Kate Chopin, born in 1850 is the author of ‘The Story of an Hour’ and ‘The Blind Man’. She had a Catholic and affluent upbringing, and at the age of 20 she married Oscar Chopin. They produced 6 children and she devoted herself to motherhood. This marriage ended when Oscar Chopin died from swamp fever in 1883. Kate Chopin’s doctor encouraged her to become a career writer, and she published many works, where the theme was often controversial.
Kate Chopin was interested in female emancipation, racial quality and the repressive aspects of marriage, which is shown in ‘The Story of an Hour’. ‘The Story of an Hour’ describes a woman’s mixed reactions to the news of her husband’s sudden death. Her feelings are very complicated, and Kate Chopin explores her thoughts and actions using symbolism, personification and metaphors. The story follows a leisurely pace, until the end, when the events become unexpected and condensed. The story is based around Mrs Mallard’s repression, and how being repressed by her husband and the society affects her life. The title, ‘The Story of an Hour’ immediately raises expectations.
It indicates that the story will show dramatic changes in a person’s life within an hour. The first sentence in ‘The Story of an Hour’s hows Mrs Mallard’s vulnerability: “Knowing that Mrs Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble.” This sentence describes Mrs Mallard with a heart problem, which gives the idea that she may be old, as heart trouble is normally associated with old people. This image that the reader has formed is later broken, as in the eighth paragraph we find out that “she was young.” Kate Chopin describes Mrs Mallard physically, which is used to reinforce our interest, as we had the image in our heads that Mrs Mallard was an old lady, but then we find out that she is not. Kate Chopin does this because it gives the reader a chance to form a picture of Mrs Mallard, and take control in what she looks like. Mrs Mallard is told the news of her husband’s death in “broken sentences” and “veiled hints.” These phrases remind us that Mrs Mallard has heart trouble and once again show us her vulnerability. She is told about the death in this way because she can’t take in too much at once, as she might die.
... and thus, through death, Mrs. Mallard remains "[f]red! Body and soul [... ]" (Chopin 553). Work Cited Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." Literature: An Introduction to ... Mrs. Mallard, in Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour", lives through many revelations before ultimately leading to her demise. Mrs. Mallards' acceptance of her husband's passing ...
The Second paragraph is straight into the action, as the reader is told how Brently Mallard died: “railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of ‘killed’. He had only taken time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram.” Technology is to blame for the death of Brently Mallard, and as in ‘The Blind Man’ Kate Chopin shows her feelings of dislike towards the growth of technology in the nineteenth Century. These two lines also convince the reader that Brently Mallard is dead as it shows how Richards found out about the accident, and then checked to make sure it was true. The reader will have no reason to doubt this piece of information, which is why the ending is so surprising.
Kate Chopin uses a strong metaphor to describe Mrs Mallard’s changing feelings: “When the storm of grief had spent itself” This metaphor is describing Mrs Mallard’s reaction when she receives the information about her dead husband. “The storm” has been used to describe the grief that overcomes Mrs Mallard because it does not last very long, which is just like her feelings. This metaphor is very strong and emphasises to the reader how much Mrs Mallard loved her husband. Although later in the story her feelings are very different Kate Chopin wants the reader to realise that Mrs Mallard did care for her husband very much and was not joyful because he had died but because she was now free to live her life the way she wanted. The line “she did not hear the story as many women have heard the same” gives the reader a clue that Mrs Mallard did not feel the same way as many women do about their husbands. This idea is than reinforced in paragraph four and five because she is noticing all the positive images, not the negative.
... of her husbands death." The death of Mrs Mallard's husband is confirmed to the reader as Mr Mallards friend ... whole story is focused on Mrs Mallard's thoughts and feelings after her husband's "death." The text ... the street with "monster" electric cars. Kate Chopin describes the cars as monster because they were ... as when the accident has happened Kate Chopin builds up the tension by using alliteration ...
Everything outside should be in sympathy to what Mrs Mallard is feeling, but instead she notices new life and happiness. The “open window” could symbolism freedom, which the reader knows Mrs Mallard feels later in the story. During the fifth paragraph, Kate Chopin uses symbolism to show the changes in Mrs Mallard’s life. Outside, Mrs Mallard is noticing what is effectively happening to her life, as she notices “the new spring life” and “the delicious breath of rain.” This connects with Mrs Mallard’s life because it has just taken a new direction, and she is starting a new life without her husband. A strong example of symbolism that Kate Chopin uses is “patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds.” This describes the feelings that Mrs Mallard is having over her husband’s death. Initially she is sad, and grieving, but she can see that there is a chance of happiness and freedom.
As in the first paragraph Mrs Mallard is shown as being vulnerable, and this feeling of vulnerability is suggested in this phrase: “as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.” This line shows how frail Mrs Mallard seems, and it initiates the question of how old she is, as the reader has not yet found out that “she was young.” It also refers to the subject of Mrs Mallard being vulnerable, and showing that she is scared which has been afflicted by her husband’s attitude towards her. Mrs Mallard’s feelings are very complicated, and the reader cannot be sure whether Mrs Mallard is glad her husband is dead, or whether she is unhappy, as this line shows. Mrs Mallard’s happiness, or unhappiness is confusing for the reader, as they are not really sure what she is feeling, but as the story unravels the reader will realise that Mrs Mallard was happy at the new-found freedom, but she did love her husband sometimes. In the eighth paragraph the line “bespoke repression” suggests that, although Mrs Mallard is young, she has suffered and been dominated. These lines become the key to the whole story as the plot unfolds. They make the reader stop and think, how has she been dominated? Why has Kate Chopin included this description of Mrs Mallard? As we progress further in the story the reasons become clear, and Kate Chopin very clearly describes how Mrs Mallard’s husband had repressed her, which led to the early lines on her face.
The aspirations and expectations of freedom can lead to both overwhelming revelations and melancholy destruction. In Kate Chopin's " The Story of an Hour" Louise Mallard is stricken with the news of her husband's "death" and soon lead to newfound glory of her freedom and then complete catastrophe in the death of herself. Chopin's use of irony and the fluctuation in tone present the idea that ...
Mrs Mallard’s eyes reflect the way her thoughts and feelings are coming together: “But there was now a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky.” Her eyes are dull and lifeless and reflect the way that she was repressed. They show the way that she was unhappy during her marriage. The way her eyes are fixed on the patch of blue sky show how she knows that something good is going to come out of the death of her husband, and how it is going to make her happy. This sense of freedom comes slowly to Mrs Mallard, as she does not yet realise what it is: “There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully.” Mrs Mallard knows that because of her husband’s death something is going to happen to her and she realises that it will change her life dramatically. Mrs Mallard is scared, and maybe this is because she is all alone, and she does not know how she will handle life without her husband. Mrs Mallard is afraid of no longer being repressed, as her husband repressed her for many years.
During the ninth paragraph Kate Chopin has used personification and referred to the senses to describe how Mrs Mallard feels the freedom coming. Using these techniques makes the ‘freedom’s found alive, like it is a living thing, and emphasises how important it is. Another technique Kate Chopin uses is a rhetorical question, which along with the personification builds up the suspense of what is going to happen to Mrs Mallard, and reveals how Mrs Mallard is trying to make sense of the situation. “She was beginning to recognise this thing that was approaching to posses her” This powerful personification makes the reader realise how powerless Mrs Mallard is compared to the ‘thing’. Kate Chopin also includes a simile to describe the way in which Mrs Mallard tries to “beat back” this feeling of freedom, “as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been.” This makes the reader realise that there is no way that Mrs Mallard can prevent the ‘thing’ possessing, and overtaking her. When Mrs Mallard lets her feelings go she realises what it is that is going to possess her, and this comes as a shock to the reader, although we already had an idea that it was coming.
I definitely think the best things in life are not free. There are so many examples I can name. For one, every thing you want in life you have to work hard to earn it. Nothing is given to you for free. Everything in life costs you or someone else money, time, or effort. This includes all the important things in life like air, freedom, life, living, love, children, marriage, jobs, and friendships. ...
Kate Chopin has used direct speech for the first time: “She said it over and over under her breath: ‘free, free, free!’ ” This reveals to the reader that Mrs Mallard is not quite sure whether or not she is free, and will no longer be repressed as she repeats the words over and over. It implies that Mrs Mallard is not quite secure with her feelings, and still feels a bit scared. The fact that Mrs Mallard whispers the words might be because she feels ashamed or guilty because her husband was a good man and she should not be feeling like this. Kate Chopin has used direct speech because it makes the reader feel more involved with the story, because Mrs Mallard is confiding in them, and not her sister, Josephine or Richards. When Mrs Mallard knows that she will be free a sudden change in her physical appearance occurs: “The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright.” Kate Chopin has referred to Mrs Mallard’s eyes to connect with her feelings, as she did in paragraph eight.
These sentences show that Mrs Mallard is now happy with the fact that she is free. It’s as if new life has been given to her. Her eyes are a symbol of her changing emotions. Her excitement is also shown through her pulse beating fast and the “coursing blood” that warmed her body.
The mention of blood will also give the reader an image of rebirth. This phrase is also used to remind the reader of Mrs Mallard’s heart condition, and to reinforce the fact that she may die. This builds up tension, because we get the idea that something may happen as her heart problem is mentioned regularly. This comes true, because the cause of her death has to do with her heart.
Southern Literature is considered a sub-genre in American literature because of its way of incorporating recurring themes such as dialect, importance of family, town history, rural setting and many more. The stories “A Good Man” by Flannery O’Conner, “Sweat” by Zora Neal Hurston and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin are all written in this southern style and contain similar elements such as ...
Kate Chopin uses an oxymoron, “monstrous joy” to describe Mrs Mallard’s thoughts. She uses this to express the idea that it is bad for Mrs Mallard to be happy, instead she should be grieving and be sad. The oxymoron also represents the ambivalence of Mrs Mallard’s feelings, whether she should be happy or sad that her husband is dead. In paragraph thirteen it shows the reader that Brently Mallard was a good man, and in no physical way did he abuse Mrs Mallard, “the kind tender hands.” The reader will not quite understand why Mrs Mallard felt repressed in her marriage, as today marriage no longer represses women. We are unused to the feeling of being dominated and want to know why she felt happy and free when her husband was killed. We also get an idea of Mrs Mallard’s personality from the fact that “she saw beyond that bitter moment.” This indicates that she is optimistic and looks towards the future, not dwelling on the past.
Kate Chopin reveals the reasons for Mrs Mallard’s repression in paragraph fourteen, which brings the whole story together. Mrs Mallard felt like her husband was dominating her life. Brently Mallard was living her life for her; “she would live for herself.” He was not letting her have any freedom, and everyone needs freedom in their life. This is why she is so glad that he is dead.
She can start a new life without him, controlling it herself. Mrs Mallard has gone from being vulnerable to self-asserted and independent. Paragraph sixteen is one of the shortest in the story, which is aimed to build up tension and make the ending even more suprising: ” ‘Free! Body and Soul, free!’ she kept whispering.” Direct speech has been used again, to show that Mrs Mallard has finally realised that she is free from her husband and that she will no longer be repressed. Mrs Mallard keeps whispering the words over and over because she is letting her old life go, and this will be the last time that she ever thinks of it. She realises that she is a free woman. Kate Chopin shows Mrs Mallard’s independence through Josephine’s speech.
According to Henry James, characters are only as interesting as their responses to particular situations. The character s response in the two short stories I have chosen is the reason I chose them. In Jack London s To Build A Fire and Edgar Allen Poe s The Tell-Tale Heart the character s reaction to each situation leads the reader to read more to find out what happens next. It is interesting to ...
For the first time in the story Mrs Mallard is referred to as Louise, and this shows that she is her own person. She is no longer being referred to as ‘Mrs Mallard’ because her husband is dead, and there is no need to be reminded of him, as she is free from him forever. When Mrs Mallard realises that she is free her mind starts running ahead of her: “She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.” The same phrase has been used twice, but in a totally different context. The first time it is written Mrs Mallard is free and happy, but the second time it is written it refers to the time when she had a husband and was being repressed.
This is effective because it makes the reader realise just how happy Mrs Mallard is, and how her life can be more forward now that her husband is finally gone. In paragraph twenty the simile, “she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory”, emphasises her joy and her posture shows how much her husband’s death has improved her outlook on life. This new ‘Mrs Mallard’ is a big contrast to the weak and feeble woman at the beginning. Kate Chopin uses reasonably simple language to describe Mrs Mallard’s actions, which is very effective because it echoes her simple thought of being “free.” The last three paragraphs are condensed and short, which builds up the tension before the surprise of Brently Mallard coming home arrives. The first sentence in the twenty-first paragraph is an element of suprise, as thoughts will be running through the reader’s head, “Who can it be?” This question is answered in the next line, as Kate Chopin has described a “travel-stained” Brently Mallard entering the house. It comes as a complete shock, as at the beginning of the story we were told that Brently Mallard was dead, and it had even been checked to make sure that it was true.
“He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one.” Brently Mallard is amazed, he had no idea that there had been an accident let alone that his wife had thought that he was dead. Kate Chopin cleverly describes both Josephine’s and Richard’s reactions but not Mrs Mallard’s. This is left to the reader’s imagination, which makes us feel superior because we understand how she would have felt. Chopin uses a very short sentence to create a dramatic impact when Brently Mallard enters, “But Richards was too late.” This puts a thought of doom into the reader’s mind, as they know that something bad is going to happen, which it does. Mrs Mallard dies.
The doctors say that she dies of “joy that kills” because she thought her husband was dead, but he ends up being alive. This is wrong. Mrs Mallard dies from despair that her husband is still alive. She is full of hatred because she realises that everything she just gained, all the freedom is lost in a couple of minutes. She can’t imagine going back to her normal life, being repressed after she has thought of what life would be like to be a free woman. The reader will now realise the importance of all the information that was given about Mrs Mallard’s heart problem, as it is the cause of her death.
The reader will be just as suprised as Mrs Mallard to find out that Brently Mallard is still alive. This is because the reader has been involved with the story, and has got to know just what Mrs Mallard has gone through, and how her life has been, and what it was going to be like. The reader will feel what she feels, and is just as shocked and angry as Mrs Mallard was. Throughout the story Kate Chopin used many effective techniques to describe Mrs Mallard’s thoughts and exactly how she was feeling.
This was mainly done through symbolism, with paragraph five containing a lot of useful information, so the reader could see exactly into Mrs Mallard’s mind and what she was thinking. The “open window” was used twice in the story, which is symbolizing her freedom. The first time it was used was before she realised she was free, but the second was used after she knew that she would be free forever. The short sentences and the semi-colons used in the last few paragraphs build up the tension so the last line comes as a complete surprise.
The reader will never have expected any of it, as we thought that Brently Mallard was dead. The reader has got to remember that although Mrs Mallard was repressed by her husband and she was happy when she thought he was dead, she did love him very much, although it is not shown very clearly. ‘The Blind Man’ as in ‘The Story of an Hour’s hows how repression has affected a person’s life. In ‘The Story of an Hour’ Mrs Mallard was repressed by her husband, whereas the blind man has been repressed by the middle and upper class. The story does not reveal to the reader much about the blind man’s emotional feelings and thoughts, although his physical appearance is easy to picture. The first paragraph of ‘The Blind Man’ is similar to that of ‘The Story of an Hour’ as the main character is seen as being vulnerable.
“His old straw hat and faded garments” show that the man is poor, and the way he walks “slowly” down the street gives the impression that he is unhappy. Already the reader will have gathered a lot of information so they can form a picture in their head, although we are not given a name. At the end of the paragraph the reader finds out that the man is “blind, and moreover stupid.” This shows that he is uneducated, which leads the reader to believe that he is lower class, along with the fact that he is poor. The word “stupid” is not the opinion of Kate Chopin, but that the opinion of the upper class.
The fact that “in the red box were lead pencils, that he was endeavouring to sell” also show the reader that the man is poor and uneducated, because the middle and upper class have more educated jobs, that do not involve wondering round streets trying to sell something. Kate Chopin has emphasised throughout the story about the Blind Man being lower class, and also how unfair the class system is. This gives the reader the impression that Kate Chopin did not like the feelings the upper class had towards the lower class. The “iron railings” act as a barrier between the upper and the lower class, separating them from eachother although they all belong in one community. The upper class do not want to be associated with the lower class. The growth of technology is mentioned in ‘The Blind Man’ just as it is in ‘The Story of an Hour’.
The “electric button” represents the wealth of the upper class, as they can afford the latest technology. This technology is important at the end of the story, as once again it is the cause of the death. Kate Chopin shows her dislike towards technology, as she describes the cars as “monstrous.” The sentences describing the death as in ‘The Story of an Hour’, show irony that man cannot control his own inventions During the third paragraph when the Blind Man tries to sell his pencils he is turned down: “but the man or maid who answered the bell needed no pencil, nor could they be induced to disturb the mistress of the house” This is another example of dislike towards the lower class, from the upper class. They see the blind man as unimportant, and act as if they receive unwanted visitors every day. They show no sympathy at all for the lower class, and do not even care that the man is poor, let alone blind. Getting turned down by the maid or man does not bother the blind man; he just keeps on going, from door to door.
This shows the reader that the blind man is lonely. For the blind man it is his livelihood, but to the upper class it is “so small a thing.” His actions also show that he has nothing better do because he walks “aimlessly” and “drifts” down streets. Kate Chopin uses personification to describe the blind man’s hunger: “Hunger, with sharp fangs, was gnawing” Hunger has been described like it is hurting the blind man. It emphasises the fact that he is poor, and can not afford much food. The blind man is also thirsty, which is another example of how poor he is, as drinks are not very expensive and he can not even afford that. Kate Chopin uses a hyperbole, “the sun was broiling” to describe just how hot it is.
She uses this exaggeration to trigger sympathy for the blind man, as he must be boiling. The message of the story is reinforced in the last line of paragraph four. “A kind hearted woman felt sorry for him, and wished that he would cross over into the shade.” Without actually stopping to tell the reader what she is trying to put across, like she does in ‘The Story of an Hour, Chopin suggests how she feels about the subject of poorer people. That is people can feel pity for other people, like the “kind hearted woman” but don’t actually do anything to help them. This is irony. We ask ourselves, is she really a kind-hearted woman? Chopin very cleverly makes the reader feel what this is like, by describing the man in such detail.
We can almost see him ourselves, and feel the disgust at how he has to live, and feel pity, sorrow and compassion for the man. Nevertheless we can not do anything to help him. In the fifth paragraph the blind man’s box is very important, and the phrase “the man drifted” has been used. Kate Chopin does this to remind the reader that the blind man has no purpose in anything he does, because he is lower class. He is very protective over his box, as it is his only means of living: “With the instinct to protect his own and his only means of sustenance, he resisted, shouted at the children and called them names.” If the blind man lost his red box, then he would lose his life. The fact that he shouts at the children, and does not use violence against them is because he is blind.
He has no idea where they are compared to him, he can only guess from where their voices are coming from. His only meaning of defence is his voice, as he can not physically harm anyone, because he can not see. The policeman who “jerked him violently”, “him” referring to the blind man represents the unfairness of the lower class. If he were not blind then he would have been hit, and although this is bad it just goes to show how differently he is treated just because he is blind, and lower class.
If you inspect the paragraph closer there is a lot of irony. If the man had been rich the policeman would have told the children to go away. This is the theme that Chopin explores all the way through the story, but tries to put it across to the readers in different ways, like she does in ‘The Story of an Hour’. The end of paragraph five is a turning point in the story because, from now onwards the pace is rapid and things happen swiftly, whereas the first four paragraphs are unhurried and leisurely. There is a lot of description packed into the earlier paragraphs, with metaphors, similes and short sentences used to create impact. This is a lot like the pace of ‘The Story of an Hour’.
The next paragraph emphasises the vulnerability of the blind man, just like Mrs Mallard’s freedom was emphasised in ‘The Story of an Hour’. The paragraph is full of descriptive words to help us picture in our minds what happens in the rest of the story. The “monster electric cars”, “clanging bells” and “terrific impetus” suggest that the cars will have something to do with the fate of the blind man because they are described in such detail. The extremely short sentence, “He started to cross the street” is used by Chopin to instil a sense of doom in our mind. From this sentence we know that something dramatic is going to happen, because of the way that it is to the point and a very assertive statement.
This is very alike to the sentence “But Richards was too late” in ‘The Story of an Hour’. In the seventh paragraph Kate Chopin has suprised the reader, but without revealing what has happened: “something horrible happened that made the woman faint and the strongest men who saw it grow sick and dizzy.” This shocks the reader, as they will have had no idea this was coming. Something dreadful has happened but what it is has not been revealed yet. This makes the reader feel excited, and therefore want to read on. The scene has been described as a “sickening sight” with “doctors dashing.” Alliteration has been used to make the words stand out, and catch your eye and make it more exciting. The punctuation, in particular semi colons and short sentences have been used to quicken the pace.
The reader will feel the nervousness of the people mentioned in the story, and will feel involved in what is happening. They will be caught up in the moment. This story, like ‘The Story of an Hour’ is a very surprising twist in the tale. The reader will think that it was the blind man who died, but instead it was “one of the most wealthiest, most useful and most influential men of the town.” The use of superlatives exaggerates the position of the man. Kate Chopin used this effective twist in the tale to shock and surprise the reader. This line also shows how the society approves and will like anyone who has money, and will look up to them just because they are rich.
The last line shows the reader that the blind man had no idea what just happened, as he carries on “stumbling on in the sun.” This idea of the blind man having no purpose in his life, just going anywhere has been mentioned throughout the story. He “walked slowly” at the beginning of the story, “walked on in the sun” after the incident with the policeman and his “aimless rambling” shows how he can do anything; he has nowhere to go, nowhere to be. This technique of Kate Chopin’s has been to try and gather up sympathy for the blind man, who lives an unhappy, disturbed life, which has been brought on by the attitude of the society, and his repression. It also links the end of the story to the beginning, which is a cyclical structure. He will just carry on as normal, with no change. At the end of the story the reader will realise just how different the classes were perceived, then they are now.
The class system was shown throughout the story, with the blind man representing the lower class, the maid representing the middle class and the businessman representing the upper class. The main similarity between the two stories, ‘The Story of an Hour’ and ‘The Blind Man’ is repression. Kate Chopin wrote both of her stories based on repression. She writes as the omniscient author in the stories in order to give us an overall view of the plot and events in the story.
Both of the main characters were repressed in the nineteenth century. Mrs Mallard was repressed by her husband and the blind man was repressed by society, which neither occurs in modern life. I think that this repression plays a big impact on how the characters feel about life, and what their actions are. If they had not been repressed they may have lived a very different life.
Mrs Mallard would not have died, and the blind man may have had a more full filling, well-worth living life. The difference between this repression is that Mrs Mallard slowly realised she was being repressed, and now that her husband was dead she would be free. She knew that she would live a happy life where she would be the one in control, instead of her husband. The reader doesn’t really find that much out about the blind man. They know that he was repressed by society, but not really how he felt about it. The theme of repression and the idea of vulnerability are quite confusing in both stories.
The reader can not be sure if Kate Chopin wants us to feel sympathetic towards the character as the reaction Kate Chopin wants the reader to have is not always straightforward. Kate Chopin wants the reader’s feelings towards the main characters to be ambiguous. At the end of both stories the reader will feel sympathy but other emotions will also be felt. The reader is not given an insight to the blind man’s feelings, whereas in ‘The Story of an Hour’ we are.
Kate Chopin does not reveal much about the blind man, as the reader does not even find out his name. Kate Chopin does not write about any of the blind man’s feelings or emotions, which makes it harder for the reader to interact with the story. In ‘The Story of an Hour’ Mrs Mallards feelings and thoughts are shown clearly throughout the story, and the reader feels like they know exactly how she feels, and therefore the ending is more dramatic as they will feel the blow of finding about her husband still being alive. In both stories the reader feels like the main character is older than they actually are. In ‘The Story of an Hour’ when the reader is told about Mrs Mallards heart trouble we sense vulnerability, and link it with being old. The blind man is also described as if he is old, although we know that both of these characters are actually “young.” Kate Chopin does this to catch our interest, as we will be surprised when we find out that they are young, and with Mrs Mallard we are not told that she is young until the eighth paragraph.
A big difference between the two main characters is wealth. While Mrs Mallard is rich, and probably middle class, the blind man is poor and lower class. Mrs Mallard would probably live in the place where the blind man is selling his lead pencils. This may make the reader think about how Mrs Mallard would react to a lower class man knocking on her door selling pencils. Would she be sympathetic towards him or would she just act as if he is not a proper person? Both stories have ‘two deaths’. In ‘The Story of an Hour’ we think Brently Mallard dies, but at the end of the story we find out he is still alive, but Mrs Mallard then dies.
In ‘The Blind Man’ we think that the blind man gets run over, but then we find out that it is actually the “rich man” that dies. The reader is mislead in both stories, as they first they think Brently Mallard is dead, then find out he’s not, and in ‘The Blind Man’ think the blind man dies, but in fact he doesn’t either. During the first four paragraphs in both stories Kate Chopin uses short sentences to emphasise a particular part of the story that would otherwise go unnoticed. In ‘The Story of an Hour’, she wrote “But Richards was too late.”The sun was broiling” is an example of this technique in ‘The Blind Man’.
This short sentence stresses how hot and uncomfortable the weather was, which is important to make us feel that we know all about the blind man, so that we feel immense pity for him. By the end of paragraph four we are convinced we know everything about the main characters. However in both stories we do not, and it is as if we are pulled into a false sense of security about the main characters and what will happen to them. Chopin makes us feel that we know the main character in ‘The Blind Man’ by using personification, as she did to Mrs Mallard’s feeling of freedom.
However in this story she personifies the blind man’s hunger to try and make us understand how he felt, “Hunger, with sharp fangs.” Another way in which she tries to help us understand his desperation and suffering is by using powerful words to describe him, “a consuming thirst parched his mouth and tortured him.” This expression is extremely powerful, like the expression, “whose lines bespoke repression” in ‘The Story of an Hour’. The end of paragraph five is like a turning point in both the stories because, from now onwards the pace is rapid and things happen swiftly, whereas the first four paragraphs are unhurried and leisurely. There is a lot of description packed into the earlier paragraphs, with metaphors, similes and short sentences used to create impact. When Chopin describes the body as “mangled figure”, she does not leave anything about the accident to our imaginations, unlike in ‘The Story of an Hour’ when she leaves Mrs Mallard’s death for the readers to assume. We are then shocked at the end of the sentence when she says, “the people recognised one of the most influential men in the town.” This comes as a great shock to us, because we thought it was the blind man. It makes us feel that if it had been the blind man there wouldn’t have been such uproar.
“How could such a terrible fate have overtaken him?” This sentence makes the point very accurately that wealthy people are ‘blind’ to the poor. They only care for people like themselves and only try to help others in a similar class to them. They were quite willing to help the rich man when he was killed, but when the blind man tried to sell them pencils they refused to help him. Both of the stories by Kate Chopin are based on a very modern theme, that although was relevant 50 years ago, is still appropriate today. ‘The Story of an Hour’ explains the message very clearly and makes it easy for the reader to understand. However ‘The blind man’ needs to be examined more closely in order for the reader to grasp what Chopin is saying about society.
I prefer ‘The Story of an Hour’ because we get to know Mrs Mallard as the story progresses and feel that we know her better than anyone else. In my opinion this is very important because we become emotionally involved with her part in the story and feel that we are taking part in the incidents in the story, along with her. When the twist occurs, we are as shocked as Mrs Mallard and feel that only we understand why she really died. This feeling of superiority makes me feel satisfied with the end of the story. I also think that the message is a lot clearer and easier to understand in ‘The Story of an Hour’ which made me feel contented because I easily understood what Kate Chopin was trying to tell me..