Gender and Relationship
In the present day society, gender issues are considered to be relevant, as both men and women aims for fair treatment. Today’s society presents a treatment without a bias in gender, as we are slowly moving towards fairness and justice in every aspect of the society. But we cannot deny the point that there are still prevailing situations that depict the inequality in both genders. These inequalities involve who is more superior or more dominant between the two, and this is commonly seen in a married couple. There is always the question of who gets to be “the boss” of the household and who gets to be treated unfairly.
With the two literary pieces at hand, we can see that this concept is very evident, even though it was taken at different approaches. With these two, we can see that men tend to be more dominant and more controlling over the women when it comes to married couples. This could even lead to a point in the women’s life that they wanted out of the relationship, since they are being held by the neck by their husbands. What is evident in both stories is that they both showed that death has been a tough option for these women to free themselves from the grasps of their men. It is either their death, or their husbands, which is also a defining point in the two literary pieces.
Character Analysis. In order to clearly point out the connection between the two texts, the relevant characters should be properly taken into consideration. It is through them that we will be able to establish a relationship between the two texts, how they are alike or how they are different at certain aspects. In this case, we take into consideration the characters’ gender and relationships with other people. Specifically, we will look into the married lives of the relevant characters in both texts.
In Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles,” we focus on the character of Mrs. Wright, the wife of the murdered John Wright (Glaspell). She was the primary suspect, since she was the only person with the Mr. Wright when he was murdered, at his case, strangled to death. Mrs. Wright, as told by Mr. Hale, was the person he stumbled upon when he came in looking for John Wright. It was also Mrs. Wright who told him that John was dead, strangled to death while she was sleeping beside him. She showed no expression of grief or shock when she was telling this to him, and even managed a laugh when she was asked where John was. She was arrested in the end, and that was when the scene in the story started.
On the other hand, in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of An Hour,” we focus on the character of Mrs. Mallard, the wife of Brently Mallard who has supposedly died in a train accident (Chopin). This short story tells us about how Mrs. Mallard came to know of his husband’s death, as was carefully told to her by her sister, since Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart ailment. When Mrs. Mallard learned of his husband’s supposed death, she was stricken with sadness, tears flowing in her eyes. But as moments pass by, this sadness was slowly replaced by joy, and a hope of a new beginning. The story ended with Mrs. Mallard’s tragic death, of which is caused by a heart attack brought about by Mr. Mallard coming into the house. Mr. Mallard didn’t die since he wasn’t at the train when the accident happened.
Death. Death is an important element in both of the texts. It is evident that the story revolved around the death of a certain person, of which is directly related to the relevant characters. In “Trifles,” death was shown in the form of Mr. Wright’s murder, of which the primary suspect is his wife. It was never shown in the story that Mrs. Wright was really the murderer. What was only shown was that it was different when John Wright came into her life. It seems that Mr. Wright has caused misery for Mrs. Wright, and that death was only a means for her to escape. Whether or not she murdered Mr. Wright was out of the question at the end of the story, since she already “died” at the moment Mr. Wright came into her life (Pollaro).
In the side of “The Story of An Hour,” death was shown in the form of Mr. Mallard’s supposed death, wherein it has aroused mixed emotions in his wife, Mrs. Mallard. At first she felt sadness of loosing her husband, but after some time, she realized that it was happiness, because it meant that she was free of whatever burden her husband was giving her. After knowing of his supposed death, she has slumped alone in her room, thinking about the days to come. She was thinking about how she would go on with life being alone, without her husband by her side. But then, she slowly realized that it was better off alone that living with her husband. In the story, it was said that she had loved her husband, sometimes, but the times she had spent with him was like time spent in hell. Upon knowing Mr. Mallard’s death, she was already holding up a monstrous joy that was slowly bulging in her chest. At last, she was free (Think Quest New York City).
Gender. We can clearly see the issue on gender on both texts. Both Glaspell’s and Chopin’s works showed that women in the story were treated wrongly. This is because they felt that their husbands were a burden to bear in their shoulders. It was death that gave them hope; hope of finally getting away from the grasps of these men, for they have been treated unjustly. Gender-wise, these women received less or no amount of satisfaction with their men. They have been treated like slaves or were kept as housekeeper, which for them, are truly unfair. Gender bias was evident since these women were not given a fair chance as compared to the positions of their husbands. It was only their life that kept them with these men. And as soon as that life runs out, either for them or for their husbands, the freedom that has been withheld for them will come back. And this was shown by how they reacted with their husband’s death, or in the case of Mrs. Wright in “Trifles,” has caused her to commit her husband’s life.
Relationship. In the aspect of relationship, we can’t clearly say that these two texts showed the same relationship situation. But looking closely, it is evident that they are somewhat similar, wherein the women are the ones oppressed by the men they are in. In the Glaspell’s “Trifles,” Mrs. Wright’s relationship with Mr. John Wright was kept only by a small thread, and that thread is life of either one of them. Once any of these two is dead, the other goes free. Mr. Wright might be unaware of it, but Mrs. Wright wanted to break free from the relationship that has already cost her the precious life that she had before meeting her husband. Mr. Wright’s relationship to Mrs. Wright was only one sided; Mr. John Wright was always on the receiving end, and Mrs. Wright always ends up losing. She has sacrificed a lot for their relationship, including her beauty, her talent, and her happiness. She was already on the verge of breaking; the only thing that keeps her from doing so was the bird she has on the cage. But when Mr. Wright killed the bird, Mrs. Write snapped – along with Mr. Wright’s neck.
The aspect of relationship in Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” was not that much different from that of “Trifles.” Mrs. Mallard’s relationship with Brently Mallard was being kept only by the hope of death. There was not much of an elaboration, but it is evident that Mrs. Mallard was suffering from the relationship. The news of her husband’s death has brought in new hope in her life. Finding out that these hopes were merely false hopes would surely kill you, and that’s what has happened to Mrs. Mallard.
I have first read Glaspell’s “Trifles,” and I can say that it has affected my understanding when I read about Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour.” “Trifles,” being longer than “The Story of An Hour,” have elaborated more about the sufferings of Mrs. Wright. Because of that, I was able to visualize what Mr. Mallard might have done that has led to his wife getting happy over his supposed death. The happiness of both the wives in the two texts was both shadowed by their husband’s existence. I have carried over the pity that I have felt for Mrs. Wright when I first read the “Trifles” up to when I read “The Story of an Hour.” Both stories have ended tragically for the wives who have lost their husbands or thought they did. But one thing is certain: both Mrs. Mallard and Mrs. Wright are free at the end of the texts.
Reasons for the conclusion
A reason for this is that they are finally free from the grasps of their husbands, with the death of Mrs. Mallard or the imprisonment of Mrs. Wright. Another reason is that freedom transcends the physical state of the person. Even though Mrs. Wright is in prison, she was already relieved of the burden of carrying her husband on her shoulders. Even though Mrs. Mallard died of a heart attack, she no longer has the responsibility over her husband, as well as the sufferings that he has brought to her in the moments that she has spent with him. Lastly, freedom goes hand-and-hand with justice, fairness, or whatever word that exudes the same meaning. A person cannot be free if someone else is restraining him by taking advantage of himself or by treating him unjustly or unfairly. In the end, both of these women were able to achieve freedom.
Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour”. 1894. August 6 2007. <http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/webtexts/hour/>.
Glaspell, Susan. “Trifles”. 1916. August 6 2007. <http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/eng384/trifles.htm>.
Pollaro, Cindy. “Susan Glaspell’s Trifles”. 1996. August 6 2007. <http://itech.fgcu.edu/faculty/wohlpart/alra/glaspell.htm>.
Think Quest New York City. “The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin”. 2006. August 6 2007. <http://www.tqnyc.org/NYC040522/shortstories/storyofanhour/storyhourmain.htm>.