Role of Women in Society (the Story of an Hour and a Rose for Emily)

Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” written in 1894 and William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” written in 1930 are two stories that show major roles of women in society. Although the two stories have a different perspective of the women due to their era, they both give a great explanation of how the women were and how they were treated by other people during their time. The women in both of the stories explain how they perceive each of their own roles and how they cope with their own situations, which are much different and alike from our society today.

For many years women have tried finding their place in society, which is hard when males are usually perceived as the leaders or ones who control their wives. In “The Story of an Hour” Chopin explains the freedom of a once married woman, and how much she enjoys her freedom from being married, this story is based on the role of women in marriage and relationships. In the scene where Mrs. Mallard believes that her husband is dead after receiving the shocking news “She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same” (Chopin 106), this sentence explains that Mrs.

Mallard takes it in differently than most other women do when they find out that their husband has died. For a while, Mrs. Mallard is sad but only when she was alone “When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her” (Chopin 106). When Mrs. Mallard had abandoned herself she caught herself whispering over and over again the words “Free, free, free” (Chopin 107). This sentence showed that Mrs.

Mallard was finally free “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring of life” (Chopin 107). The words “New spring of life” show that Mrs. Mallard had a new spring in life which symbolized freedom. “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself” (Chopin 107), this shows that she has had enough from her marriage and wants to enjoy her freedom and not waste it on someone else, she just wants to enjoy it for herself.

Mrs. Mallard was obviously in a bad marriage “And yet she loved him-sometimes” (Chopin 107), this phrase shows that she was confused about her love for her husband and only loved him sometimes. “Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own” (Chopin 108), explains that she was just so happy to finally spend those days on her own and not have her husband to hold her back from the things that she loves, that she is finally free to do whatever she enjoys to do. At the end of the story when Mrs.

Mallard’s husband shows up at the house and as she looks at him she has a loud screeching cry and that was it. Mrs. Mallard had died of heart disease “a joy that kills” (Chopin 108). Mrs. Mallard expected to be free for the rest of her life, then after seeing her husband alive she realizes she will not have her life the way she had imagined and then she died from disappointment of not having her “Free! body and soul free” (Chopin 107) life. In the story “A Rose for Emily” Faulkner explains the anger of a lonely, unloved woman that is desperate for affection but is shocked when she does not get it.

This story plays a major role of women in society due to uncontrollable anger and revenge. Miss Emily’s lonely life begins from the death of her father which left her depressed and unloved. “She went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all” (Hemingway 117), this shows that Miss Emily cannot handle being outside of her house while she is depressed. When Miss Emily met Homer Barron in the story, she fell deeply in love with him and people said “they are married” (Hemingway 120).

After being with Homer for a while he finally admitted that, “he liked men- and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks’ Club” (Hemingway 119). In the scene where Homer had admitted he liked men and threatened to leave the following day, Miss Emily went and bought arsenic poison which showed that Miss Emily could not handle the fact that he was going to leave her. This is a typical role of women in society today because most women have a feeling of revenge when a man threatens to leave them.

For a long time after that many people were not surprised when Homer Barron was not seen for some time. In this story Miss Emily poisons her husband and kills him leaving his body in her bed for many years. The ending of the story shows the biggest part in the role of women. Miss Emily is believed that she killed her husband due to the revenge of him threatening to leave her. Miss Emily probably would have not killed her husband if it were not for her father leaving her at a young age.

As Emily grew up she only knew how to be lonely and when she found Homer she took it for granted that he was not going to leave her, and when he finally did threaten to leave her she figured that she would not want to go through loneliness which explains when they found Homer’s body in her bed. She put his body in her bed because she could not handle being alone the rest of her life and she knew if she killed him that he would have no way of leaving. From the two stories Josephine and Miss Emily both saw death as a solution to their situations.

Josephine perceived her own role as being a free woman out of marriage, while Miss Emily saw loneliness as a problem. These women did not handle or cope with their situations well at all, which is like most women today. Most women do not know how to handle situations that are very tough, especially ones that make them disappointed. In both of the stories it is the men’s fault for their deaths. Men to this day cause many women to become disappointed because men are controlling and both of the stories Josephine and Miss Emily were controlled by their husbands or, they were disappointed in what their husbands’ did.

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