Struggles for Release

2182 Words9 Pages
The two American short stories, “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne both portrays a similar theme. The two protagonists in both short stories suffer mental or emotional torture and was trap in a literary cage. In addition, both characters in the stories meet death in the end, and that death symbolizes their freedom from the world and society that was grasping on to them. A main topic of American short stories that constantly shows up since the earlier years, and is presented throughout history is the emphasis on society and how it creates emotional and mental tortures in an individual, and imparts them with a different perspective of the world. The society that people live in has an enormous effect on them, and the way they live their lives. The protagonist in “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, Louise Mallard, suffers from the society she lives in because of its expectations of marriage. After her husband’s supposed death, ironically, Louise feels relief and joy, for she has found a way to escape society’s restraints, “A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination” (Chopin 316). The society in which Mrs. Mallard belongs to forces her to lose her freedom, a freedom she yearned for in the years she was trapped in the marriage. By being confined in a marriage and losing her freedom, Mrs. Mallard reacts in an untypical way when she’s notified of her husband’s supposed death. When Louise is told by her sister, Josephine, that her husband is gone, she cries for a second but ironically rejoices and looks forward to the years ahead and hopes that she will live a long life, “She breathed a quick ... ... middle of paper ... character who were trapped in the cage, finally gets released and escapes through death. Both Louise Mallard and Goodman Brown suffer from emotional or mental torture that is exerted by their society and their expectations. Also, both main characters in Chopin’s and Hawthorne’s writing was similar in that they both seek for a better life than what the society they live in offer them. Louise Mallard yearned for freedom when her society limits independence for women through the expectations of conjoining in marriage. At the same time, Goodman Brown seeks for a society where mankind has no evil wills and all are innocent, but society is inherently sinful since the time of Adam and Eve. The protagonists suffer in their time and era, but in the end they both free their souls from the clutch of society and liberate themselves from their emotional and mental tortures.
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