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Norton Introduction to Literature - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class 27 March 2012 1. What can you tell about the narrator in this story? What effect does this narrator have on how we understand what is happening? The narrator of this story understands how women feel during the nineteenth century. The nineteenth century is a time when women do not have civil rights, a time when they are treated as secondary citizens and inferior to men’s character and intellect…
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Norton Introduction to Literature

Download file to see previous pages... Birds are symbols for freedom and entrapment. Marriage and womanhood are cages for women. Also, just by being a woman, women can hardly flex their wings and do as they please. But birds can also be freed, like what Louise feels after her husband died. Furthermore, the narrator also illuminates the oppression of women inside the institution of marriage. Louise only feels genuine freedom as a widow, because her mind screams: “Free! Body and soul free!” (Chopin). This statement emphasizes that marriage has imprisoned her body and soul. The narrator then shares what marriage means for nineteenth-century women: a life without liberties and without liberties, there is no happiness. 2. Choose one of the main characters of this story. What can we learn about this character from the details given in the story? Does the character change from the beginning to end of the story? Is this a positive or negative character--and how do you know this from the story? Give details. The main character of the story is Mrs. Mallard. Based on the details of the story, Mrs. Mallard does not own her life. She does not even have a first name in the beginning of the story, since she is introduced as Mrs. Mallard. Only in the end do readers learn that her first name is Louise. This mission of detail regarding one’s identity underscores that as a married woman, she is not an independent individual. She is only seen as someone who is married, someone under Brent Mallard. The character also changes from beginning to end. At first, Mrs. Mallard is the typical woman who must be treated with gentleness: “Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death” (Chopin). It seems that she is a fragile person, which is a perception provide to women in early times. Later on, however, inside her room, she realizes the opportunities that await her, because she is already a widow. Louise receives an epiphany of her future life: “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life.” Spring stands for a beautiful life, a life with no will imposed upon her. She transforms into an empowered woman with complete control of her whole life. For me, Louise is a positive character, because she is only like every other human being, someone who wants to be free after being controlled for a long time. She feels happiness over her freedom per se, and not because she wants her husband to die. In her mind, she drinks the “elixir of life,” because she has not tasted that in her marriage. It is also understandable then for her to die when she sees her husband. Death is her only key to the elixir of life she just enjoyed. She knows that if she goes back to her married life, she will forever feel empty, for she will never be free in her marriage. 3. What role does the setting play in this story? What can you say about how it furthers the plot or the effect on the reader? What are the details that allow you to "see" one of the scenes in this story? The setting is important because it stands for the setting of every woman trapped in a patriarchal marriage. The setting furthers the plot by ensuring that readers feel how it is to be imprisoned in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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