What is the theme in the short story "Rope" by Katherine Anne Porter?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The short story "Rope" by Katherine Anne Porter is about a heated argument between a husband and his wife.  The story is likely being narrated from the man's perspective.

The story starts out with the husband coming home from the store.  There is some playful banter between the husband and wife, but it goes wrong quickly. He forgot her coffee and has smashed the eggs underneath a long coil of rope. The ensuing argument about some smashed eggs and forgotten coffee is HUGE, and it serves to highlight that there is a lot of sub-surface angst going on this marriage.  

The fight highlights the theme of the short story.  The theme would be the importance of mutual respect and communication within a marriage.  All of their feelings come boiling out as each of them treats the other to his or her views on their contributions to the marriage. It's clear to the reader that the husband and wife are not communicating their needs and expectations to each other.  It's clear that they do not respect each other's idiosyncrasies.  It's clear that their lack of understanding toward each other has put both of them at the rope's end.  Pun intended. 

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