In the beginning of the piece, the reader is introduced to the character Ann, a young women who craves greater reality than what stands before her. She lives isolated from the world around her, both physically and mentally, miles away from her closest neighbour. That, paired with the unruly weather and unforgiving landscape, separates Ann from anyone and anything, causing her to feel greatly dissatisfied with her life. “In the clear, bitter light the long white miles of prairie seemed a region strangely alien to life,” The quote expresses the magnitude of Ann’s loneliness, unable to obtain any of contentment. She had no access to entertainment or stimuli, and had to depend on herself, her husband, and the rare trip to the dance hall.
Although her husband john takes great pride in preserving his wife’s wellbeing and personal happiness, she feels alienated from him and their secluded lifestyle. This is greatly expressed when John is preparing to visit his father down the road. Though the trip is only five miles away, it leaves Ann feeling fairly anxious. She express her discomfort with him and when he reasons with her, she replies, “Plenty to eat- plenty of wood to keep me warm- what more could a woman ask for?” The author attempts to convey Ann’s frustration through sarcasm. Even with these necessities, she feels as though her relationship with her husband is strictly materialistic, and longs for his physical affection. This emotional isolation Ann experiences is mostly her fault, although her husband is also to blame for being somewhat neglectful towards her emotional needs. This is unfortunate as John is unable to express his love anyone way.
Due to her general unhappiness, Ann finds herself wishing that her life were different, dreaming of venturing out into the world, trying something new. This thought leads her to feel slightly infatuated with what she can’t have. The object, or rather, person of her desire is a young man, Steven.
This is express when, to appease her anxieties, John offers to tell Steven to pay her a visit. ”And on my way I’ll drop by Steven’s place. Maybe he’ll come over tonight for a game of cards. ” When her husband brings up her daydream, she is quick to feeling startled, and then tries to mask it by cleaning.