“The Astronomer’s Wife”: The Freedom From Conformity

799 words - 4 pages

“The Astronomer’s Wife” has a strong influence from setting. In this story the struggle is apparent. The wife’s conformity to her husband, the problems in their marriage, and the plumber’s influence to open her view to the world are shown through the setting. The story is explained through the places they wander and the things in the places they wander.
The placement of the morning in a bedroom was a daily routine, just like their marriage. It wasn’t bright or cheerful. Where most people enjoy the feeling of waking up to a new day, she just saw it as a routine. “She fetched up her gentle voice and sent it warily down the stairs for coffee, swung her feet out upon the oval mat, and hailed the morning with her bare arms’ quivering flesh drawn tight in rhythmic exercise: left, left, left, my wife and fourteen children, right, right, right in the middle of the dusty road.” The pool of motionless water was symbolic of the overflowing problems that were their marriage, it was stagnant; just like their marriage. “Then she stepped carefully around the motionless spread of water in the hall.” When the plumber stands out on the island, he seems to be reaching out to the isolated woman. She is alone, lost in what is a neglected marriage. Inside the brimming floor that seemed to be an ocean. “The plumber cast down a folded square of sack-cloth on the brimming floor and laid his leather apron on it. Then he stepped boldly onto the heart of the island it shaped and looked long into the overflowing bowl.” The toilet is also significant because it represents the cracks in a marriage that was already down the drain to begin with. There is a shift in atmosphere once they reach the outside. Mrs. Ames’ face changes in color, seeming to brighten in the newfound light. This seems to be a moment of freedom. Where she was once locked away in a primitive marriage with a leaky relationship, she stepped out to find an open haven with a new light. “When the sun in the garden struck her face, he saw there was a wave of color…” When she comes outside, she realizes that life is open and wide. “Life, life is an open sea, she sought…” When she sees...

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