Reflection Essay on Like a Winding Sheet

Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
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Ann Petry’s “Like a Winding Sheet “defines a pivoting time line in history even though it is a fictional short story. This story took place in 1946 in the time when all the men would be at war and the women would be in factories making all the weapons and equipments that they would need. The women were the focal point in that era because they ensured that the men overseas were well equipped to be at war. The story was set in the summer of ’46 and had numerous place settings in which the conflict took place.

The main characters of the story are Mr. Johnson and his wife Mae. Mr. Johnson’s love and fondness for his wife was a true testimony in this story. It also brought about the mere fact of racism and a man’s own conscience and mind playing tricks on him. LIKE A WINDING SHEET Like a Winding Sheet, written by Ann Petry in 1945, is a story that begins with a black man's tough day at work, but takes a twisted turn. Johnson comes home after a hard day planning to kick his feet up and enjoy a relaxing evening at home with his wife, Mae.

The bad sense of humour Mae possesses begins to send Johnson over the edge and suddenly, something in him snaps. Johnson brutally beats his wife, quite possibly killing her. This story is very shocking, exposing to us a reality of our society, racism. In this essay I will try to show you that racism, specially in the United-States, can be a source for an imprisonment feeling for individuals, in this case, the bl In Ann Petry’s 1945 short story "Like a Winding Sheet,". Johnson is a black male struggling with racism and societal pressures. Johnson faces many challenges.

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As one reads, one cannot help but feel his anger, frustration and tenseness. Petry tells it in the following way, "The knowledge that he had struck her seeped through him slowly and he was appalled but he couldn’t drag his hands away from her face. " Petry goes on further to tell us, "He had lost all control over his hands. " This rage Johnson is experiencing is described as a "winding sheet". Johnson’s everyday routine causes anger and frustration to build up inside him. Get up, go to work and come home; get up, go to work and come home. ... are reserved to white people.

She sends him an indirect message saying to him that because he is black he does not have the right to enjoy a coffee. This is a prejudice to his liberty and to human equality in general. Again, he cannot do anything about these problems. That day was like any other for John. He was oppressed and disrespected all day and had to take it all in without a word. This pressure might not have shown many effect in the story but the simple fact that John tightens up his knuckles at each of these stressing events shows us that all the anger he feels is kept inside him.

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Reflection Essay on Like a Winding Sheet. (2018, Sep 14). Retrieved from

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