Restraints of Society

Topics: Marriage, Life, Short story Pages: 6 (1124 words) Published: October 22, 2008
Restraints of Society

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...
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