Compare and Contrast Protagonists from "The Way Up to Heaven" and "The Story of an Hour"

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Many intriguing characters in literature are devised from the apprehension women have encountered with men in the institution of marriage. Although portrayed differently, marriage is perceived as a constraint to the protagonists. This has been presented very well in “The Way Up To Heaven” penned by Roald Dahl who blatantly critiques the accepted societal roles of women in the mid-twentieth century and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin who highlights a woman’s plight in the 19th century. This is not only painted through the events of the stories, but also through the way each protagonist evolves into a dynamic character. The two main characters in these stories show many similarities, but they are also remarkably different in the ways…show more content…
Foster. As dejected as she may be, Dahl does not fail to reveal that, “Mrs. Foster was and always had been a good and loving wife” (p. 1) and had “served him loyally and well.” (p. 1). The phrase “was and always” insinuates that Mrs. Foster constantly and unfalteringly conducted her domestic duties. However, it does seem clear that she was not happy with the idea of remaining in the household dominion for as long as she lives. In like manner, Mrs. Mallard’s marriage did not permit her to speak her mind. The line, “there would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence” (p. 2), illuminates Mrs. Mallard’s view on the institution of marriage. She was never allowed to reveal her feelings, or to show or use her own strength of character; in lieu she had to oppress them. The Story of an Hour also hints that Mr. Mallard, a typical husband of his zenith, dominated his wife who recognizes self-assertion as the “strongest impulse of her being!” (p. 2). It is evident that both women craved for freedom and to create their own self-identity. What differentiates these two characters is the means to obtain emancipation. Dahl sets a path for the reader to walk with Mrs. Foster and experience her emotional instability increasing as the clock ticks. Two of her thoughts are particularly important as Dahl explains her relationship with her husband. The first is that she “did not really wish to live out her days in a place where

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