In her short story “To Room Nineteen,” published in 1963, Doris Lessing describes the life of the main character, Susan Rawlings. Susan is very unhappy and feels that her life has lost its meaning and purpose now that her youngest child has started school.
The excerpt of the short story you have chosen could be seen as an indication about how unhappy Susan’s marriage is. Susan is married to Matthew, and to an outsider, it may seem as if they have the perfect family life: they seem to be a happy couple with four children, and they live in a very nice house.
However, earlier in the story, the readers find out that Matthew had an affair. While Susan has forgiven him, the passage you have chosen shows that there is still a significant emotional distance between Matthew and Susan.
This could be used as a possible starting point for a thesis: you could explore how this passage shows that Susan and Matthew’s relationship has not really recovered after Matthew’s affair. Susan is troubled by the fact that she struggles with being by herself. Usually, one would expect that she would speak to her husband about this, but Susan thinks that this conversation would be pointless. We can see this because Susan says that “clearly this conversation should not take place.” Susan feels that Matthew would not understand how she feels and instead would probably just recommend for her to go and “see a doctor.”
This passage clearly indicates to the reader that Susan finds refuge from her problems in the company of her children rather than in the company of her husband. This shows that her marriage is not as happy as one might have initially expected. Therefore, this also adds more weight to the underlying theme of the story, which is the unfulfilled life of Susan.