The two stories, The Story of an Hour and The Storm by Kate Chopin, are the representatives of the American literature of the XIX century. The author of the stories touched upon the problem of family relationships in her works.
Thesis statement: Love, faithfulness, and the relationships between husband and wife are the central themes of both stories. The women characters play crucial roles in the stories. Through the character of Mrs. Mallard in The Story of an Hour, Kate Chopin uncovers the problem of the insincerity and the absence of true love in the relationships between husband and wife. The author touched upon the same problem in The Storm presenting the character of Clarissa. Calixta, another heroine of The Storm, represents the type of a passionate personality who has become involved into extramarital relationships with a man whom she has loved long time ago.
The Character of Mrs. Mallard
The character of Mrs. Mallard represents the type of the women who resigned herself to the destiny. When reading the story, we get to know that he has a heart disease. When her sister gets the news about the tragic death of her husband, she tries to be as much delicate as she can not to provoke the heart attack of Mrs. Mallard. However, Mrs. Mallard feels free and actually she is glad to her widowhood. “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself” (Chopin n.pag. ).
Through this episode, the author shows how insincere Mrs. Mallard’s relationships with her husband were. She just used to live with him. In my view, her tragedy lied in the fact that she recognized her duties as a wife but she did not realize that she sacrificed her life and happiness living with him.
When her husband came home and it becomes clear that it was a mistake and he was not a victim of the accident, Mrs. Mallard was shocked. She died from the heart attack when she had known that her husband was alive. Undoubtedly, her death told a lot about their relationships. Mrs. Mallard did not feel free herself in marriage. Probable, she made her a prisoner of her own life herself. We did not know anything about her life before the events depicted in the story but we were sure that it was not as she wanted it to be.
Clarissa in The Storm
The character of Clarissa in The Storm is interesting to compare to Mrs. Mallard in The Story of an Hour. Both heroines have similar destinies as both of them feel their freedom when their husbands are far from home. When Clarissa gets the lovely letter from her husband, she is glad that she will be free for a while. “And the first free breath since her marriage seemed to restore the pleasant liberty of her maiden days” (Chopin n.pag.). If we think about her attitude to the news that her husband will be far from her for a long time, we may conclude that their relationships are not based on love. The author touches upon the problem of insincerity of the husband and wife relationships once again.
The Character of Calixta
Calixta is the main character of the story The Storm by Kate Chopin. She was married with the man whom she did not love. When she met Alcée, a man whom she really loved long time ago but with whom she was separated, she gave in to his embrace and love. Alcée was married as well but he also forgot about his wife at the time when she saw Calixta. However, Alcée went away and she had to come back to her duties of a faithful wife.
The insincerity and dissimulation are obvious in her relationships with her husband. They are especially clear when he comes home. Despite her affair, she has nothing to do but to pretend a loving wife. “Bobint’s explanations and apologies which he had been composing all along the way, died on his lips as Calixta felt him to see if he were dry, and seemed to express nothing but satisfaction at their safe return” (Chopin).
In The Storm, the author touched upon the problem of sexuality in the man and women relationships. Calixta did not resist against her natural desires. I guess the author did not blame her. Rather, she tried to say that Calixta had been living without love and she did not objected to her feelings. Ultimately, she was sincere in her attitude to the person she loved.
In order to sum up all above mentioned, it should be said that Kate Chopin uncovered the problem of insincere relationships between husband and wife in her stories The Story of an Hour and The Storm. The tragedy of her characters boils down to their inability to be with those to whom their hearts really belong. They are unhappy in their marriages and become the prisoners of their own lives.
Chopin, Kate n.d., The Storm. PDF file. Web.
Chopin, Kate n.d., The Story of an Hour. PDF file. Web.