Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

Compare and Contrast Paper, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1013

Essay

Introduction

Employing a deceptively cool approach, both Edith Wharton and Kate Chopin tell stories virtually explosive in human drama. The authors deal with different kinds of human tragedy, certainly, and the force of each story relies on the unique history revealed.  Then, Wharton’s story is an exchange between two old friends, while Chopin’s shorter tale is solely focused on a single woman.   These and other, relatively minor differences aside, however, the stories are remarkably similar, and in a specifically feminine way.   Both reflect the unknown depths of a woman’s experience, and one typically not perceived by men. “roman fever” and “the story of an hour”, despite differences in subject detail and action, powerfully and ironically open hidden worlds of the lives of women to all readers.

Similarities and Differences

The most striking similarity between the two stories, essential subject matter notwithstanding, also reveals a subtle difference.   Wharton and Chopin tell their tales in a dispassionate, removed voice.   Both narrations are omniscient, and third-person, yet there is as well a sense of intimacy conveyed.   If the narrator is unidentified, there is still a distinct feeling that the narrator is connected in an emotional, or at least familiar, way with the subjects of the stories.   This comes through in sympathy, expressed just a little by each writer.  Chopin says of her Mrs. Mallard, who believes herself to be suddenly widowed, “She was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window” (Chopin  548), and this gives an impression of gladness for the woman.   Similarly, Wharton exhibits a kind of removed understanding for her Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley:  “So these two ladies visualized each other, each through the wrong end of her little telescope” (Wharton).   With Chopin, however, there is no need to remain impartial, which seems to be Wharton’s careful strategy.  Chopin has only one woman and one, brief episode to relate, so she paints a picture more colored by sympathy.   There is almost no conversation in “The Story of an Hour” to reveal character; the author, then, supplies shades of her being.  Wharton is better poised to let her women disclose themselves.

Both stories also use the natural atmosphere to, not only set their scenes, but reinforce them.  For each, it seems as though the outside world is deeply connected to what is occurring on internal levels.   For example, Mrs. Mallard goes to be alone in her room when she learns that her husband has been killed, and the window she faces offers a powerful metaphor for the life now available to her:  “The delicious breath of rain was in the air” (Chopin  547).   Breezes stir, birds sing, and the reader sees her just within reach of this fresh, new existence.   Along the same lines, yet in a different direction, Wharton’s natural landscape darkens.  Her women are lingering late on a terrace, enjoying the Italian sky and glorious views.   This scene, however, is not one of promise, but of decline.  Evening is coming:  “The long golden light was beginning to pale” (Wharton), and the open air of the restaurant is closing in on the two ladies, even as they turn in on their own, troubled past.   Here, then, the duality of nature as a metaphor is exemplified by both writers, each using it as her tale requires.

Most crucially, the two stories share a similar theme, that of secrets, and how powerful these are in the lives of women of certain eras.   Wharton’s ladies are privileged New Yorkers on a vacation, and both have clearly maintained a friendship that is actually more of a prolonged acquaintance.  Only later, and almost accidentally, is a history uncovered that points to a bitter rivalry between them, when both were in love with the same man.   This is surprising, but Wharton holds her real twist until the story’s conclusion: “I had Barbara,” (Wharton), Mrs. Ansley mentions in the last line, which informs her old friend of who the child’s father really is.  So, too, does Kate Chopin reserve her final shock for the last line, when Mrs. Mallard dies of shock upon realizing that her husband is alive.   This is obviously an extreme similarity between the two stories, in that the great ironies are held until the very end of each.

At the same time, there is a potent difference to be seen.  Ultimately, Chopin’s character cannot survive the shock of her own episode, and this renders “The Story of an Hour” almost something of a fable.  In a very brief account, a woman’s existence is completely reversed, and then reversed again, and she is killed by the strain.   With Wharton, and in keeping with the expanse of the history between her two ladies, there is more of a sense that even this great surprise will eventually fit into the patterns of life as they know it.   Something monumental has been revealed, yet it is also clear that these are women who adapt, even as they are careful to remain within the boundaries of their privileged life.  In Chopin’s hands, Wharton’s women might have become violent; similarly, Wharton might have left Mrs. Mallard alive, to confront all over again her life with a man she was glad to see gone.   What finally unites both stories, however, is the intensely feminine perspectives of them.   In each, it is the life of women apart from men that is revealed.

Conclusion

In these two stories, Edith Wharton and Kate Chopin exhibit similar styles and approaches.   They present a few hours in the lives of several women, employ nature as a reflective element, and lead up to devastating conclusions.   There are differences in tone here and there, mostly dependent upon the simple matter of exposition through character or narration.  Nonetheless, both “The Story of an Hour” and “Roman Fever” are strongly alike in portraying uniquely feminine perspectives and reactions, and how secrets held by women may be immeasurably powerful forces.

Works Cited

Chopin, K.  “The Story of an Hour.”  The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing, Axelrod, R. B., Cooper, 2010. R., & Klaus, C. (Eds.) New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2010.  Print.

Wharton, E.  “Roman Fever.”   Retrieved from http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/ewharton/bl-ewhar-roman.htm

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Essay Example

Compare and contrast 2 stages of Piaget. The sensory motor stage is the first recognizable of four stages in cognitive development of a person. It [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 625

Essay

Test of Dna Finds Root of Illness, Essay Example

The article selected is entitled, ‘In a First, Test of DNA Finds Root of Illness. It was written by Carl Zimmer. One specific thing I [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 628

Essay

Introspection and Reflection, Essay Example

Abstract Introspection and reflection are important components of counseling and educational practices.  The points which will be reviewed for introspection are the reflections with regards [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1261

Essay

Nursing: Interoperability, Essay Example

Evaluate the challenges that health care organizations may face when sharing data across systems. Flow of data across systems is often inhibited due to lack [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 482

Essay

Understanding the Concept of Paternalism, Essay Example

The determination of the need to follow instructions has often led people into a determinable course of simply defining their ways according to what they [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1923

Essay

Ikea’s Household Appeal, Essay Example

Ikea is one of the most innovative fast growing companies throughout the world. Their brand of household furniture and accessories. Ikea utilizes a wide range [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1773

Essay

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Essay Example

Compare and contrast 2 stages of Piaget. The sensory motor stage is the first recognizable of four stages in cognitive development of a person. It [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 625

Essay

Test of Dna Finds Root of Illness, Essay Example

The article selected is entitled, ‘In a First, Test of DNA Finds Root of Illness. It was written by Carl Zimmer. One specific thing I [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 628

Essay

Introspection and Reflection, Essay Example

Abstract Introspection and reflection are important components of counseling and educational practices.  The points which will be reviewed for introspection are the reflections with regards [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1261

Essay

Nursing: Interoperability, Essay Example

Evaluate the challenges that health care organizations may face when sharing data across systems. Flow of data across systems is often inhibited due to lack [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 482

Essay

Understanding the Concept of Paternalism, Essay Example

The determination of the need to follow instructions has often led people into a determinable course of simply defining their ways according to what they [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1923

Essay

Ikea’s Household Appeal, Essay Example

Ikea is one of the most innovative fast growing companies throughout the world. Their brand of household furniture and accessories. Ikea utilizes a wide range [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 1773

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!