In Sinclair Ross’s story “The Painted Door,” early indications of Ann’s discontent with her marriage to John include her daydreaming and her comments on her husband’s appearance. Possible justifications can be seen in her different upbringing and John’s traditional views of gendered work.
Unlike John, Ann was not raised on a farm and finds the isolation monotonous and confining. Her duties are largely limited to the house because she wants to follow her husband’s lead. He has a traditional view of male and female responsibilities and wants to see his wife as more of the lady of the house, not a companion in farm chores. Ann finds that the household tasks are readily accomplished and not very stimulating. Hoping that John’s ambition and hard work will pay off, she daydreams about a finer home.
Although Ann understands that his constant labors leave him little time for himself, she would prefer that John attend more closely to his appearance. Before he sets off to walk to Steven’s house and then on to see his father, she chides him for being unshaven. While these comments seem very critical, and foreshadow her attraction to Steven, they can also be seen as indicating that she wants her husband to be as proud of his looks as she is.