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A Theme of Self-satisfaction in The Painted Door by Sinclair Ross

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One’s attempt secure the satisfaction of self-fulfillment does not always end up with the result they want, it could also end up with regret. When it comes to making decisions we tend to be in the opinion of what we think in that moment is right without considering the aftermath of the desire we choose to pursue. We see the attempt to secure ones satisfaction in the short story, The Painted Door, written by Sinclair Ross. This story shows how a loving husband, John, who works so hard day and night so that his wife, Ann could be happy and satisfied with life but we end up seeing her loneliness and crave for someone to fulfill her other needs take over her which causes her to attempt to satisfy herself. This decision may have satisfied her temporarily but ended up with regrets. Ross is clearly portraying that not all decisions you make when you are in need of self-satisfaction are worth taking the risk for. Individuals’ attempt to secure the satisfaction of self-fulfilment might, in some cases, turn into realization of regret later on. One may feel obligated to do something in order to satisfy themselves. In the short text, The Painted Door, we see the author, Sinclair Ross, portraying the sense of self-satisfaction having a relationship with selfishness. In the beginning of the text, we read as Ann experiences feelings of contemplation between being selfish and keeping John from leaving to check up on his father, and letting John go. She later on realizes that she is coming off as too selfish so she kept adding “pay no attention to me” to her dialogue. This selfishness is also a representation of how Ann wants to satisfy her self-fulfilment by having John stay with her and give her attention instead of leaving in to the cold, increasing the unseen gap between them. Ann’s selfishness is also the reason for her attitude towards Steven, she knows her actions and decision were wrong but still wants a way to attain her desires and since Steven seems to have a similar mindset, Ann sees this as an opportunity. Her selfishness in this context, helped her achieve her desires, although it may not have been the best way to do so.

The desire for self-fulfilment is something that I have personally experienced several times throughout my life. On most occasions, this desire was accomplished by doing something that I knew was not righteous but the urge was very powerful and instead of keeping my head high, I caved in and let way for my satisfactory. An experience of this feeling was portrayed a few years back. I was in the middle of my prayer, a practice that is very religious, and I knew what was wrong and what was right. In Islam, when we pray, we must not be distracted and our full attention should be given to the task at hand. While praying, I heard my phone buzz with a notification from a friend, whom I was conversing with. In my conscience, I knew if I looked away or deterred my attention from the prayer, it would not be accepted; the prayer would be incomplete/broken. I felt a sudden urge to continue my conversation instead of completing my prayer, so I picked up my phone and texted back. I was satisfied with myself in the moment for fulfilling my momentary desires. Later that day, I felt tremendous amounts of regret for doing an act that was not proper, but felt right in the moment, this is similar to how Ann felt when she was experiencing tension between Steven and herself, she knew this wasn’t right but felt the need for his affection in that period of time.

Personal desire is something we all tend to make our priority. A certain action might seem appropriate, but later grow into regret. We need to identify when it’s appropriate to follow your personal desires and when it’s not. Regret does not only come from making big decisions it can only come from a small choice you make. It can be as simple as choosing what shoes to wear. You can make a decision to wear your white shoes because they look good with your outfit but later on regret that choice because the weather outside is very muddy. Individuals need to take in consideration of all the results they can get out of their actions, in the moment or after.

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