Themes Comparison

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Themes Comparison


For generations young women have been sitting in classrooms reading Kate Chopin's ground breaking works. Though most praise her for her innovative feminist ideals, some argue that her work was disrespectful to the institution of marriage. These opinions may have had some merit in the time period they were written (late 1800's.) But in modern society, Ms. Chopin's work is cherished as one of the cultural catalysts for women's rights.

Kate Chopin's short stories, published in contemporary popular magazines, won her fame as a local colorist with a good ear for dialect and as a writer concerned with women's issues (sexuality, equality, independence) (Allen, Pp. 48).

The Stories

The Story of an Hour

This questioning though humorous attitude is strongly evident in one of Chopin's most anthologized and best-known tales, “The Story of an Hour” (1894). Mrs. Mallard, a woman suffering from a heart condition, is told that her husband has been killed in a train accident. She is at first deeply sorrowful, but soon realizes that even though she had loved and will mourn her husband, his death has set her free.

The Storm

The story concerns four characters from an earlier tale, “At the 'Cadian Ball” (1892). In that earlier story, a young woman, Clarisse, rides out in the night to the 'Cadian Ball to declare her love for the planter Alcée Laballière. Alcée is at the ball with an old girlfriend of his, Calixta, a woman of Spanish descent (Peggy, Pp. 11).

Theme and Analysis

The basic theme used in the two stories is the sexual element that makes a woman cross her limits.

Both women from “The Storm” and “The Story of an Hour” have very intriguing personalities. In the case of Calixta, she is alone in her house, awaiting the return of her husband Bobinot and her son Bibi from their trip to Friedheimer's store. A fierce, and tumultuous storm keeps the two from coming sooner and at the same time, Calixta rekindled an relationship with her past lover Alcee until the storm had passed over. Mrs. Mallard, on the other hand, is told by her sister and her husband's friend Richard, of her husband's untimely demise in a railroad disaster. She mourned of her husband's passing but as she went up the flight of stairs into her room, Mrs. Mallard came to realize of her newfound freedom. She soon relished her liberation from her marriage to her husband Brently. Such freedom was short-lived, and as she her eyes caught sight of her husband's entrance into the house, her heart gave way and she died. The two women do indeed share some similarities but also at the same time show various differences that make their respective situations unique (Alice, Pp. 66). 

Among the similarities between Calixta and Mrs. Mallard are the conditions of their marriages around the time of the stories: Calixta to Bobinot and Mrs. Mallard with Brently Mallard. From the text given in both short stories and the subtext in between the lines, Calixta and Mrs. Mallard were not satisfied with ...
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