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Literary Analysis of "Frostbitten Faithlessness"

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“Frostbitten Faithlessness” is a short story about a woman’s lack of decision making, and fidelity. Ann is the wife of John, and they live on a farm, presumably in Canada. She seems to be short tempered, and miserable when it comes to her marriage. John implies to have thought that Ann, as a woman, should not have to take care of any extensive work. He reflects this concern when he assures that “she won’t need to go near the stable” and reminds her “everything’s fed and watered now to last till night”. Though it is nice to do for Ann, she becomes annoyed with him and feels diminished as a human. She tries to detour herself from thinking negatively while John is away by going to “paint the kitchen woodwork” white, which foreshadows her husbands fate. Ann’s emotion is compared to the chilling weather outside, utilizing the literary device pathetic fallacy. John recognizes Ann’s change in mood, describing that “there was a brooding stillness in her face” to announce the depressive, closed-in nature of his wife, describing how it was almost “as if she recognized the mastery of snow and cold”.

John is expanding our knowledge on the situation, by making it evident that Ann’s mind is just as unorganized as the storm. Ann’s anger is prevalent throughout the story, especially with the repetition of “pay no attention to me” which is an easily mistaken phrase to be sarcastic, and passive aggressive. With Ann’s short temper, comes inevitable conflict. There is a wide variety of conflicts that arise during the short story. Initially, the conflict sparks between John and Ann, when John assumes that she cannot be sufficient without him. John belittles Ann Ameloot passively, by saying “That’s what you need Ann – someone to talk to besides me” showing John believes Ann relies on him, and only communicates with him.

Conflict continues throughout the story, between Ann and herself when she calls “herself a fool” for being worried about John being out in the storm, and between herself and the weather. The environment Ann, and John are in is life threatening. This is shown when Ann becomes curious, and wants to check on the stable. Upon opening the door, she was pulled out by the force of the storm, where “just for a moment, the wind held her, numb and swaying” (30) showing the strength of the storm is too strong for Ann to handle. To revise, Ann is a very easily distressed woman, which is reflected upon by weather, and personal issues. Non relative to Ann’s temper, is the way that she admires smaller things with John being gone.

Imagery, and onomatopoeia have an exciting role within the short story “Frostbitten Faithlessness”. Imagery is used within the story to describe a person’s appearance, to explain the extremity of the weather, and to explain the tasks Ann has at hand. Before Ann becomes unfaithful to her husband of seven years, she describes John as “a slow, unambitious man, content with his farm and cattle” which gives insight to how old John is, and how happy he was with his work. He is described to be “naively proud of Ann”, which also gives an idea that he believes she lacks the proper experience to keep up with him. When describing Steven, whom John invited over to keep Ann company, she mentions how he is “handsome, clean shaven and young”. With her description of both her husband, and Steven, it is evident that she is dissatisfied with the person she married. Imagery is also utilized throughout weather, and intense scenes. When checking the fire after she cheated on her husband, John, with Steven, she realizes the fire had died out. She “fanned the embers till at last a swift little tongue of flame began to lick around the wood”. The imagery within this scene gives an image of small, red Ameloot 3ashes dancing around. This quotation has deeper significance, for it is tied to another quotation within the story. As the storm grows worse, she states that the storm appears like “swift little snakes” which, alike to the fire, have darting and swift movements. The little tongues, can be compared to the little tongue of the snakes.

In addition, onomatopoeia is utilized beautifully. There is a repetition of a certain sentence throughout the story that shares “the fire cracked, the clock ticked”. Ann is continuously hearing these sounds during the time she is home, and both sounds are significant on their own. The constant ticking from the clock is to signify that time always continues, and waiting is sometimes the only option in order to become satisfied with what time brings you. But as time passes, Ann describes the “clocked ticked like a glib little idiot” glib meaning an insincere, or repetitive sound. Though Ann waited, time did not bring her what she wanted, which makes the sound insincere and mocking. The fire cracking is significant on its own, for the entire time that John is out Ann maintains the fire. Though she maintains the fire, when she decides to commit shameless infidelity, she returns back to the fire to see that it had been burnt out. This symbolizes a metaphorical spark between Ann and John dying. While Ann is in bed with Steven, she sees John appear within a gleam of light in her room. Steven reassured her earlier on, that intense storms can make you see things, and become irrational, so she brushed it off believing “it was only her mind, her imagination, distorted to a nightmare by the illogical and unadmitted dread of his return”. After believing this and falling back to sleep, she is awaken to the news of John’s death. John was found less than a mile away from his house against their pasture fence, straight south from the houses. Ann recognizes “On the palm, even against its frozen whiteness, was a little smear of paint” which solidifies her concerns that John was inside the house while she cheated on him with Steven.

In brief, “Frostbitten Faithlessness” is a very imaginative, depressive story of a Ameloot 4perfidious woman who had thrown her perfect marriage away, for physical attraction and satisfaction. Having a monotonous schedule, while incorporating greed will ultimately ruin a conceited woman’s life.

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Literary Analysis Of “Frostbitten Faithlessness”. (2020, Jun 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from
“Literary Analysis Of “Frostbitten Faithlessness”.” GradesFixer, 10 Jun. 2020,
Literary Analysis Of “Frostbitten Faithlessness”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 16 Aug. 2022].
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