Literary Comparative Analysis Essay

Women's Oppression in the 19th Century

Women were oppressed by the male-dominated culture in the 19th century. Different feminist roles that were prevalent in the nineteenth century are presented in Chopin's The tale of an Hour and Steinbeck's The story of the Chrysanthemums. In order to clarify the roles of the major characters in the two stories, the article compares their literary analyses.

The Story of an Hour: Mrs. Mallard's Struggles

The protagonist of The Story of an Hour, Mrs. Mallard, exhibits feelings and thoughts that are in opposition to feminism. The protagonist of the tale struggles to deal with her husband's loss at the beginning, revealing the emotional complexity of the female character. The character has heart problems, these makes the readers view her as a weak character, and the artist introduces the character as a weak character from the beginning of the story. She also illustrates her weakness when she went to the room to grief alone. In the room, she undergoes a lot of pain making the readers understand how her grieving caused her exhaustion (Chopin 14). From the story, the character is not only emotional, but she cannot handle her physical being.

The Chrysanthemums: Elisa's Strength in a Male-Dominated Society

On the other hand, the Chrysanthemums story written by John Steinbeck shows a woman who is displayed as a dynamic and capable woman who fulfilled her role in a male dominated community (Steinbeck 308). The author presents Elisa's appearance, behaviors, and way of speech as frustrated women who in the world of masculine society in the 1930's (Steinbeck 214).

Mallard and Elisa: Oppressed Women Seeking Freedom

In the story of an hour, Mallard is a victim of male oppression, and the mescaline discourses pronounce her dead at the beginning of the story. She is referred to as 'she' all through the story and only addressed by her name when she becomes free of the masculinity after the death of her husband (Chopin 14). Similarly, in the Chrysanthemums story, Elisa experiences frustrations when she is described as a reshaped and complicated because she was wearing large gloves, oversized shoes and a black man's heart, as well as a long apron that covered her printed dress (Steinbeck 330). However, she tries to represent her masculinity as being a strong woman in a male-dominated community. Additionally, the author talks through Sweet to make the readers understand that Elisa is bored with her role in the male-dominated society (Steinbeck 211).

Marriage and Freedom for Women in the 19th Century

During the 19th century, a wife became masters of her own after the death of her husband. In the same way, the story of an Hour, Mallard notes that there would be no one to live and obey. Lack of children not only indicated her freedom but it also symbolized that her marriage was not fruitful. In contrast, Elisa in the Chrysanthemums story initially responds to every condition the way a man would react, but it remains that she was a woman and nothing could change it. In the story, she is placed by manliness, but her husband keeps reminding her of her family responsibility.

Oppression and Freedom: Mallard and Elisa's Struggle

The author to explain that marriages during the 19th century were oppressive and most women suffered in their marriages uses mallard. Mallard is comfortable about her spouse's death but does not accurately describe the oppression she experienced in her wedding. Moreover, Mallard depicted the restricted pleasure that can only be realized privately. For example, when he heard of Bentley's death, she grieves for her husband, but when she is alone, she thought of the freedom she was going to have after burying her husband. In the same way, Elisa is oppressed by the male dominated society. However, she tries to overcome these oppressions by taking the male roles to prove the equality females have in the society. In the story, Sweet informs the reader that Elisa's initial answer to the tinker resembled that of a man because she resisted giving him work (Steinbeck 56). Then again, when Tinker sweet talks her, her musicality end and she pick up her gender roles. Here, Elisa allows her emotions to control her making her do away with the male side and bring out her sexuality side (212). Therefore, she allowed her emotions to control her conducts, unlike men who do not allow their emotions to control them.

Conclusion: Gender Roles in the 19th Century

In conclusion, gender roles during the 19th century undermined the roles of women in the society. A woman was treated as housekeepers and stayed at home looking after their children. The Story of an Hour shows displays how the main character was a prisoner of her husband, and that marriage was all about financial well-being, social position, and recognition. It is evident from the story that the society created the situation that made women suffer mentally but only gained freedom after the death of their husbands. Men controlled every aspect of their lives because they lacked education, employment skills, as well as different human rights.

Elisa's Struggle for Freedom in a Male-Dominated Society

Similarly, the Chrysanthemums story, Elisa undergoes regression from the male roles she takes to gain equality in a male dominated community. The frustrations she obtained from the male dominated society made her avoid attaining her dreams of freedom and became what the society expects of her a passive woman. Steinbeck uses Elisa to represent a woman in the 19th century who tries to fight for feminine freedom but does not succeed.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. Story of an Hour. New York: Vogue Magazine, 1894.

Steinbeck, John. The Chrysanthemums. Literature and the Writing Process. Ed. Elizabeth

McMahan, Susan Day, and Robert Funk. 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan, 1989.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price