Kate Chopin's “The Story of an Hour” and Gail Godwin’s “A Sorrowful Woman” are similar pieces of literary work. Both stories offer a revealing glimpse of extremely unhappy marriages due to being forced into stereotypical roles. Both stories portray women, who are trapped in their marriages and trapped in their socially expected matriarchal characters. They are identified by their role as a wife and mother.
Women are taught from a young age that marriage is the end all be all in happiness, in the short story “The Story of An Hour” by Kate Chopin and the drama “Poof!” by Lynn Nottage, we learn that it is not always the case. Mrs. Mallard from “The Story of an Hour” and Loureen from “Poof!” are different characteristically, story-wise, and time-wise, but share a similar plight. Two women tied down to men whom they no longer love and a life they no longer feel is theirs. Unlike widows in happy marriages Loureen and Mrs., Mallard discover newfound freedom in their respective husband’s deaths. Both stories explore stereotypical housewives who serve their husbands with un-stereotypical reactions to their husband’s deaths.
In “Desiree’s Baby” and “The Story of an Hour” there are two distinguishable women who are dependent on and controlled by their husbands both physically and emotionally. In “The Story of an Hour” Mrs. Mallard is restricted by the institution of marriage while, in “Desiree’s Baby” Desiree is confined to her husband because of her dependency on him.
Women in history stood best known for a less ascendant sex in the mid-nineteen centuries. Since times have gone by women had fought for their equal rights and freedom. There had been many stereotypes, where the women were considered as a slave to the men’s because the women’s position was to be the homemakers and a mother to their children, while the men’s are out socializing with others. If they were not happy with the marriage, they cannot just walk out or complain because a women role is to endure all these pains without a word coming out of their mouths. Two out of the ordinary short stories, “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Story of An Hour,” mostly focused on a women’s dilemma that they faced near the 19th century. The two main characters in the short stories show some resemblances in some ways, but both characters portrayed them in different ways of how they dealt their sorrows in their marriages.
“Once upon a time there was a wife and mother one too many times” (Godwin 39). This short story begins with the famous opening, once upon a time, which foreshadows that the story line will be similar to a fairy tale. It raises expectations for the story that all will be magical and end happily. A typical modern-day fairy tale is that of a distressed character who overcomes an obstacle, falls in love with prince charming, and they ride off into the sunset; living happily ever after never to be heard from again. Godwin however, puts an unexpected twist on “A Sorrowful Woman”. This short story is a tale about what can happen when everyday roles take over our identity. Ultimately, this short story challenges societal expectations of marriage
Throughout the story she struggles to figure out which details are important to convey the emotional distress she feels. The narrator opens the story by saying “The year I began to say Vahz instead of Vase, a man I barely knew nearly accidentally killed me”. In this quote she is comparing the mundane and trivial, to a tragedy very few people face.This demonstrates that she is unstable because she doesn’t know where the severity of her situation lies. Her use of the words “... barely knew nearly accidentally...”so close together shows that she’s hesitant to move on from the mundane, and accept the fact that she was almost killed. As she struggles to understand what happened to her, she over and under exaggerates to get her truth across. After describing the accident she says “The five days they didn’t know if they could save my leg or not I stretched to ten”. She exaggerates and changes the details of what happened to her because she wants to cope with the trauma she’s experienced by garnering the sympathy that comes with the higher number. because it happened to her she has to exaggerate the anguish she felt because even though five days is a very long time to be uncertain about a leg staying attached but when
There are different ways to tell a story. In this book, the stories are written from the father, the mother, the son and daughter’s point of view. The short story “Labour Pains” is about Morley, the wife of Dave who is pregnant. It is written in Morley’s point of view, although Dave is mentioned a lot in the story. This story was funny because Dave seemed to be more stressed than his wife. Dave’s stress is relatable
A life as a wife and/or a mother, is usually appreciated and is a happy life as well. A relationship between two people should consist of joy, commitment, responsibility, and most importantly love. For the two main characters in both stories ( “The Story of An Hour”, and “A Sorrowful Woman” ) this was not the case. The stories go against societies view with marriage roles and happiness.
In the story “A Secret Sorrow”, a woman by the name of Faye is battling a traumatic accident. The reference of the car accident sets the reader up for the tone of the story. In the beginning of chapter 11, Faye is very fragile woman. Something is making her feel distraught. When reading the first sentence “feel the blood drain from her face” (Van Der Zee 28) and “thought she was going to faint” (28), its not clear what permanent internal injury Faye has, as stated in the preface. In the following few paragraphs the author wrote, “clutched at him for support, fighting for control” and “legs were shaking so badly”. These descriptive statements of
Charlotte Perkins “The Yellow Wallpaper” gives the reader a profound look by using characterization at a wife who is attempting to overcome postpartum depression after the birth of her newborn. The woman thinks she is severely ill, but her physicians, (her brother and John her husband) describe the woman to have “a slight hysterical tendency” (Perkins 1). Her physicians think it is best to keep the new mother locked up in a room with yellow wallpaper and to have little to no interactions. The woman has no say in what she thinks is in her best interest to recover from her depression. The woman says “excitement and change would be good, but what do I know” (1).
“The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is a story that surrounds many different topics. The narrator is living in a time period where women were looked down upon and mental illnesses were misunderstood. The narrator of the story suffers from post-partum depression and is recording her journey in a journal. Her husband, the typical man at the time, put her on “the rest cure,” as he believed that mental illnesses should be treated like physical illnesses. He brings her to a house far away from other people and makes her stay in the nursery. The nursery had shabby yellow wallpaper which sickened her, but intrigued her at the same time. The rest cure was basically confinement, both physically and mentally. She was deprived of
"The Story of an Hour" involves one married couple and when the wife, Mrs. Mallard, hears her husband has died in a railroad disaster she breaks down into tears. Moments after sitting in her chair weeping she begins to feel free to do as she wants now that he has passed on. As she approaches the stairs in her home the door opens and her husband stands alive and well. When the doctors arrive they say Mrs. Mallard ."..had died of a heart disease-of joy that kills." In both of these short stories the wives seem to share the foul qualities of selfishness, unfaithfulness and confusion.
The short story, "Regret," by Kate Chopin is about a childless spinster who accepts the responsibility of caring for a neighbor's four young children while their mother is away. The main idea of the story is that even though independent people like Mamzelle Aur'elie become used to living alone, they still need affection and human intimacy.
Good literature, although hard to define, is most times determined by whether a particular literary work is able to make one think or feel. A Secret Sorrow written by Karen van der Zee, and ¨A Sorrowful Woman,¨ written by Gail Godwin, are two pieces of literature that are debatably good, by this definition. I personally believe that ¨A Sorrowful Woman¨ was the better of the two due to its realism and thought provoking plot. The first story, written by Karen, is very stereotypical, the plot being somewhat predictable and the tone rather light. However, the second story, written by Gail, is quite the opposite; it takes on a more realistic approach and holds a darker tone. The stories are those that greatly contrast each other, their similarities almost completely lost to the dramatically different plots and tones. Yet, three particular topics of interest within these conflicting stories that have both differences and similarities are those of the female protagonists, children, and the overall tone of each story.