Edna Pontellier vs. Mrs. Mallard
In the short story, The Story of an Hour and the novel The Awakening, the author Kate Chopin uses the characters Mrs. Mallard and Edna to portray the lives of women in the 1800s. Both characters are very similar to one another, but the differences though a little abstract balance the similarities. Also the author uses nature to display both of the character’s feelings towards their dreams. Edna and Mrs. Mallard are both victims of the 1800s, they both show that by their displeasure in being married.
Edna shows her displeasure in novel by frolicking around with other men, and by openly disagreeing with her husband which at that time was a social faux pas. Mrs. Mallard showed her displeasure by simply liking the fact that she was finally free of her husband. She cried for him a little, but then in his death she finally recalled things that she hasn’t noticed lately. She hears the birds twittering and the wind rustling which remind her of her life, and how now with her husband dead she can finally live her life the way she wants too.
Edna realizes that she wants to live her life when she first understands her role in life and doesn’t want to accept that all she will ever be is a housewife, this happens after she acquires her new ability to swim, that she finally sees that she wants to live. Edna tries to gain her freedom by becoming someone other then a housewife; she starts to paint again and sells her art. After that she buys herself a nice little apartment which she can call her own. This signifies her creating her identity. Mrs. Mallard’s dream of being free of her husband also sets her apart from other women of her time.
While they both have many similarities, they also have many differences. Mrs. Mallard never had time to develop her identity and to pursue any of her dreams because she is shocked to death by the fact that she finds out that her husband is actually alive. This sets her apart from Edna, because unlike Edna Mrs. Mallard never really feels what is like to be free. She experiences a short awakening when she remembers that finally she can make her own decisions, but that is short-lived and Mrs. Mallard never has time to develop her feeling fully. Also Mrs.
Mallard never fought for her freedom like Edna, it was given to her by her husbands supposedly death. Her short lived happiness and then sudden attack of the idea that her husband is back and all the dreams that she had upstairs by herself were to never come true causes her death. Unlike Mrs. Mallard Edna’s awakenings help her develop at a steady pace and little by little she tries to win her freedom. To do that she starts to paint, which help her define herself. Later on Edna also becomes sexually dissatisfied, and Arobin is more then happy to please her.
Her life as a painter and a lover is completely different then her life with her husband and little by little she starts to break off from her life with Mr. Pontellier. Her little escapade with Robert at the beginning of the novel guides her decisions later on, her love for Robert makes her want to be free, because if she was free she would have been able to pursue Robert. The differences in both women, Edna and Mrs. Mallard are there because The Story of an Hour is a short story which doesn’t allow the character Mrs. Mallard to develop, while in the novel The Awakening, Edna develops into a complex character.
The author Kate Chopin in both stories uses nature to describe their want for freedom. In The Story of an Hour the author uses the image of twittering birds and the sky to show the freedom that Mrs. Mallard wanted. In The Awakening, Chopin uses the image of the sea. The sea serves to symbolize what Edna cannot have; it is “seductive” which lures Edna to want her life. She wants to love whomever she wishes and to do as she pleases. While the images are different for each woman because they are two different individuals, the author relies on these images to get the audience to understand Edna’s and Mrs.
Mallard’s pains. Kate Chopin’s message in both of these stories is the same. Chopin tries to send a message to women and to men about the oppression of women. She dislikes the idea that women are property and that they are to be kept at home to take care of the house and to be shown off like a porcelain doll. In The Awakening and The Story of an Hour, she expresses the idea that women want to be somebody and to bring something to the world. ( It is a commentary: if you want the bib. read the sctual stories)
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