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The Mood of Frustration and Tension In Sinclair Ross’s “ The Lamp At Noon”

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Matthew Wiersma Mr. Edwards Grade 11 Academic English Wednesday, May 2, 2007 The Mood of Frustration and Tension In Sinclair Ross's " The Lamp At Noon" Sinclair Ross sets the mood of frustration and tension in his short story "The Lamp at Noon". He reveals the mood to the reader in many different ways. He first sets the mood through the setting of a farm in the prairies during the depression. Secondly by the structure of the story, which shows both sides of the characters argument. Thirdly mood is created through the conflicts of the characters trying to cope with the depression. Lastly mood is created by his style of writing Sinclair's use of personification between the characters and the storm. Firstly he sets the mood of frustration and tension in the setting of the small prairie farmhouse during the depression. The farmhouse with creaking walls, "the dust-filled air" (63), "demented wind of the storm rattling the house" (62), the isolated land filled with dust clouds, and the wild lipless wailing through the loft. All of this helps to show the reader the severity of Paul and Ellen's living conditions which cause both characters to become stressed out and puts a lot of tension between them. ...read more.


Lastly he sets the mood through the style of writing. Sinclair uses personification of nature to reflect and influence the emotions of Paul and Ellen in The Lamp at Noon. The wind is powerful and changes with the emotions of Ellen and Paul. Sinclair describes the wind as two separate winds "the wind in flight, and the wind that pursues" (64). Like the wind in flight, which cannot escape the wind that pursues it, Ellen and Paul cannot escape their problems. The wind in flight always returns to "quake among the feeble eaves, as if in all this dust-mad wilderness it knew no other sanctuary" (64). Ellen is also forced to seek refuge within her small home, which is also the place where she feels secluded that causes her to become frustrated. The wind outside often contrasts the silence. During an argument between Paul and Ellen, there is a silence, "a deep fastness of it enclosed by rushing wind and creaking walls"(66). This noise around them makes the silence within even more uncomfortable and really shows the tension in the characters. Unfortunately, the walls seem to weaken against the powerful wind, and "instead of release or escape from the assaulting wind, the walls are but a feeble stand against it" (68) ...read more.


"It seems the yellow lamplight casts a silence upon them"(66). The light of the lamp causes the walls to move away, dim and comeback, as a symbol to the continuing argument that keeps returning after never being fully resolved. When Paul returns to the house to find Ellen missing, he notices that the lamp has been blown out. The blown-out lamp signifies the death of the child and the end of their dreams for the future. Ellen is similar to the lamp in that she struggles to be heard as the lamp struggles to be seen through the dust therefore she becomes frustrated, but in the end, Ellen gives up and so does the lamp. The author uses irony because the death of the baby seems like the end to their problems and the characters think it is but the reader knows it will only create more tension and frustration between them. Throughout the book the tension and frustration keep on building up by the setting, the structure, the conflicts and style. They all lead up to the point when Ellen finally snaps and goes crazy. Without any tension and frustration Ellen would not have snapped. The storm and lamp are just symbols of the characters tension and frustration to help the reader see this tension and frustration. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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