Three Short Stories Essay, Research Paper
Throughout history women have been oppressed by men and societies view of a woman s roll in the world. Until more recently women have burned their bras in protest and a symbol of their freedom from constraints. These three short stories are examples of men s oppression of women; “The Story of an Hour”, “The Chrysanthemums”, and “The Heat Death of the Universe”. These stories are a timeline of a woman s oppression beginning in the late 1800 s to the 1920 s & 30 s, then to more recent times.
“The Story of an Hour” is about a woman who finds out from friends that her husband had been killed in a railroad accident. At first the woman, Mrs. Mallard, wept then she went up to her room by herself. Once she was in her room she began to think of what this really meant she realized and cried out “free, free, free”. She knew she would weep again at his funeral but she began to look past that and into the future. This quotation shows how she felt in those moments, “There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature.”. She was finally free to be her own woman, she kept saying, “Free! Body and soul free!”. Unfortunately that was short lived for as Mrs. Mallard exited her room and went down stairs her husband walked through the door. She collapsed instantly from shock and died.
“The Chrysanthemums” was about a woman and her flowers. She had nothing else to do, while her husband was out running their cattle farm, except tend to her garden. They would go out and celebrate one of her husbands accomplishments not hers, like when he sold thirty head of cattle. One day a peddler came and wanted to pick some pots but she turned him down , he finally got her to put some flowers in a pot so he could take them to a lady down the road. While she was putting this together the flowers they start to talk he told her about sleeping in his wagon and she became fascinated, “I ve never lived as you do, but I know what you mean. When the night is dark why, the stars are sharp-pointed, and there s quiet. Why you rise up and up!”. She then gave him some pots to fix which made him happy. He started to talk about traveling in his wagon when she says, “It must be very nice. I wish women could do such things.”. The peddler left her thinking about freer things. He left and she went into the house feeling aroused and took a long luxuriant bath. When her husband came in they began talking she made the comment, “I m strong. I never knew before how strong.”. The reader could tell by this comment and the atmosphere around it that she wanted more, that she wanted to be freer and strong. To show her power she made her husband wait outside in the car until he was about ready to turn it off she went outside to meet him. On their way into town she saw that the peddler had thrown her flowers off the road, he had done it all for that pot. That was her defeat, seeing those flowers along side the road. It was if those flowers were her and they were free then discarded without another thought. That was how she felt and when she saw the flowers she, “turned up her collar so he (her husband) could not see that she was crying weakly like an old woman.”.
“The Heat Death of the Universe”, is a more recent tale of a woman cooped up in a house alone with her children, while her husband presumably is out of the house making a living. Sarah Boyle craved organization but she didn t have any it was all disorganized, “Housework is never completed, the chaos always lurks ready to encroach on any area..” . She had children, she didn t know how many, demanding frosted flakes. Then she cleans up all the mess, next she tackles the house, vacuuming, dusting. She thinks, she knows there is more to life than being a house wife, this thought came upon her, “there are things to be hoped for, accomplishments to be desired beyond the mere reproductions, mirror reproduction of one s kind. The babies.”. At the end she cannot handle it anymore and has a hysterical breakdown in her kitchen an makes a final mess.
Those three stories showed how men can oppress women. Now it might not be the men s intention to do so it might be the roll society has given them and they have accepted that roll without much protest. Luckily now we are getting out of the dark ages thanks in part to our bra burning mothers.