The Lamp At Noon ( Author: Sinclair Ross Overview (Born: January 22,…
The Lamp At Noon
Author: Sinclair Ross Overview
Born: January 22, 1908 Shellbrook
Died: February 29, 1996 Vancouver
Known for Writing Books And Short Stories
He was a Canadian Banker and author, and best known for his fiction about life in the Canadian Prairies
The lamp is used as a sign of hope. For no apparent reason it is lit in the middle of the day. Symbolizes an awakening of their farm becoming non-prosperous. It also gives Ellen the ability to look at their farm with more insight considering their situation.
"A little before noon she lit the lamp"
"Demented wind, Impenetrable fog"
The atmosphere is calm and unclearly formulated. Impenetrable fog meaning it can't be broken. It could be foreshadowing to more weather. Weather is used to portray emotion.
The red sky symbolizes death because of the poor death of the baby and used an interpretation for Ellen for her knowledge of the weather
The Major Characters
Ellen is the wife of Paul and the mother to her child. The Economic depression and the devastation on the farm has left Ellen feeling hopeless and trapped in her own farm. She wants to go to town because she wants to go see her father that owns a store. Ellen's perspective is wide-opened, meaning that she can't turn away form the fact that her relationship with Paul is in a desperate situation.
Paul is a farmer and as well as Ellen's Husband; he is in his thirties and he suffers through hardships from their infertile farm which resulted in him being stripped of his youth. He is also stern and stubborn and starts to see and fear that the farm won't be prosperous. Although he won't admit it because he is too proud to give up on the dream of a prosperous farm.
"You see it come back. There is good wheat in it yet."
This shows that Paul is unable to accept that the soul has been ruined due to the drought. Also, Paul's belief that his farm will bring rich fertility. This proves Paul's delusion in future hope for his farm considering his response to Ellen.
"I'll take him again. Such clumsy hands-you don't know how to hold a baby yet. See how he falls forward on your arm."
This shows that Ellen is caught in her own delusions, and seems unaware that her baby had died. Paul had finally realized for himself the clarity that Ellen was struggling to convince him of. Paul stands in front of Ellen silently with horror
"You said tonight we'd see the storm go down. So still now, and a red sky—it means tomorrow will be fine."
This is the last quote of the story; it portrays an ironic optimism because it gives Ellen hope because the storm has passed and the next day will be fine. Ironic because of the fact that she doesn’t know that her baby is dead and that in the future she will mourn. The red sky symbolizes death because of the poor death of the baby and used an interpretation for Ellen for her knowledge of the weather
Isolation is a theme in The Lamp at Noon. It is because Ellen and Paul had the lamp was lit when the dust storm swept on the farm; it had devastated their home.
It relates to the Great Depression's situation of economic instability. Paul and Ellen are burdened with their unprofitable farm and has through the government but they end with debt. They know that their farm won't be prosperous and they would like to give up that fantasy, but then Paul would have to work for Ellen's father in the lowly shop.
In The Lamp at Noon, delusion plays a prime factor as is shown in the story. An example would be Paul's delusion in the farm becoming prosperous. Which doesn't make him realize the reality of his farm that Ellen wishes he does. He only finds out the dark truth when the dust storm passes over and finds himself in an idiotic situation. He finds out that it was foolish of them to think his farm is nothing other than a desert.
Ellen's Delusion is that when she runs out to the storm thinking that the storm won't harm her if she runs to it directly. which further proves that both her and Paul are equally insightful and both have their share in delusions. Although in their defense they are at times right and at times wrong.
"You see it come back. There is good wheat in it yet."
The author Ross, made both Ellen and Paul have the capacity of being insightful and have delusions. And how Ross made both the characters be right or wrong at a certain time.
At the beginning of the story, Ellen was worried that baby would catch pneumonia from the dust-filled air. Her being cautious of the baby's health foreshadows that she will eventually slip up and take the baby to the dust-filled storm and the baby will die.
The violent winds are described as monsters to Ellen, two specific monsters that hunt each other, one that is try to cause harm and and hunt the other one. And the second one is the one that seeks shelter but is being chased down by the other monster.
Questions I have: How does the dust storm cause the characters to have delusions for their farm? And have delusions in general?
The dust storm makes the characters lose hope but one of them such as Paul was too optimistic which lead me curious if the dust itself made Paul delusional. But if the dust storm was so strong to ruin their farm what made Paul have hope for their farm that it will flourish until the storm passed. Also when Ellen decided to take the baby did she lose her mind because why would she bring her baby with her? I believe that the dust reached Ellen's brain which made her have a delusion that she wouldn't be harmed.