Compare and Contrast The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin and A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

Compare and Contrast The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin and A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

The world of literature is quite impressive and engrossing. Among the list of works discussed during the course, there were two prominent and vivid pieces of literature to analyze, mainly Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin and A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner because these authors share the similar themes in their works of fiction. This paper presents the analysis of the current two works of fiction by comparing and contrasting them and identifying the elements of fiction used in the works.
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“Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

Primarily, it is necessary to note the definition of works of fiction. According to the dictionary, these works are stories written about unreal people or events imagined by the writer (“Fiction” n.p.). The narratives were chosen, Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin and A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, describe women with their problems in the society they live in. In the past, women have been considered second-class citizens. Thus, they faced many complicated issues and were repressed. During the post-Civil War Era, due to the Napoleonic Code, husbands supervised women who did not have the permission to do their will without the assent of their males. Each main character from both stories wishes to get freedom in various ways. However, the men present in their lives do not allow these women to make their decisions during the time females live.

In both works of fiction, A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin the authors have used literary elements. These elements are symbolism, foreshadowing, and the substantive meaning of their titles that are necessary for taking the reader to an ironic and unexpected conclusion. From the background of Kate Chopin and William Faulkner, readers can conclude how the authors may describe situations that they faced, such as social and political issues, especially for females at that time.

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As it was mentioned before, the major common feature between the chosen stories is that women are the main characters in A Rose for Emily by Faulkner and The Story of an Hour by Chopin. Both females, Emily and Mrs. Mallard in these short stories are connected by the results that society expected of them. The same idea is illustrated in these stories: each woman tries to overtake her freedom by using different ways, however, without any success.

Both Emily and Mrs. Mallard live in societies with the domination of men, and women do not feel free and cannot do or become who they wanted to be. Emily from A Rose for Emily and Louise from The Story of an Hour live in the conditions that their family and society have placed on them. Their only wish is to find a way to gain their freedom.

The first difference between these two stories is the time described in these works of fiction. Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin lasts only one hour while A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner describes the actions that have lasted for some years. Thus, readers can see Louise’s life for only one hour and guess about the quality of her life from that time. Emily’s life is presented in the progression; therefore, the reader may notice how unhappy she was all that time. In addition, Mrs. Mallard felt being free for a short moment; she could even cry “Free! Free! Free!” (Chopin 2). On the contrary, Emily, unfortunately, got freedom only after her death.

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As for the elements of fiction, William Faulkner in his story A Rose for Emily has used Gothic tone influenced by the Southern area, Emily’s characterization, and the author’s use of time. The last one is the most skillful element. William Faulkner has divided his story into five sections, where the first and the last parts are dealing with the present time while three middle sections detail the past events. The beginning, as well as the end of the story A Rose for Emily, illustrates Miss Emily’s death. Thus, the narrative starts with the words “When Miss Emily Grierson died” (Faulkner 1). The words of the last section also describe her death “For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound and fleshless grin” (Faulkner 5). Three middle sections present the time after her father’s death and leaving her beau, Homer Barron, to the time of Emily’s death. The author arranged the shifts in time with the aim to develop Gothic horror and explaining the narrative. Such shifts in time are the main key to the understanding of this magnificent story.

In comparison, talking about Chopin’s elements of fiction, it is necessary to admit the irony, foreshadowing, and the environment as a reflection. All these elements have found their culmination in the final words of the story, “she had died of heart disease – of joy that kills” (Chopin 3). There is one more element of fiction such as symbolism in Chopin’s narrative. For instance, Mrs. Mallard’s heart symbolizes her freedom greatly. Louise’s heart pulsates like a bird when she hears about her husband’s death. However, when he unexpectedly returns, it explodes and, as a result, she dies (Chopin 3).

To conclude, both stories are exciting because of their plots and the elements of fiction that Kate Chopin and William Faulkner have used there. The characters Louise from The Story of an Hour and Emily from A Rose for Emily show the reader the process of two fragile and delicate women lost in the world created by society. The authors present women’s limitations by expectations and demands, and in the end, how they were mistaken by their perceptions.

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