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Comparison of Characters in “Story of an Hour” and “Chrysanthemums” Essay example

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How does one compare the life of women to men in late nineteenth century to mid-twentieth century America? In this time the rights of women were progressing in the United States and there were two important authors, Kate Chopin and John Steinbeck. These authors may have shown the readers a glimpse of the inner sentiments of women in that time. They both wrote a fictitious story about women’s restraints by a masculine driven society that may have some realism to what women’s inequities may have been. The trials of the protagonists in both narratives are distinctive in many ways, only similar when it totals the macho goaded culture of that time. Even so, In Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing we hold two unlike fictional characters in two very different short stories similar to Elisa Allen in the “Chrysanthemums” and Mrs. Louise Mallard in “The Story of an Hour”, that have unusual struggles that came from the same sort of antagonist.
Every part of each lead character’s personality and physicality are different, yet the two authors, almost a generation apart in age, wrote showing these characters facing a similar fight against a woman’s place in society. The narrator describes Louise Mallard in paragraph eight physically, as "young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength" (Chopin 169). This depiction has an underlining meaning as repression bounded by society. This bias among men and women has tailored its restraints within her and has given her a stronger look. “The Story of an Hour” was written when women could not yet vote in the United States. The best status for her might have been to be married at that time. Steinbeck descripts Elisa Allen in pa...


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...les by a similar antagonist.
Both stories show the characters inequality with their lives as women bound to a society that discriminates women. The two stories were composed in different time frames of the women’s rights movement; it reveals to the readers, that society was not quite there in the fair treatment towards the mothers, daughters, and wives of United States in either era. Inequality is the antagonist that both authors created for the characters. Those experiences might have helped that change in mankind to carve a path for true equality among men and women.



Works Cited
Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." Kennedy and Gioia 228-237.
Kennedy, X.J. and Dana Gioia, eds. Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 4th ed. NewJersey: Pearson, 2012. Print.
Steinbeck, John. "The Chrysanthemums." Kennedy and Gioia 168-170.



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