Marriage: Death of the Spirit or Eternal Love - "Story of an Hour" and "Yours"

Essay by JstMist July 2005

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Marriage: Death of the Spirit or Eternal Love

Throughout the course of mankind, marriage has been considered a sacred union. Not as much as it once was, but marriage at one time meant a union for a lifetime. This is the way it was. Not even a century ago, if one was an unwed woman past a certain age, she was considered a spinster or abnormal. However, some people, including women, aren't cut out for the bonds of "till death do us part". Love between husband and wife can be a blessing for some but for others a prison. In reading Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" and Mary Robison's "Yours", both female protagonist touch on the marriage spectrum from two very different angles. One wants to taste freedom, the other one love. (If for some odd reason I had an instructor make me pick and choose which story of the two I prefer to read over the other, I would make "The Story of an Hour" my choice for the reason I appreciate and enjoy her literary style the most.)

First, Chopin uses structure to build her story up and keep the reader emotionally involved in every thought process of her protagonist, Mrs. Mallard. The author begins by introducing Mrs. Mallard, her heart problem, and the initial conflict. Her husband is presumed to be dead, and her sister breaks the news as gently as possible. At first, she grieves because she does love her husband, but after the tears dry up, she shuts herself away from all spectators. Then, the story slowly reaches its climax as Chopin's protagonist gradually comes to the realization that she is now truly released. Mrs. Mallard is free to live life as she sees fit during the "spring...