“A Sorrowful Woman” & “The Story of an Hour”
The sadness and unhappiness displayed by both of the married women in “A Sorrowful Woman” and “The Story of an Hour” shows that marriage does not always bring the typical ending of most fairy tales. Thus being living happily ever after. It is evident that both of these women feel trapped in their marriages as many people feel today. Growing up with eight sisters I have also seen this feeling of entrapment in the world as well. In both of these stories the women display such a lack of love towards their spouses and in fact in “The Story of an Hour” it seems as though Mrs. Mallard never really loved her spouse and is the happiest for the hour that she thinks her husband is dead. The woman in “A Sorrowful Woman” is never satisfied with her marriage and life and feels trapped as well. The bizarre thing is that both of these women end up dead and do not find a way to get help or to get out of the marriages. The authors of these two stories Kate Chopin and Gail Goodwin both tie the unhappiness of these women to the way in which society impacts ones marriage.
First of all, 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 nameless protagonist has what seems to be such a desirable life. She has a “durable, receptive, gentle” husband and a “tender golden three” son (189) “He was attuned to her; he understood such things” (189). This statement leads one to believe that her husband always understood her. It also seems that 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 heart trouble, “great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death” (18). By setting up such nice environments where the two protagonists live, the authors keep readers away from the thought that...
Cited: Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Thinking and Writing About Literature. Michael Mayer. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001. 18-20.
Goodwin, Gail. “A Sorrowful Woman.” Thinking and Writing About Literature. Michael Mayer. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001. 189-193.
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