Comparison essay on "Ethan Frome" and "The Story of an Hour"

Essay by spiritladyUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, August 2005

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Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" and Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome are similar that the characters are both trapped in a loveless marriage and have controlling spouses.

Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" tells a story of how a woman sobs for the loss of her husband but ironically is also overjoyed by the loss. Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome tells a story of a man, Ethan, who is trapped in a loveless marriage, realizing that he can find true love and happiness with another woman. In both stories the authors depict a marriage with two very controlling spouses, Zeena in Ethan Frome and Bently in "The Story of an Hour", even though they are controlling their spouses remain devoted and unhappy.

In Kate Chopin's short story after Louise realizes that her husband is in a terrible car accident she realizes there may be hope.

"She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life"(para. 5). Ethan also realizes there may be hope when he starts developing feelings for Mattie. "The iron heavens seemed to melt and rain down sweetness"(20). They both see a future where they could be happier. Louise sees a future unencumbered by her husband, and Ethan sees life anew with Mattie.

In the short story Louise realizes the changes she has been through from her youth to her current state. "She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought"(para.