Essay The Death of Mrs. Sinico in "a Painful Case"

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Mrs. Sinico's character is not the main character in the story. We read the story mostly from the point of view, thoughts and inspirations of Mr. Duffy, thus he is the main source through which we can observe her character, along side with other sources, such as her family and after her death, from a newspaper article and witnesses: " The deceased had been in the habit of crossing the lines late at night from platform to platform...", "Captain Sinico, of Leoville, Sydney Parade, husband of the deceased, also gave evidence... They had been married for twenty-two years and had lived happily until about two years ago when his wife began to be rather intemperate in her habits"; "Miss Mary Sinico said that of late her mother had been in the …show more content…
From his description of her face, we get a glimpse of their entire relationship. "Her face, which must have been handsome, had remained intelligent" (120). Her appearance is not as important to him as her intellect - the base of their later relationship. He also notices the fact that "she seemed so little awkward" (120). He notices in her eyes "a defiant note" but also "a temperament of great sensibility" (120). The way her eyes are described, as if a battle is happening there, suggests maybe on an uneven person, maybe a clue to what will come later in her death. We know that she is married and has a daughter. We learn that she is alone most of the time "As the husband was often away and the daughter out giving music lessons..." (121), and that the relationship between her and her husband is not close: "Captain Sinico encouraged his visits... He had dismissed his wife so sincerely" (121). From his description of their relationship in the newspaper article "had lived happily", we understand how oblivious he was to the fact that she wasn't happy.

Mr. Duffy and Mrs. Sinico's relationship begins from an accidental meeting in the theater. Joyce describes their relationship on two levels. Mrs. Sinico is the one who first addresses him, and Mr. Duffy "took [her] remark as an invitation to talk" (120), and by their second meeting he "seized the moments when her daughter's attention was diverted to