Mrs.. Ames. He rarely speaks or even listens to her. He is totally unconcerned with everything that goes on in his home, and leaves all the work for her to do. Belle uses comparisons between a plumber and Katherine husband-?Mr.. Ames’ silence, the plumber’s interaction with her, and her response to the plumber-?to show the loneliness of the wife throughout the story. Belle shows Katherine loneliness early on in the story. The lines, “Her eyes were gray, for the light had been extinguished in them” (Belle Para. ) shows he reader an image of the wife, and the effect the loneliness has had on her. Her husband spends a lot of time awake at night, and sleep during the day. That leaves little time to spend with his wife. Mrs.. Ames and her husband’s interactions become few and far between until they become nonexistent. Having little to no interaction with her husband has left her feeling unloved. But one day, a plumber comes to her house to fix the drain. The plumber notices how beautiful she is, and how she is starving for attention and care. “The plumber himself looked up and saw Mrs..
Ames with her voice hushed, speaking to him. She was a youngish woman, but she had forgotten. ” The plumber takes advantage of the astronomer and begins to flirt with Mrs.. Ames. The plumber begins to speak to her in a way that Mr.. Ames has never spoken to her before. This was speech that touched her flesh and bone and made her wonder. When her husband spoke of height, having no sense of it, she could not picture it nor hear. Depth or magic passed her by unless a name were given. But madness in a daily shape, as elbow stopped, she saw clearly and well.
She sat down on the grasses, bewildered that it should be a man who had spoken to her so. (Belle Para. 36) This section shows Mrs.. Ames’ amazement at the manner at which the plumber is talking to her. She is not used to being spoken to in such a kind and relatable way. It is clear that Mrs.. Ames is lonely and is looking for companionship that her husband has not given her. The last lines in ” The Astronomer’s Wife” give the reader an image of Mrs.. Ames walking into the drain with the plumber. “ooh,’ said the astronomer’s wife in wonder as she stepped into the heart of the earth.
She took his arm, knowing that what he said was true. ” (Belle Para 50) The Plumber reached out to her when she felt unwanted by her husband. This image can be taken as her taking one step away from her husband and going with the plumber. The plumber is a breakthrough to Mrs.. Ames as she realizes her worth as a woman due to the attention the plumber gives her. It is obvious that there is going to be an affair between the plumber and Mrs.. Ames, which is wrong and will subsequently lead to the collapse of her current marriage. Throughout this story, the readers can see that Mrs..
Ames is dissatisfied with her husband and life. Mrs.. Ames interactions with the plumber show how lonely she is because her husband’s silence. The cause of the problem is the bad relationship that has been between the two for a long time, primarily caused by Mr.. Ames distantness. The lack of communication between her and Mr.. Ames causes her to look elsewhere for the affection she wants. Without these comparisons between the plumber and the astronomer and their interaction with Katherine, ‘The Astronomer’s wife” would lose its theme of love or lack thereof.
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