While both stories, “A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner and “Story of an Hour” by Chopin, approach the topic of love, the consequential results lead to a difference with death: murderer or victim. In “A Rose for Emily”, Miss Emily Grierson suffers from a desperation for love that opposites Mrs. Mallard’s aspiration for independence in “Story of an Hour”. Their contrasting personalities help emphasis the demise to which both women come upon.
The pressures both women share from society place added stress against their efforts to pursue the love they seek. Society dictates the manner in which both women are to behave, and expects of them to do so accordingly. Their climaxes not only conflict with each other, but display the tragedy love can cause under the particular circumstances.The contrast between the two women’s perspective on love explains the series of their personal events to follow.
Miss Emily is desperate for love and suffers denial when faced with loss, “She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body.” (Faulkner 93). Her need for love creates a dangerous mentality in her that is later seen as the result of Homer Barron’s disappearance and later established death. In contrast, Mrs. Mallard feels she is a prisoner in her marriage.
When she is left with the news of her husband’s death she mutters, “Free, free, free!” (Chopin 78). Mrs. Mallard’s response is the exact opposite of Miss Emily’s and s...
he reflects that she did not always love Mr. Mallard and begins to understand a newfound love in her independence.
And yet she had loved him – sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being.” (Chopin 78).This freedom fills Mrs.
Mallard with an enlightenment that is unparalleled to the love she may have felt for her husband. Her newfound independence lasts only long enough to be revoked by her husband’s entrance.Miss Emily and Mrs. Mallard share the pressure of society against their pursuit for love.
For Miss Emily, Homer Barron was “a Yankee” (Faulkner 93). For a northerner and a southern upper class belle to have a relationship was disapproved.. After the community realized the extent of their relationship, people began to gossip on Miss Emily’s behaviour. Miss Emily’s family was of an upper class, which place higher expectations on the duty she should uphold in her actions, the “noblesse oblige”.But there were still others, older people, who said that even grief could not cause a real lady to forget noblesse oblige – without calling it noblesse oblige” (Faulkner 93).
Women in society, during the time the stories took place, were expected to behave in a certain manner appropriate for the time. Mrs. Mallard sought something she could hardly understand until her husband’s death. She aimed for something that was completely unacceptable for a married woman, a freedom that was unascertainable until sh
discovered she was a widow.There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself.
There would be no powerful will bending her in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.” (Chopin 78).Society’s expectations upon Miss Emily and Mrs. Mallard kept them from acceptably embracing their true love.
The climaxes of both, “A Rose for Emily” and “Story of an Hour” display a contraposition to each other. The town’s discussions over Miss Emily’s love affair are the only inclination towards her actions hereafter.When she first begun to be seen with Homer Barron, we had said, ‘She will marry him.’ Then we said, ‘She will persuade him yet,’ because Homer himself had remarked – he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks’ Club – that he was not a marrying man.” (Faulkner 94).
Miss Emily’s mentally unstable necessity for love may have pushed her far enough to purchase the arsenic and keep Homer Barron for herself, against his own personal wishes.When the townspeople wander through, the now deceased, Miss Emily’s house, they come across Homer Barron in her bedchambers.The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him. What was left of him, rotted beneath what was left of the nightshirt, had become inextricable from the bed in which he lay,” (Faulkner 96).Miss Emily not only poisoned her lover, but also remained with his rotting body until her own eventual death. Her terrible need to cling on to those she loved not only intensified this second time, but also showed a display of pathetic disillusionment to follow.
Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.” (Faulkner 97).For Mrs. Mallard, her demise came as the great disappointment when Mr. Mallard revealed he was not deceased and all her hopes and desires died.
Someone was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.” (Chopin 79).
After experiencing such clarification, Mrs. Brently died to what doctors called, “heart disease – of joy that kills.” (Chopin 79). However, following her thoughts throughout the story, we know that after feeling such happiness, to have it all become a large disappointment is what truly killed her. For the two women, on opposite ends of the spectrum, love did