As For Me and My House has been read as a documentary about the Depression, an unreliable narrative by a deceived and self-deceiving wife, and a narrative of gender, power, and creativity, to name only a few recent approaches. It has rarely been read seriously as what it purports to be: a story about the consequences of unbelief. Sinclair Ross had himself been offered the chance to attend university if he would commit to becoming a minister and had refused; his imagining of what such a life could become was the germ of the novel. I read the narrative as a sustained account of the loss of God in which misplaced yearning for the infinite (for an immortal art in Philip’s case and a transcendent love in his wife’s) condemns the two main characters to loneliness and self-loathing. Examining the novel’s biblical references and images-from its ironic title to its motif of idol worship-I explore how the problem of meaning without faith is at the heart of the novel’s resonance and enduring interest.
Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.