The Story of an Hour’ and ‘The Storm’ – Women in Literature Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

The Storm and The Story of an Hour illustrate the viewpoints of women’s restriction in marriage. The two stories have a number of similarities and dissimilarities. As such, the leading casts in the two stories are women. The women try to discover their liberation from the male dominated society. In doing so, they experience triumphant and tragic events. The paper below compares and contrasts two short stories with the aim of expressing the themes of marriage’s restriction on women.

In the two short stories, Calixta and Louise play the key characters. Both women are married and are not happy with their family roles. Through the two women’s experiences, the author illustrate on the theme of restriction in marriage. The women desire to attain their independence. The Storm centers on the theme of women’s sexual liberation. Chopin writes,” Calixta’s first free breath ever since she was married restored the pleasing freedom of her maiden days” (The Storm 563). The above imply that Calixta current life is miserable. In contrast, The Story of an Hour focuses on the effects of restrictive marriages on women. In the short story, immediately Louise hears the news about the death of her spouse she learns that she is more self-reliant. Chopin indicates that Louise murmurs, “Free, free, free” (The Story of an Hour 556). The above indicate that Louise perceives life without her husband as a freedom.

A different element the author utilizes in the two writings is tone. In the writings, Chopin presents somber and sympathetic tones. The tone in The Storm is sympathetic. The author states, “Calixta is a slightly fuller of figure compared to when she was some few years ago” (The Storm 558). In the paragraph, Chopin shows that before Calixta got married, she was healthier and happier. The author asserts that she is a woman of vivacious character (The Storm 559). Through the above illustrations, the author emphasizes about women’s sufferings in marriage using imagery. The stylistic device enables the readers to visualize the sufferings in their minds. On the other hand, The Story of an Hour’s tone is somber. The characters’ experiences in the short story are gloomy. Chopin illustrates that following Mallard’s death “Josephine notifies Louise of the terrible news” (The Story of an Hour 556). Thereafter, Louise locks herself indoors to mourn the death of her spouse.

The settings of the two short stories are distinctive. In the writings, the author assesses the women’s perceptions and roles about marriages. Through the analysis, Chopin accuses the society for its continuous close mindedness in an age that considers morality as a feature. She notes, “The society was agreeable” (The Storm 563). Similarly, she comes up with outlooks that are more rational between the females and males of her time. The Story of an Hour transpires in a period where men dominate their marriages. Chopin writes that after the death of Mallard “Louise would live for herself” (The Story of an Hour 556). During this period, females have no legal or fiscal rights. The death of her husband leads to her liberation.

Additional element utilized in the short stories is irony. The Storm illustrates irony in the effect of the extramarital relationship between Calixta and Alcee. The author illustrates a situational irony contrary to the reader’s expectation. At the beginning of the short story, the reader postulates that the two characters will never separate (The Storm 557). Similarly, after the two characters engage in extramarital affairs, the reader expects their relationship with their partners would deteriorate. However, at the end of the short story Calixta and Alcee’s relationship with their spouses enhances. The story ends on a positive mood despite the challenges experienced by the characters. Chopin illustrates, “So the storm ended and everybody was contented” (The Storm 563). In The Story of an Hour, it is ironical for the author to illustrate that Mr. Mallard is dead. Notably, the news spread by Richard and Louise’s sister about the dead of Mallard are not factual. At the end of the short story, it is ironical to note that Louise dies at the sight of her husband whom she had earlier presumed to be dead. Chopin writes, “When the medics arrived they said Louise had died of heart disease” (The Story of an Hour 556).

Another element used in the two short stories is allusions. In the two short stories, the author presents a number of characters from different settings and background. Despite the fact that the two short stories are from different settings, the reader should note that they have similar themes. Following Mallard’s death, Chopin states that Louise “recognized the strongest impulse of her being” (The Story of an Hour 556). Similarly, Chopin indicates that over time Calixta “had been broken with passion” (The Storm 560). As such, in the writings the themes of marriage restrictions on women are prominent. In The awakening, Chopin presents the unconventional views on sexuality and femininity with the dominant societal perceptions. In chapter six, Edna came to terms with the above perceptions when she recognizes individual roles (The awakening 113). The author expresses allusion through the characters’ experiences in the writings by more often calling the themes without explicitly mentioning them.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. The awakening. Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia Library, 1997. Print.

—. “The Storm.” The Norton anthology of American literature. 8th ed.Ed. Nina Baym. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. 557-563. Print.

—. “The Story of an Hour.” The Norton anthology of American literature. 8th ed.Ed. Nina Baym. New York: W.W.Norton, 2012. 555-556. Print.

Edwards, Bradley C.. “Kate Chopin in the Twenty-First Century: New Critical Essays.” American Literary Realism 43.1 (2010): 89-91. Print.

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