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The Story of an Hour and Trifles Comparison

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The Story of an Hour and Trifles

"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin and the short play "Trifles" by Susan Glaspell contained examples of irony and symbolism that make the reader rethink what the story was about. As plots developed, the writers revealed interesting facts about the characters and adds a new dimension to the stories.

"The Story of an Hour" reveals that Mrs. Mallard was informed that her husband has died in an accident. She is "young, with a fair calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength", which gives the reader an insight into the length of her marriage and that she has tolerated this marriage with minimal depression. In contrast, Mrs. Wright in Trifles has not fared as well. Mrs. Wright has been in an overly-bearing marriage and her freedom was gained after she murdered her husband. She is described as "shabby" after "thirty years" with Mr. Wright and things are no longer "cheerful" in the household. Mr. Wright has silenced Mrs. Wright's bird, which was possibly the last refuge of happiness she could find. Mrs. Hale finds the bird cage and this reveals to the reader more insight that Mr. Wright has been "rough with it", possibly like he has been with Mrs. Wright in the marriage. The bird's singing may have reminded Mrs. Wright how she had sang "real sweet and pretty' for so many years in the "church choir" and she was going to have a voice again by silencing him after years of oppression.

Mrs. Mallard had loved her husband "sometimes", which tells the reader that she did have some feelings for her husband, just not a strong sense of commitment to the marriage. When she tries to think about life after his death, she comes to realize how trapped she was under his "powerful will". As she absorbs the news of his death, she reflects what has taken place and feels "body and soul free", which is symbolic that she is gaining peace of mind and a new found sense of freedom in her heart. Mrs. Wright was not as fortunate to gain the same kind of freedom after her husband was deceased, she is now being incarcerated. It is possible she felt the same fleeting moment of relief when he took his last breath or when she realized that she was inflicting the same punishment when she "wrung (his) neck" with a noose like he had previously perpetrated upon her song bird.

The chairs in both stories are contrasting; one was used to envision a new life, while the other was used to contemplate ending one. Mrs. Wright sat in a chair to do her quilting and shows she has calculated her husband's murder when she switches to the "knot it" and is no longer sewing clean lines in her piece. For her, the quilt was possibly a way to relax and escape the current situation in the household and not focus on the negativity.

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