As of today, women have many rights and tend to have longer happier marriages. Even so this wasn’t always the case. Women were once not able to do something as simple as voting. They were given positions of lesser status in their personal, and professional lives. So from that oppression rose two works of literature which are Trifles (written by Susan Glaspell) and The Story of an Hour (written by Kate Chopin). I chose to compare The Story of an Hour with Trifles because The Story of an Hour had an interesting twist and I could see that deep, intricate thought was put into it.
This research paper will examine the similarities and the differences between these two bodies of work. Since both are feminist works of literature, spotting similarities will be easy. One thing that can be compared between the protagonist of the stories (Mrs. Mallard Story of an Hour; Mrs. Wright Trifles) is their emotional states. As we begin l’ll talk about The Story of an Hour first. Mrs. Mallard is shown to be deeply saddened by the news of her husband’s apparent death. In the second paragraph, it states “She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms.
When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her. ” (Chopin, 1894). Although she later seems to have turned those tears of sadness into tears of joy. At one moment she states under her breath “free, free, free! ” (Chopin, 1894). This shows that she may have felt trapped being in the relationship she was in with her husband. Even later the narrator (Chopin) states “There would be no powerful will bending her in that blind perspective with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a ellow-creature. (Glaspell, 1916).
Both of those statements show that Mrs. Mallard may have been saddened by the news of her husband’s death, but she was happier now knowing she was free from his oppressive ways and could move forward in life being whoever she wanted to be. Moving along with Mrs. Wright, there are no direct lines from her in the play Trifles because she is in custody during the duration of the investigation. However, Mrs. Hale is her neighbor and speaks on how Mrs. Wright felt. She mentions in line 124 how Mrs. Wright used to sing and how Mr. Wright made her stop.
Also in line 134 she states “I wish you’d seen Minnie Foster wore a white dress with blue ribbons and stood up there in the choir and sang. ” (Glaspell, 1916) This hints that Mrs. Wright had one thing that made her happy which was singing and that Mr. Wright made her stop. You can conclude that this didn’t make Mrs. Wright too happy. Mrs. Hale also deduces that Mr. Wright wrung the bird’s neck, killing it. This pushed Mrs. Wright over the edge which causes her to kill Mr. Wright by choking him with a rope around his neck.
Mrs. Hale also says she knew how lonely Mrs. Wright felt, and feels guilty for not oming to her aid before things took a turn for the worst. Another thing that could be compared is how the women felt about their marriages. Starting off with Mrs. Mallard, she believes that her marriage put constraints on her and her identity. The story states, “There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it fearfully. ” (Chopin, 1894). This shows she thought that these feelings were bad or monstrous at first. She later thought about how much better things would be without her husband in her life to control her, and how she could spend the rest of her life focusing solely on herself.
This oss of identity can be found in Trifles as well. Mrs. Hale tells Mrs. Peters on line 134 that Mrs. Wright was once known as Minnie Foster, dressed in a white dress with blue ribbons and had a beautiful voice singing in a choir. However, because of Mr. Wright, she is forced to lose the persona and stop singing. Since she couldn’t sing anymore, it’s strongly implied that she had a bird to hear its beautiful chirping, but Mr. Wright put a stop to that by killing the bird. You can see in both stories that women lose their identity due to their marriages.
Continuing on there is a physical object in each story that elped the women deal with their husband’s deaths. That object was the chairs they both sat in. Although chairs are very similar, these two chairs have different effects on the story. The provide symbolism where most people wouldn’t even think to look. To discuss it further l’ll start with The Story of an Hour. In the Story of an Hour, Mrs. Mallard sat in the chair while thinking about life without her husband. She was deeply saddened at first but then started to realize she wasn’t happy with him sometimes, and that she didn’t love him that much.
She began to see a light at the end of a tunnel when she hought about the things she would be able to do since her husband was gone. Her rising out the chair symbolized a new life, almost a rebirth. The chair in Trifles symbolized something slightly different, though. In Trifles, Mrs. Wright sat in the chair after killing her husband and uses it to escape from reality. She used it to send her a tranquil place where she didn’t have to worry about her actions. When Hale comes in she is nervous so she rocks back and forth to help ease her worries and put herself at peace.
All in all, the chair was used to help her contemplate after ending her husbands’ life. Next, we can explore the themes in these two stories. Although they share the similarities with femininity, they still have different themes. These themes can be found easily if the text is analyzed. To start off let’s jump into The Story of an Hour. In The Story of an Hour time is a very important theme (hence the title). The events in the story very quickly with Chopin not slowing down at all. You reach the climax pretty quickly. In the beginning of the story, they show Richards in a hurry to tell Mrs. Mallard the news.
In line three it’s said she started crying at once. She went from 0-100 real quick. Mrs. Mallard spends less than an hour processing the new of the death of her husband. While doing so she notes that the trees shake with “new spring life” (Chopin, 1894) and this shows the life outside (time) isn’t going to stop for her just because her husband died. Since such little time is spent pondering the news, it doesn’t take long for her to start thinking about what life will be like now that he is gone. Although just as quickly as she gets excited, she finds out that her husband is alive and well. Another to explore is the theme of fatality.
Learning of someone’s death is powerful and an be lethal. Learning someone hasn’t died can have the same effect. An example can be found in Mrs. Mallard. From the beginning of the story, the reader is told about her serious heart condition, almost as if Chopin is foreshadowing her death. She was excited after realizing what her husband’s death meant for her future but died when she found out he was alive. Truly ironic. Moving along with Trifles, a theme of isolation can be found in the text. In line 10 Hale mentions how John Wright said he doesn’t really want people in his business and prefers the peace and quiet of his home.
That doesn’t seem like a big deal but it eludes to what kind of husband he was to Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Hale later mentions on line 158 that Mrs. Wright never hung out with the other women in town or go out at all for that matter. At this point, the play isolates the reader by not letting into whether or not Mrs. Wright was a cheap lady that didn’t like other people, or if Johns didn’t allow her to leave the house. The latter is presumed to be true because Mrs. Hale also states on line 158 that when Mrs. Wright was known as Minnie Foster she was lively and sung in the choir with other women.
This was all efore she married John and sounds different from the depressed murderer they know today. Exploring further you can find a theme of justice and judgment. Usually, when someone kills another person people feel they should be served judgment or justice. However, Trifles seems to feel that in some cases it okay. When evidence that put Mrs. Wright away for good is found by the women, they look at how Mrs. Wright must have felt in her marriage and decided to hide the evidence from the law (or in other words the men). During the time, this play was set most if not all laws were created by men for men.
That brings up the question if women should be expected to follow laws that they didn’t have a voice in creating. Even throughout the play the men have to find a motive in order to pin Mrs. Wright. However, they aren’t very big on trifles so it will be hard for them to even find that motive because of their pre- judgement. As we take our final go around we look at the tone of the two pieces of literature. Starting with The Story of an Hour, you can find a cruel tone within the text. Mrs. Mallard is someone who is willing to forget about her love and marriage all for freedom.
While everyone thinks she crying over her husband, she is actually crying tears of joy. In the end, it’s implied that she died from extreme joy due to her heart problems. Not too long before that though we see Mrs. Mallard experience an extreme amount of joy, and she didn’t die. So the reader is left not knowing what really killed her. Rolling into Trifles you can see that the tone is dark right off the bat. The stage directions talk about a gloomy abandoned house and brutal murder. You can also see that Glaspell gave the play a very opinionated tone. What she is opinionated about is the ay that men treat women.
One example is when the Court Attorney takes several jabs at the way the farmhouse is kept and constantly blames it on Mrs. Wright. Mrs. Hale, however, has a rebuttal to everything he says coming to the defense of her fellow women. One example can be found on line 33 when the Court Attorney talks about how the hand towels are in a bad condition, but Mrs. Hale insists that the towels get so dirty because men aren’t always as clean as they should be. So pretty much these stories are both pieces of feminine work that have many similarities but also many differences.
They oth give insight into how women were treated during the times they were made. Both women hid their true feelings about the husbands as if wearing a mask. Mrs. Mallard felt extreme joy from the thought of not being a wife anymore. Mrs. Wright killed her husband due to the loneliness she had felt, and him killing her bird which pushed her over the edge. Something as simple as their gender caused these women to go to emotionally dark places. Regardless of their differences, these two stories accomplish their goals. They both give the reader (or the audience) a glimpse into what women have (and sometimes still) have to deal with.