Trapped By The Views Of Others

1191 words - 5 pages

In the stories of Editha, The Story of An Hour and The Yellow Wallpaper the realism technique of writing is demonstrated by the omission of fixed, idealistic endings of stories that aren’t realistic. The authors incorporate their characters’ lack of freedom and tragic endings in these stories, which in turn leads readers to experience a realistic conclusion as opposed to an idealistic one.
Editha written by William Dean Howells, is a short story of a young woman’s naïve views about war and heroic love. Editha foolishly wants her fiancée George, to prove his love for her and believes that going to war would be “the completion of her ideal of him” (p 372). She views love as an act that must be established by a heroic deed as the author states, “if he could do something worthy to have won her—be a hero, her hero—it would be even better than if he had done it before asking her; it would be grander” (p 372). George’s view on war is much different than Editha’s; he knows that war causes much pain and suffering as his own father lost his arm in the Civil War. When Editha cleverly persuades George to enlist, he loses his freedom as he states, “I know you always have the highest idea. When I differ from you, I ought to doubt myself” (p 373). At this point George has given up his liberty to follow his own beliefs, he further states, “There is a sort of fascination in it. I suppose that at the bottom of his heart every man would like at times to have his courage tested; to see how he would act” (p 373). As the story unfolds, George goes off to war only to meet his untimely death during his first skirmish. The ending of this tale is one of realism as opposed to an idealistic one. The ideal ending would have been one in which George came home a war hero. George’s lack of strength to preserve his freedom of choice causes him to die for foolish romantic notions of heroic love.
Loss of freedom along with a heartbreaking ending is also prevalent in The Story of an Hour, written by Kate Chopin. In this story, a woman who has a heart condition has just received the news that her loving husband has been killed in a train accident. When she retreats to her bedroom in mourning, she experiences feelings of deep sadness followed by a fearful sense of freedom. The author explains, “She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will…When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: ‘Free, free, free!’” (p 539). Mrs. Mallard lives during a time in which woman lack freedom because of their subservient roles in society. Her feeling of captivity can also be attributed to the human nature aspect that couples naturally impose their beliefs and desires upon each other, as described by the author, “There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be...

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