William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour" - Literature Essay Example

William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour are two literary works which probe into similar issues that revolve around the life of a woman in different roles - William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour" introduction. One of the main themes which the two authors have deeply shed light on is death. The theme of death takes a prominent place in how the characters where able to deal with the issues they face. In Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” death is a way of unburdening others and how it leads to revelations regarding one’s life. Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” uses the theme of death to show how it can be a release from an unhappy life. The other theme associated is the concept of freedom. The two women, Louise Mallard and Emily have lived a life restrained by external factors which seem to be unavoidable since they have no concrete means to change their position. Both authors have shown the theme of freedom as an inevitable awakening in the lives of the two characters (Seyersted 12).

            William Faulkner used the theme of death as a release from obligations to another person. In “A Rose for Emily” the whole town is released from their obligation of Miss Emily when she dies. Death released the townspeople from their obligations to Miss Emily. Her life that was plagued with hardships and troubles has given the people around her tremendous problems. Her death ended the suffering she and the people involved in her life have experienced. Kate Chopin in “The Story of an Hour” uses the theme of death as a release from an unhappy life. After Louise Mallard gets over the shock of losing her husband so suddenly, she comes to the point of realization that she is now free from a marriage without love and the dominance. Brently Mallard’s untimely death releases his wife from an unhappy life. As she realizes she will no longer be under her husband’s controlling will that was manipulating her with the blinding and imposing belief with which men have the power and privilege to impose their will upon women. As she comes down the stairs, a triumphant spirit can be seen in her eyes. Yet, when her husband is discovered to be still alive, Louise Mallard was able to view and feel the possibility of freedom. Not through the inevitable death of her husband but through her eyes in the end of the story. Chopin was able to view death as a means to freedom (Toth 12).


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            The two authors were able to discuss other important factors which permit the readers to examine their life through the eyes of the characters. The literary works were able to evaluate the social, political and personal factors that contribute to one’ demise and the people involved. The people, environment and society as a whole have great implications on how the reality has been shaped and the life of the character molded. In “The Story of an Hour” and “A Rose for Emily”, the conditions of the characters served as a path for the manifestation of the important issues which have been overlooked. These helped them to achieve self discovery and personal realization. The characters have been subjected and exposed to an existence of suffering. Through their eyes, the forces that led to this kind of situation are unstoppable and out of their control. Because of these, the characters have suppressed their consciousness of yearning to be free since no sign of hope has been present in the course of their lives. The plague of emotional and personal distress led the characters to see the end of things as the means to pursuit change and find a new beginning. When they encounter a sudden disruption in their stressful life, they are able to see freedom (Gilbert 32).

            The life of the two characters, Emily and Louise, are similar since they have been forced to conform against their personal will. The inevitable change they were yearning opened their eyes to a new beginning. It is only at that time they felt the joy of being free from the inequality and unfairness brought upon by society.


Gilbert, Sandra. Kate Chopin: Complete Novels and Short Stories. New York: Library of

American Literature, 2002.

Seyersted, Per. The Complete Works of Kate Chopin. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2006.

Toth, Emily, A Vocation and a Voice. New York: Penguin, 1991.

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