What is the overall theme of "The Ring" by Isak Dinesen?

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,794 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

The story has overlapping themes, but a most significant one is loss of innocence, which is symbolized by the loss of the ring.

When the story starts, the newlywed Lovisa (Lise) believes she can never have any secret from her husband and thinks to herself  as he talks about sheep, "What a baby he is! I am a hundred years older than he.” When she hears the story of the sheep thief, a "pleasant little thrill" runs down her spine. She decides to hide from her husband as a game, thinking it would show him "what a void, what an unendurably sad and horrible place the universe would be when she was no longer in it." Life is simply a child's game to this young woman with "golden curls." We learn that "she had never in her life been exposed to danger."

When Lise then encounters the sheep thief in the "sylvan closet" of the small alcove in the grove, in what amounts to a symbolic rape, the thief's "knife" points up at her "throat." Later, "he put the knife back...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 533 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

M.P. Ossa, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer, ESL/TEFL Instructor

bookM.A. from Chapman University


calendarEducator since 2008

write5,680 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

check Approved by eNotes Editorial