In today’s society, criminals are tried in a court system, with a jury of their peers, for crimes they are accused of committing. In some court cases, witnesses are called to give their testimony to as what they have seen occurred in a particular incident, after which the jury of twelve members recommends a ruling on the case. The jury does not listen to just one witness’s story; they take in many different stories, all that probably have different accusations.
This helps the jury decipher the truth among the witnesses. In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” and Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Cory”, both of these short stories show that one cannot fully rely on what other people say in specific situations. In Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”, she talks about an hour in the life of the main character, Mrs. Millard. She is afflicted with a heart problem and received some terrible news; her husband has passed away due to a train accident. Mrs. Millard’s sister, Josephine, and Richard, her husband’s friend, are there to break the horrifying news to her as gently as possible.
They are both concerned that the new might put her health in a great deal of danger. Ironically, Mrs. Millard reacts to the news with excitement. Even though the event is heartbreaking, Mrs. Millard feels an overwhelming sense of freedom from the depressing life she was living. She keeps whispering, “Free! Body and soul free! ”. She is happy because she does not have to live for anyone but for herself now. At the end of the story, Mr. Millard opens the door and is surprised by his sister in law, Josephine, gasp. Mr. Millard did not have the slightest idea about the accident that he was supposedly in. With a quick motion, Richard tried to block Mr. Millard’s view of his wife, but it was too late. The doctors said she died of a heart disease, ending with a short phrase, “a joy that kills”. In Edwin Arlington Robinson, “Richard Cory”, this could be concerned a poem, the author tells a story about a wealthy man in the economic depression of 1893. At the time, people could not afford much and often had day-old bread to sell for less than freshly baked goods.
Hard times had fallen on the townspeople, but even more were aware of Richard and they treated him differently; most gave him the royal treatment. Although the people were surprised that Richard came to town and interacted with them as if were one of them, meaning he did not act superior because of his money, they still distanced themselves from him. The townspeople never stopped to consider why Richard dressed, or spoke, the way he did and why he came to the town when everyone else was there, trying to make contract with the town by saying a simple, “Good morning”.
Despite his riches, Richard wanted to have a friend. He felt as if the townspeople had a more filled life because they had each other and the townspeople wished they were in his position. By the end of this short story, the reader becomes more aware of the loneliness haunting Richard and in a depress attempt to stop the pain, he takes his own life, shooting himself. For all he truly desired was a friend. In “The Story of an Hour”, Mrs. Mallard only goes on what her sister, Josephine, has told her about her husband’s death. As soon as Josephine tells her, Mrs.
Mallard begins to weeps and locks herself in her room, not knowing that her husband is actually alive. Mrs. Mallard could have verified the information from Josephine from another source to make sure it was indeed correct, instead of fully relying on one report. Not doing this led Mrs. Mallard to lock herself in her room and isolate herself from every one. This is not saying that Mrs. Mallard’s sister, Josephine, is not a reliable person, she might have not known all the facts, a good reason for Mrs. Mallard to get other opinions on the issue and find out for herself what exactly happened.
In “Richard Cory”, the reader does not exactly know what happens. All the reader can go by in what the townspeople are saying. The townspeople say Richard went home and put a bullet in his head. That sounds an awful like saying he kills himself, but it might not be that way. The reader does not know anything about what Richard feels from this poem so they cannot assume anything. The townspeople are not fully reliable because they do not know Richard personally. All they know about him is he is rich and thought to be well off. Due to the unreliability, the reader is left in the dark as to what happens to poor Richard Cory.