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An Hour of Happiness - Essay Example

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Summary
The short stories under analysis depict three different women faced with casualties of life. The authors depict that the role of women is limited by social conditions and low social status as a result of male dominance and oppression. The authors create bright women characters suffered from male dominance and oppression Thesis The secondary role and low status of the protagonists made them victims of social norms and prejudices, and force the women to escape realities of life looking for better days and happiness.
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An Hour of Happiness The short stories under analysis depict three different women faced with casualties of life. The depict that the role of women is limited by social conditions and low social status as a result of male dominance and oppression. The authors create bright women characters suffered from male dominance and oppression Thesis The secondary role and low status of the protagonists made them victims of social norms and prejudices, and force the women to escape realities of life looking for better days and happiness.
From the very beginning of the short stories, the protagonists are depicted as motionless and depressed characters. The "Yellow Wallpaper" depicts the savage way of treatment a wife by her husband, physician. For a long time, the husband does not take into account psychical state of his wife supposing it is nothing more than a fake. The woman feels insignificance and unimportance of her social status which leads her to great psychic diseases. In "I stand here ironing" the life of the heroin is marked by poverty and dislocation caused by the years of Great Depression. She represents a working class woman who had to work hard all her life to earn for living. The woman understands that there is a great wall between her daughter and her as a result of misunderstanding and hardship they have endured. The mother recollects "After a while I found a job, hashing at night so I could be with her days" (Olsen, 1971). Chopin portrays inner conflict of Mrs. Mallard personality suffered from oppression and limited and disregarded social status. Form the very beginning, Mrs. Mallard is depicted as a woman who lacks vividness natural for women of her age. The illness of Mrs. Mallard represents the emptiness of her soul: "There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature" (Chopin, n.d.).
Using events and story conflict, the authors depict evolution of spirit and will of the characters. The evolution of Mrs. Mallard is caused by the death of her husband. This is the long-waited chance for her to be independent and free from his control. Chopin depicts that "there was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory" (Chopin, n.d.). Chopin demonstrates the fact that Mrs. Mallard has come to conclusion that she wants to be a single woman, but this desire would never be realized unless her husband dies. Ironically, only the death allows her to be free from social oppression. In "Yellow Wallpaper" Gilman symbolically compares a marriage with a "prison" underlining that only a state of insanity helps the woman to be free. The protagonist describes, ""I've got out at last," said I, "in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!" (Gilman, 1999). This episode represents that her marriage life leaves no space for personal development and expression, and it was the only chance for the woman to survive. Throughout the story, Gilman depicts the evolution of the character from a woman with "temporary nervous depression -- a slight hysterical tendency" (Gilman, 1999) to strong female able to protest and "fight" for personal freedom and happiness. The elderly woman in "I stand here ironing" seems a stable character who is not able to change her life for better, but the evolution of her personality is depicted through memories and personal values. Olsen describes that mother -daughter relations differ greatly from an ideal one influenced by poverty and lack of money. In spite of this fact, losing a connection with Emily, her mother tries to find goodness in her beloved child. She asks herself: "What in me demanded that goodness in her And what was the cost, the cost to her of such goodness" (Olsen, 1971). At the end of the story the elderly woman understands that a person could be free and happy sharing love with other people and her daughter in particular. She regrets about pointless years and her second marriage when she suffered from enormous emotional burden and work overload.
In sum, the development of characters reflects inner psychological state of the heroines and help readers to grasp the idea at once, to follow plot development and conflict resolution. The evolution and changing role of women is forced by inner struggle and great desire to be free and happy at least one hour in their life.

References
Chopin, K. "The story of an Hour". N.d. Electronic Library. Available at: http://www.pbs.org/katechopin/library/storyofanhour.html
1. Gilman, Ch.. P. The Yellow Wallpaper, University Press of Virginia; 1st University Press of Virginia ed edition, 1999.
2. Olsen, T. "I stand here ironing". In Tell Me a Riddle. Delta; Reissue edition. 1971, pp. 3-12. Read More
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