An Analysis of "What is Man?" based on "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin, "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe, "The Jewels" by Guy de Maupassant, and "Misery" by Anton Chekhov

Essay by luigico889College, UndergraduateA+, December 2005

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Answers to questions such as "what is man?" depends on from what view you are looking it from - maybe it be scientific, psychological, or biblical, there is still no clear answer to the question. It is man's instinct to define and differentiate himself/herself from other organisms. Given four stories of different plots and atmosphere, we were asked to define "man" as how these stories define and describe them.

"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin.

In the short story, "The Story of an Hour", man's actions are limited to what the whole society expects him/her to do. There is such a thing as a "right" action or reaction, and he/she must always be "right" in order to be acceptable to the society.

But behind this view of man in this story, we can not generalize "man" as both male and female since Kate Chopin focuses more on building the image of a woman.

A woman is defined to be weak (heart problem of Mrs. Mallard) and trapped in marriage. Marriage for a woman is life being controlled by her husband, and thus her happiness relies on her relationship with her husband. A woman is also capable of hiding her feelings. In the story, Mrs. Mallard hid her happiness to the people around her because that was the "right" thing to do.

Man (male), on the other hand, was the reason why woman suffer. Since man was the authoritarian, he had the ability to suppress his wife. This could be inferred in the story, that Mrs. Mallard suffered in her relationship with Mr. Mallard. Man also had a "heroic" image. In the story, while everybody thought Mr. Mallard was dead, he was in fact alive. Heroes never die.

As a conclusion, men and women...