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A Critical Analysis of Social Expectation in The Story of an Hour and A Sorrowful Woman - Essay Example

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On the surface level, both Kate Chopin’s “the Story of an Hour” and Gail Goldwin’s story, “A Sorrowful Woman” deal with the protagonists’ reactions to what the society expects from them…
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A Critical Analysis of Social Expectation in The Story of an Hour and A Sorrowful Woman
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Download file to see previous pages The protagonists’ codes of behavior do not necessarily comply with the society’s expectation. Obviously the social expectation in both stories is inherently and intrinsically patriarchal. Therefore, Chopin’s and Goldwin’s protagonists’ reactions to their loving and caring husbands seem to be confusing and eccentric. But a deeper analysis of the two stories will necessarily reveal that the protagonists are not antagonistic to their husbands in a real sense; rather they are in conflict with their societies’ patriarchal expectation. They appear to be in conflict with a society that expects and teaches a woman to assume a role, subordinate and subservient to men, in the name of loyalty. Also such patriarchic expectations maim their freedom irrevocably. In both stories, the protagonists’ husbands are apparently innocent, loving, caring and infallible. But the only plausible reason that underlies the protagonists’ contained detest for their husbands is that these characters are intrinsically the symbol as well as the representative of the trammeling restriction of a male dominated society. Social Expectations in “A Sorrowful Woman” Both Goldwin’s and Chopin’s stories deal with the inherent patriarchy of the institution of marriage. Even the kindest and most loving husband’s presence in a woman’s life can be as oppressive as the unswerving patriarchic social expectation is....
When the husband in Goldwin’s story addresses the protagonist as a “cloistered queen”, his speech ironically refers to the invisible imprisonment of the protagonist: “You look . . . like a cloistered queen” (Goldwin 23). This prison is invisibly built around a woman in Goldwin’s society through the male social expectations. Though Goldwin’s protagonist or the Sorrowful woman is in abundance of the basic needs, she is suffering from an unknown pathogen with apparently peculiar syndrome of hatred for the nearest and dearest ones. Since her imprisonment is invisibly raised by her society’s male expectation, she does not know what should be blamed for her psychological ailment. Even she does not know why she hates her innocent child and caring husband: “What has happened to me. I'm not myself anymore” (Goldwin 22) Goldwin’s protagonist thinks that she is the “luckiest woman" having such a caring husband like hers. Yet she feels sorry because she hates them. Indeed it is the invisible imprisonment, social restrictions and the society’s pressure to remain under her husband’s authority that subconsciously grows the hatred for the objects (her husband and child, in this case) that raise the invisible walls of confinement. Like Goldwin’s heroine, Chopin’s protagonist’s acknowledgement of her husband’s kindheartedness and yet her sense of liberation and freedom at her husband, Mr. Mallard’s probable death essentially show that marriage itself is a patriarchal institution that a woman cannot object to, but accept. Goldwin’s story tells the readers about the patriarchy’s inherent grip on a woman’s life in conjugal life. In the story, the husband has ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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