Symbolism In The Lamp At Noon

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“ The Lamp at Noon” Essay

Once all hope is gone, there is truly nothing left. In Sinclair Ross’s “ The Lamp at Noon” , Ellen and Paul, a married couple struggle to survive on an isolated farm during the Great Depression. The extreme elements prove to be too much for Ellen to handle as they are constantly harassed by dust storms, strong winds in addition to the barren farmland that Paul refuses abandon. The author uses symbolism in the setting to convey the theme that prolonged periods of isolation leads to hopelessness and eventually insanity. The wind is introduced as the “wind in flight” and the “wind that pursued” which represents Ellen and Paul respectively. The wind creates a hostile environment in both the setting and their relationship as it is described as “demented” wind. The wind plays a
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Ellen has thoughts about leaving the house and give up on Paul’s dream. She expresses this to Paul when she says “ ‘I’m so caged-if I could only break away and run’ ” (Ross 218-219) when she says: “I’m afraid, Paul. I can’t stand it any longer. He cries all the time. You will go, Paul – say you will. We aren’t living here – not really living.” Afterwards, Paul retaliates with the phrase: “I told you this morning, Ellen; we keep on right where we are. At least I do. It’s yourself you’re thinking about, not the baby.” I think the author is foreshadowing the ending of the story, when we find out that Ellen is insane and has always been. The dust seemed to have brought this on, and it some ways, it causes the quarrels between Paul and Ellen because of the tension it creates. In the end we learn that Ellen runs away, and Paul is quickly awakened from his daydream and soon realizes that his baby is dead and his wife has been driven insane because she has been stuck inside the house for an unbearable amount of
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