Professor Mark A. Shultz
English 221X: Writing About Literary Types
March 31, 2005
"The Story of an Hour" & "A Sorrowful Woman"
The authors Kate Chopin and Gail Godwin use literary elements to define more fully a theme or central message. Marriage does not always bring people the happiness that they expect. A countless number of people today feel trapped in their own marriages. Mrs. Mallard in Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" and the unnamed character in Gail Godwin's "A Sorrowful Woman" are among those who experience this. For the character in "The Story of an Hour," at only one point in her marriage did Mrs. Mallard feel truly happy, and that was when she was told about her husband's death. For the female protagonist in "A Sorrowful Woman," her marriage and role as a mother was torture for her.
Both of the women are imprisoned in their own marriages and even more so in their own minds, which eventually lead them to death. Successfully describing their main characters' developments of feelings, Kate Chopin and Gail Godwin, two authors from two different time periods, point out that the conflict between society and individuals is the cause of the sadness and tragedy of marriage.
Through the settings of their stories, both of the authors suggested that social expectations be the real causes of their protagonists' deaths. In "A Sorrowful Woman," the unnamed character seems to have a desirable life. She has a "durable, receptive, gentle" husband and a "tender golden three" son (Godwin, 35). "He was attuned to her; he understood such things" indicates that her husband always understood her (Godwin, 35). He is willing to sacrifice his time for her and their family. Mrs. Mallard, in "The Story of an Hour," is in a similar environment. Knowing that she has a heart trouble, "great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death" (Chopin, 12). Her friends and her family... [continues]
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