“Rope” by Katherine Anne Porter Summary, Plot Synopsis

Rope by Katherine Anne Porter SummaryPlot Synopsis
Rope Summary: Katherine Anne Porter

“Rope” is a short story by Katherine Anne Porter, first published in 1928 and appearing in her 1930 collection Flowering Judas. It’s about a married couple who are adjusting to life in the country. When the man brings home a coil of rope from the store, it sets off an argument. Here’s a summary of “Rope”.

“Rope” Summary

A couple had moved to the country three days ago. The man returns from the village with groceries and a coil of rope. He’s forgotten the coffee, which his wife really wanted.

She doesn’t understand why he would buy rope. They don’t need it for anything and money is tight. Some of the eggs have been broken. She blames the rope, but he claims he was carrying it in his other hand.

Now, she has to scramble the eggs for supper instead of the meat that she wanted. He tries to smooth things over but she’s in too bad a mood.

They argue over where to store the rope and where the hammer and nails should be kept. She doesn’t want them in the kitchen when there are so many other rooms.

She’s despondent over everything they need to make the house decent. She wants to be left alone for a while. This escalates into threats of him leaving and not coming back.

She brings up the summer he was away and left all the house chores to her. He was working and sending her money, which she agreed with at the time. She, and his great-grandmother, suspected a woman was involved. She said she was happy with him gone, but only meant happy to get the house ready for him.

“Rope” Summary, Cont’d

She wants him to get the rope out of sight and go back for the coffee. She lists a few other items she could use, as well. He’s going right now, which will leave her to lug out the mattresses to sun by herself. They disagree on how much help he gives around the house when she’s also working outside the home. She laughs at him until she cries. He tries to pour water on her head but she pulls away and runs upstairs.

He’s upset at her lack of reason. He could exchange the rope, but he wants it. She doesn’t care about his feelings. He hides the rope behind a large stone on the road, intending to put it in his toolbox when he returns.

She’s at the post box when he returns. He can smell boiled meat. She waves at him from a distance and says supper is ready. She looks young and fresh. He waves the coffee at her.

She sees the rope. He claims he forgot to exchange it, but she doesn’t think he should if he wants it.

She sees a bird in a tree, out of season. Maybe its girl stood it up. They walk toward the house with their arms around each other, smiling. She feels very fondly toward him; if she’d had her coffee this morning she wouldn’t have been so out of sorts. They both know how she is.

I hope this summary of “Rope” by Katherine Anne Porter was helpful.