In the paper “Short Stories Reflecting Issues in Marriage” the author compares Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour and Guy de Maupassant’s The Necklace. The two stories narrate and probably reflect the cries of the women during the authors’ period…
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In addition, the stories act as peripheries outlining the boundaries of what ambitious women should indulge in, to avoid disgrace or even death. The two stories speak of their main characters’ dreams and aspirations and vividly describe them as they think about their respective dreams. The main characters are both women, married and facing different dilemmas but somehow are related, considering that their problems are about their desires. To Chopin’s Mrs. Mallard, her dream was the satisfaction of an emotional and psychological need while de Maupassant’s Mrs. Loisel dreamed of physical needs which were quite trivial as compared to that of Mrs. Mallard’s. How the stories were told and how the characters were exposed are interesting angles for readers to consider in looking more deeply into the meanings of the stories. The Story of an Hour is narrated by a third person, picturing the life of a woman married to a man who was not mentioned to have abused her in any way, rather treated their marriage life as dictated by norms. Women during the time of the setting were known to be housekeepers, left to attend to children and the household chores. To Mrs. Mallard, the task of staying home was an imposing feature of the male in the house and society; making her feel like a prisoner. This statement is supported by the words of the woman saying “Free, free” and in addition, kept whispering, “Free! Body and soul, free!” This shows that Mrs. Mallard had a longing for freedom which the expectations of people from wives, have silenced during the time of her marriage with her supposedly dead husband. The Necklace, on the other hand, narrates the story on the third person also, of a woman who longed for what the elite French represented. Being beautiful, Madame Loisel, the main character in the story dreamed of things she thought she was worthy to have. Unluckily, she was born in a family of artisans and was married to a clerk who was not able to provide her whims. Her longings, as opposed to that of Mrs. Mallard’s, are of the trivial things like good food, expensive clothing, and jewelry. Invited to a ball which she always dreamed of attending, she forced her husband to provide for a dress that would suit the occasion and her desires. When presented with the problem of jewelry, the husband suggested her to borrow from her friend which she did. Eventually, they were presented with the conflict to resolve and that is, to replace the borrowed necklace as soon as possible, which got lost when they were going home from the ball. With their little means, the husband had to borrow money to produce the payment of a similar jewelry which caused them to be deeply in debt and made them live through hard work for ten years. The style of de Maupassant in telling his story was quite direct, introducing the character with descriptions that created an image of the woman without letting the reader need some imaginations in understanding the character.
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