Mrs. Mallard’s Marriage
In “Eveline” by James Joyce and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, we see two confused women. The main characters of these stories, Eveline and Mr. Mallard, are facing severe changes in their lives and they do not know what to feel about those changes.
The eponymous hero from “Eveline” is a young girl, who is getting ready to leave the father’s home. Her life seemed to be not so happy: her mother and brother have died, her dad was abusive, and she worked hard to survive; until she met Frank, a sailor, who at first became her friend, then – lover. A better life with her husband-to-be in Buenos Aires is approaching, but at the last moment, substantial doubts seem to replace the hope for a better future. Suddenly, she remembers the good things her dad has done for her and her promise to the deceased mother: “…the promise to her mother, her promise to keep the home together as long as she could…” (Joyce, n/p). All of a sudden, she wants to escape her thoughts and Frank becomes the way of her possible escape. We can feel the doubt and confusion in Eveline’s thoughts, how fast she changes her mind. The story ends with the ferry, with the help of which Frank and Eveline were going to meet the happy life, leaving without Eveline. As the girl stands on the station, as she is about to board the ferry, she feels all the doubt, guilt even, again. Eve grabs the railing and refuses to go with Frank because she thinks that he might drown her.
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The ferry departs, Frank leaves, the Main heroine seems to have lost all of the sympathy and affection immediately. The end of this story leaves us thinking about the relationship between the main characters. Did the girl even liked Frank, or was he only an escape from the hard life she had back home, which eventually wins?
Louise Mallard, the main character of “The Story of an Hour,” from the very beginning of a story faces terrible news: her husband died. In the presence of her sister, Josephine and her sister’s husband, Richard, she showed the grief, as any wife would do. However, as she was left alone, we see the true reaction to the latest event: Mrs. Mallard seemed to be happy and relieved. She was looking forward to all the joy of living by herself, to herself. Then, we see that she feels sorry for her husband, whom she used to love sometimes. However, the feeling goes away as fast as it came to her. While Louise imagines her new, happy life, Josephine, is concerned about her sister’s well-being, as, in the first line of the story, we find out that Mrs. Mallard has issues with her heart. As siblings come down to the first floor, where Richard is waiting for them, they heard the door opening. It was he, Brently Mallard, the “deceased” husband. He has not even heard of the accident, which had supposedly killed him. The story ends with news of another dead person, this time a woman. The woman is Louise Mallard, recently a widow, currently a heart disease victim.
Analyzing both of the stories, the connection seems obvious – two women, both are seeking an escape from the male domination. Facing life-changing events, both seem to be unsure how to feel about everything. However, the stories are entirely different. Eveline seemed more confused and lost when it comes to leaving a man that has been in her life for a long time. She still remembers all the good the father’s house has given her. In her thoughts, Eveline even defends her dad’s abusive actions towards her brothers. Maybe, she is too young to let everything go. Eveline thinks that the only reason wants to escape with Frank is her dad’s ban to date him. Also, James Joyce leaves us with the ability to finish the story. He offers two possible ways where Frank could have come back to Eveline to save her, or Eveline stays at her home to help her dad, knowing that she kept a promise she gave her mother. Mrs. Mallard, a married woman, however, almost does not hesitate with a feeling of a relief to be left alone. Kate Chopin never specifies if Brently ever abused his wife, or how happy their marriage was, but it is clear that Louise felt miserable. No wife ever in a happy marriage would be so joyful with a fact that her beloved husband died. The fact that her spouse was alive has shocked the character more, than death. The shock was lethal.
All in all, the discussed stories display the problem of unhappy women experiencing pressure from men at home. However, the stories discuss the issues from different points of view which makes them being entirely different. Something that connects two heroines is their will to be happy. Unfortunately, Mrs. Mallard was only happy for an hour, and Eveline has her whole life to figure out what brings her joy.
Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” 40 Short Stories: A Portable Anthology. 4th ed. Ed. Beverly Lawn. New York: Bedford St. Martin’s, 2012. Print
Joyce, James. “Eveline.” The Literature Network: Online Classic Literature, Poems, and Quotes. Essays &Amp; Summaries, www.online-literature.com/james_joyce/959/.
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