What is the significance of “disillusioned” and “betray”?(In Philips drawing of Joe Lawson, Mrs. Bentley says that his hands are “such big, disillusioned, steadfast hands, so faithful to...

What is the significance of “disillusioned” and “betray”?

(In Philips drawing of Joe Lawson, Mrs. Bentley says that his hands are “such big, disillusioned, steadfast hands, so faithful to the earth and seasons that betray them” )

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In Sinclair Ross's novel, As For Me and My House, the overtones are religious just as the title would conclude with the added phrase, we shall serve the Lord.  Because the Bentleys are not happy, either Mr Bentley as a minister who spends most of his time painting, or Mrs. Bentley who spends most of her time playing the piano, the novel deals with disappointment and secrets.  Joe Lawson is a local farmer drawn by Mr. Bentley who illustrates the Bentley's contempt for the members of their congregation.  Mrs. Bentley describes Joe Lawson's hands as a farmer's hands would appear, big, steadfast and faithful to the earth and the turn of the seasons.  The two words she adds indicate her attitude when she adds "disillusioned" with which every farmer has had to deal, and the weather and seasons which "betray" them.  She doesn't understand the farmer's optimism about planting and that God will provide what is needed.  She only sees and understands her own disillusion with her husband, his job, where they live, and the people of the congregation.  The word betray also reminds the reader that her husband has betrayed her with Judith, and that even when the farmer is faithful, he is betrayed just as she is by her husband.  The reader is reminded again of the significance of the divide between Mrs. Bentley and her husband.

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