Analytical Essay on "The Good Corn" by H.E Bates and Turned by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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The short stories, “Turned”, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Good Corn”, by H.E Bates provide strong examples of how the representation of characters influence’s the reader’s perception of a text. Both stories depict similar characters: a middle-aged, childless wife, her husband and an 18-year old girl who works for them. They are both about a similar situation: man cheats on wife with girl and girl falls pregnant. However, the author’s of the text are from very different backgrounds and this is reflected in their stories. Although there are many similarities between “The Good Corn” and “Turned”, the values reflected in these stories, their resolutions and the reader’s perception of them are vastly different due to the contexts of the authors’ and how they constructed their characters.

In both texts, the wives in the stories (Mrs Mortimer and Marion Marroner), are depictions of the author’s idea of the ideal woman. H.E Bates, a traditionalist man living in the early 1950’s portrays Mrs. Mortimer positively as being caring- ‘loving leading a calf’ (pg4), gentle, docile and weak- ‘Whenever a new calf came she cried a little. “The mournful tender glassiness of a cow’s big eyes after birth was something she could not bear” (pg5). Some of these traits are later seen as negative things displayed by Gerta in Turned. Mrs. Mortimer felt her only purpose in life was to have children. This reflected the author’s view that ‘It was a woman’s duty to have children...Not to bear children....was something more to a woman than misfortune” (pg 5). Mrs. Marroner, from ‘Turned’, also embodied the author, Charlotte Gilman’s, idea of a good woman. In fact Mrs Marroner bared many similarities to Gilman herself. They were both well-educated with a PhD, independent and strong in character. It is hinted at that Marroner had wanted children and was unable to conceive. “How they (babies) do come where they are not wanted- and don’t come when they are wanted!” Mrs Marroner ......
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