A Story of an Hour vs The Storm: Compare & Contrast
Back in the nineteenth century, when the prospect of women being equal to men would have repelled the majority, Kate Chopin emerged as a new ‘era’ through her stories in which women were not a mere object for appreciation, but strong and opinionated beings who are not dependable on their husbands or any male figure for that matter.
A Story of an Hour, one of Kate’s short stories, narrates the life of Mrs. Mallard and how she is living a depressed live with her repressed husband and when she is told about his death in a railroad accident, the only thought that enters her is that she is free, but when her husband returns from ‘death’ she dies of a heart attack, which implies that the husband’s return was such an agonizing event that she loses her life. The second story is The Storm; here the author describes a story of sexuality, a topic not openly discussed in the late nineteenth century. The heroine of the novel commits adultery with her former lover, as her husband and son wait in the bakery for the storm to abate. On the other hand, Alcée (lover) writes a letter to his wife, allowing her to remain in Biloxi as long as she wants, which is joyful news for his wife because, even though she is devoted to her husband, she needs to forgo intimacy with him for some time.
Both the stories of Kate Chopin illustrates that women are more than mere extension of their husband’s shadow. They also have the right to dream to plan and to live out their desires without any feeling of guilt and regret. The use of the word free is repetitively used when Mrs. Mallard heard about her husband’s death, shows that she was not mournful of the incident instead, her delight was boundless and great knowing that she was free of the oppressed life and is now has the autonomy to do whatever she likes. It is depicted that like rest of the nineteenth-century women, she does not feel left alone, in misery, or totally lost without the better half.
Similarly, the second story also portrays that the woman is an individual being, without the help of another figure, especially a male figure. More than this, it represents that women should not keep their desires at bay and if they want something, then they should go after it and experience it without feeling any remorse. This particular theme is shown in the scene, where Calixta’s husband returns and gives her canned shrimps to cook and she takes it and casually offers to cook it at night, showing no guilt that minutes before she was committing extramarital affair. Similarly, Alcée’s wife also feels contented when he informs her that she shall take up her time and there is no hurry to join him.
By large, these stories of Chopin shape women to be independent beings, who have every right to pursue their dream and impulses and no rule or law could prevent them from achieving their yearning.