or telephones Ann and her husband are settlers in a largely uninhabited and desolate area of North America perhaps Saskatchewan The starkness of the land is described early in the story Scattered across the face of so vast and bleak a wilderness it was difficult to conceive the distant farmsteads as a testimony of human hardihood and endurance 246 Page Two The barrenness of the surroundings in which the characters live produces
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