‘Story of an Hour’, ‘The Kiss’ and ‘The Unexpected’
- Pages: 7
- Word count: 1741
- Category: The Story of an Hour
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What it means to be ‘heroic’ is to be brave, courageous or noble. Courage is a “quality shown by someone knowing there are dangers or difficulties lying ahead”. A ‘heroine’ is a woman who is brave or shows these qualities. The protagonists in these stories may be considered to be ‘heroic’ or ‘courageous’ at this day in age, as back at that time it would have been unforgivable for the women in the stories to show this kind of independence or feelings. At this day in age I can see all the women in the stories thought of as courageous for their own battles to show women are an equal class, and their struggles to get what they wanted.
What I have learned from these stories, is that Mrs Mallard (to some extent) is a courageous woman. ‘Story of an Hour’ is the first story, in which I believe courage is displayed by Mrs Mallard for giving up her dreams for her husband’s happiness. In the beginning we learn of Mrs Mallard’s heart trouble, and, that her husband has died. “Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.
It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. ” This is a very powerful way to start the story, and in the first two lines you can not help feeling sorry for her. I am very surprised that the shock and pain would have not taken her away so quickly at the beginning. She seems to be a very strong woman and I guess that she had endured a lot more than that in her life, she gives me the sense of a grandmother; as she seems very strong emotionally.
When she is informed of her husband’s death, it almost doesn’t mean anything to her at first, “She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralysed inability to accept its significance. ” After heading upstairs to think, Mrs Mallard becomes almost possessed. She is sat in her armchair gazing through a window pane, day dreaming and is not moving. It’s as almost the power of the words had frozen her and given her time to mull them over and decide what she wants. I believe this point is where Mrs. Mallard is thing about herself for once and has become at her happiest.
Mrs. Mallard now has a chance to fulfill her dreams and wishes . “The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly. ” I take this line as a pathway to happiness, Mrs Mallard has heard and felt the cheeriness of life. In her grievance, Mrs Mallard becomes cheery and emotional in the fact that the man who she loved rarely and although feeling somewhat sad that he had died, she was broken free from chains that behold her within her marriage and no longer had to endure a depressing marriage.
“Free! Body and soul free! , this explains her happiness underneath her emotion and her strength to free her spirit. In the end of the story, her husband returns and we find out that he was not killed, but in fact, was far from the accident. Mrs. Mallard dies from heart disease as she sees her husband return, I think that she may have helped herself in a way, because if she continued on, her happiness would have continued. Mrs Mallard is truly a courageous woman in my book, for enduring a life time with her husband and dealing with trauma faced from the ‘death’ of her husband.
She dealt with the situation she faced in an honourable and to some extent, inspiring way. The second story, called ‘the Kiss’ is a typical romance story, where a man falls for a woman. There is a sharp twist there though, as Nathalie is only after Brantain’s money. The setting is a room in the middle of the day, with curtains drawn and fire glowing. The atmosphere seems private, tense and a little eery. The story starts unusually as Brantain walks in and plants a kiss on Nathalie’s lips. It is unusual because Brantain intended to express his feeling s with words before ‘diving in at the deep end’.
This makes the atmosphere uneasy and a lot more tense, making any way out with words or expressions the best way to leave the situation – “some defiance struggling with the confusion in his face. ” Nathalie is a very cold-hearted woman, with no intentions of real love or happiness. I believe that she is definitely not ‘courageous’ or ‘heroic’. She may be conceived to be nowadays for trying to make something for herself and enjoy a life like a hard-working man, but I think she is very cold and distinguishes as nothing but a ‘gold-digger’. “… he liked and required the entourage which wealth could give her. ”
Her only plan is to use him to spend and enjoy his cash, which is evil and very false of her, to come across loving when she is the complete opposite. In ‘the Kiss’ Nathalie is a very devious woman and constantly has Brantain in ‘check’ if you will. She controls herself and her emotions so she can take control of his, manipulate his mind into believing love is present and take all she can – ‘check-mate’. Nathalie gets all that she wants, she marries Brantain and has clearly perfected her performance as nothing but an actress.
She lies, cheats and steals, clearly next would be for her to win an ‘OSCAR’, if it was this day in age – “She felt like a chess player who, by clever handling of his pieces, sees the game taking the course intended. ” Brantain should have saw or tried to gather intentions from this marriage, as he is clearly rich and as it says in the text: “rather insignificant and unattractive. ” I wish he could have seen this coming and exposed her intentions. Nathalie is in no way ‘courageous’ or ‘heroic’ The final story by Kate Chopin is called ‘The Unexpected’.
In this tale, Dorothea is the protagonist, she can be pictured as an average woman, about average height, just normal. The story tells me right away that it is a tale of two lovers who can’t bear to be apart (like Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet). The first paragraph tells us of a parting between Randall and Dorothea of which they are not handling well. “… the parting was bitter; the enforced separation seemed to them too cruel an ordeal to bear. ” Right away I can distinguish that Dorothea has no connection with ‘heroic’ or ‘courageous’, she is just not taking the separation well.
This story draws you in and makes you want to keep reading on, to find out what happens. Kate Chopin uses “another day a “fresh cold” seized him with a relentless clutch”, to emphasise the illness of Randall, and you can break it down that Randall’s illness isn’t letting him go in a hurry and it is taking him over. Dorothea doesn’t recognise him when he returns because the illness has impacted on his features greatly, Kate Chopin uses “his skin was waxy and hectic. “, “His eyes were sunken; his features pinched and prominent; and his clothing hung loosely upon his wasted frame. to picture a death look about him, or something of serious illness.
Dorothea is shocked by what she sees and feels all that she had for him had dissipated. Randall takes Dorothea in his arms to rekindle the passion, but, it’s not in place for Dorothea. Randall wants to wed, but, Dorothea feels that she can only love him once again when he has made a full recovery. Dorothea is quite selfish and low here, as he is still the same man and he can’t help what the illness has done to his outer. He is the same person inside, but, I think Dorothea struggles to see that within him and decides that she can’t marry him.
Dorothea is a changing character, as she wept when letters came and when they were apart, but, now that he’s finally here in person, she gives the impression that it was all based on appearance and not love, personality, trust, romance etc. Randall had explained that he differs in appearance to when he left, but, she has stooped low and shown her true colours here. Any idea of her remotely, being courageous through the tough times, have completely disappeared for me. Dorothea seems to be very shallow, and even watches Randall leave without any sympathy or empathy for him.
She shows that she truly is a coward when she flees at the end of the story, leaving behind a once love, future husband who is on death’s door. In around the late 19th Century, about 1851, Kate Chopin was born. She died in the very early 20th century (1904). At around this time, there were no rights for women. They could not vote or express their feelings and thoughts on many situations, which was a shame. Women were treated as the ones who married men, had their children and did the house-keeping until they died.
They were generally not allowed to work, as that was the husband’s role in the household, to bring money in and put food on the table. If women would have expressed these feelings in these stories or did what Mrs Mallard, Dorothea or Nathalie did at the time, punishment would have been on the bill. Women had few privileges and it wasn’t until the early 20th century into the mid-20th century that women had rights to vote, express views and opinions etc. Kate Chopin is very opinionated, I guess, and she probably wanted women’s thoughts to be known, so created stories to raise awareness of issues.
I conclude, that Nathalie is not at all ‘courageous’ or ‘heroic’, but devious and conniving. Dorothea, shows signs of courage in the early stages of the story, but, soon shows her true colours and is gutless and cowardly. All three women each have links, with women that are involved with men, for whatever reason. Dorothea and Nathalie show the biggest link as both neither loved their man for who they were. Mrs Mallard is the only character who displays courage, she is an admirable woman and I enjoyed reading ‘Story of an Hour’.