ESSAY 1 Short Stories

Submitted By DickSmoker
Words: 1061
Pages: 5

Literary Elements In Short Stories

In literature authors will often use literary elements in their writing. Literary elements give writing meaning beyond the surface, and often help in developing a theme in the story. They also often improve the quality of the writing, and make it more interesting for the reader. In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the authors use symbolism to describe how the main characters cannot live with a lack of freedom and an oppressive marriage. In “The Story of an Hour”, Kate Chopin uses symbolism to show how Mrs. Mallard cannot live without freedom from her marriage and a new beginning. The first symbol Chopin uses is Mrs. Mallard’s heart condition. Although this is key information about the character it is also symbolic past the physical part of it. It is symbolic because it represents how much Mrs. Mallard cannot stand her marriage and wants to be free from it. The first thing we learn about Mrs. Mallard in the story is this heart condition. This is because at this point Mrs. Mallard is still stuck and feels oppressed by her husband. As the story continues she finds out that her husband had apparently been killed in a railroad accident. After grieving shortly she begins to feel stronger. She beings to feel joy that her husband has been killed, and she is finally free from him. “Her Pulse beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her.” (Chopin 122) This quote shows how Mrs. Mallard’s heart began to feel stronger as she became more independent and freed from her marriage. This quote also helps in showing the symbolic relationship between her freedom and the strength of her heart. At the end of the story it is learned that Mrs. Mallard’s husband was not actually part of the accident and was safe. When Mrs. Mallard sees her husband she has a heart attack and dies. Her heart did not fail because of overjoy that her husband was still alive. It actually failed because she realized that she was never going to be free from him, and was always going to be stuck in this situation. The second symbol Chopin uses is the window. Chopin uses the window as a symbol for a new beginning, and freedom from her husband. After the news of her husband’s death she enters a room and just sits in a chair and begins to look out the window. Chopin then described what Mrs. Mallard saw when she wrote “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with new spring life” (121). Things like spring and bright blue skies are often related to new beginnings and rebirth, which is what she felt after the news of her husband’s death. Chopin also uses the window to foreshadow that although she dreams about moving on and being free it will never become a reality. Mrs. Mallard is always looking through the window and seeing what could be in her future, and the new beginning that she now has, but never actually goes outside and takes action. Chopin purposely never allowed her to exit the home because she was never truly going to be free. The window only symbolized a thought in her mind and a dream that she saw when she looked out of the window. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Perkins Gilman also uses symbolism to describe how the narrator, Jane cannot live without freedom and self-expression. The first symbol the author uses is the yellow wallpaper. The wallpaper symbolizes how Jane feels caged in, trapped, and symbolizes the structure she is trapped in with her husband who doesn’t take her seriously. In the beginning of the story the narrator just notices the wallpaper and thinks it is absolutely disgusting. Eventually after being in the room for so long she beings to like the wallpaper although it is ripped in some