Since the beginning of time, women have been treated as second class
citizens. Therefore, women were forced to face many problems and because of
this women were repressed. During the post Civil War era, the Napoleonic Code
stated that women were controlled by their husbands and couldn’t freely do their
own will without the authority of their husband. Each character longs for freedom
in a different way, but because of the men in their lives they are unable to make
their own life decisions. In both stories, “The Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin
and “A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner the use of literary elements such as
foreshadowing, symbolism, and the significant meaning of the titles are essential
in bringing the reader to an unexpected and ironic conclusion. From the
background of both authors, who are from the South, we can conclude how they
could describe the situations that they faced such as political and social
presumptions and/or problems especially for women at that time.
In the short stories "The Story of an Hour," by Chopin and "A Rose for
Emily," by Faulkner, the main characters are both female. Both women in these
stories were bound by what society expected of them. Each woman in different
ways tries unsuccessfully to gain her freedom. Emily and Mrs. Mallard live in
male-dominated societies, and none of the women were free to do or be what
they wanted. Louise ("The Story of an Hour") and Emily ("A Rose for Emily") not
only feel but live the demands that society and their family have placed on them.
In Faulkner’s "A Rose for Emily," the title character felt imprisoned by her
life and looked for a way to gain her freedom. Emily must endure her fathers
never ending denial that there is any man suitable for his daughter. Emily was left
alone after her father died, and the townspeople thought that some of her kin
should come to her. Instead Emily lived by herself with only a black male servant.
Mr. Grierson, the father of Emily, prevented her from dating men because he
thought they were not good enough for her. After the death of Emily's father she
decided to date Homer Barron: "a foreman, a Yankee-a big, dark, ready man, a
Northerner, a day laborer," in order to have company and a man that will share
with her his time and will care for her just as her father did (470). When Emily
realized that "Homer was not the marrying man" and that he sometimes paid
more attention to go and drink with his young male companions at the Elks lodge
rather than going out with her, she felt that Homer will eventually leave her
(471). Emily decided to do something in order to not lose him. She bought some
rat poison and gave it to Homer. The Yankee died and she kept his body for over
fifty years in the upstairs room where no one would be able to find it. Emily had
already lost her father; the only male figure she had in her early life. Now she did
not wanted to lose Homer. She thought that the only way of having him by her
side for the rest of her life was by killing him and staying with the corpse.
She closes herself up in the house, never going out and never letting
sunlight seep into the house. The black servant would do all the work, and then if
she needed anything from town, he would pick it up for her. The townspeople did
not think this was proper behavior either. Emily struggles against what society
thought was proper and right for a lady to do and eventually only gained some
kind of freedom by shutting out the rest of the world. And in the end of the story
when they have already taken her body away the people find a single grey hair
on the pillow next to where Homer was laying.
Like Emily, the main character in "The Story of an Hour," Mrs. Mallard,
wants to be free because she feels bound by her marriage and...