Isolation, loneliness and alienation, these are the three themes that “The Story of an Hour”, “Eveline” and “A Rose for Emily” all have in common. Each story draws you in and provides examples of these three things in very different ways. In discussing these three stories I shall provide examples of how each of the main characters from the aforementioned short stories share the same characteristics of loneliness and isolation; each trapped in their own particular set of circumstances. While each of their stories varies greatly in content, their struggles remain akin and very comparable.
In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, the author portrays how someone can be trapped in an unproductive and unsatisfying reality because of other’s thoughtlessness, exploitation, and domination. When combined with the modern society’s belief, presumably the later half of the 19th century, a further understanding of Chopin’s thoughts and feelings can be realized. Mrs. Louise Mallard, the victim and messenger of this story, is the image of such a person. Her relationship with her husband is so oppressive, lonely and limiting that even death is considered a reasonable means of escape. The condition of life for Mrs. Mallard is terrible, yet for some reason she doesn’t seem to come to the full realization until her husband’s death. This might lead one to believe that this may have been commonplace, for women to be unhappy in their marriage and have no conventional means of escape; as divorce may be viewed during current times. However, Chopin does not directly make that point. Many women are in search of freedom from their marriage and they believe the only way to be free is to experience the death of their husband. Mrs. Louise Mallard is a repressed married woman that has a heart condition and the reaction to her husband’s presumed death is a sign that she is lonely and unhappy. After hearing the tragic news, Mrs. Mallard ascends to the floor above, peers out an open window and notices “new spring life”, the “delicious breath of rain” and “countless sparrows tittering in the eaves.” As she looks out the window she realizes that her husband is now gone and she has a whole new life ahead of her. “Body and soul free!” she repeats to herself, and reflects on all the new opportunities life has to bring her now that she does not feel lonely, trapped and isolated. Only when Brently walks in does her “heart trouble” reappear, and this trouble is so acute that it kills her. The irony of the ending is that Louise doesn’t die of joy as the doctor’s claim but actually from the loss of joy.
The setting in "Eveline" is paralyzing, and this helped me understand why Eveline does not want to go with Frank. Throughout the majority of the story, Eveline sat at the window and did not move; which parallels her character, given her physical condition of paralysis. However, I believe that she does not go with Frank because she is trapped in her setting. Almost nothing in Eveline’s setting changes throughout her life. She is isolated in this room the entire story and seems to be quite lonely; thus, highlighting the similarities to Mrs. Mallard and the theme of isolation. To me, the significance of her looking around the room "reviewing all it's familiar objects" is that she never dreamed of "being divided" from them; she always kind of consciously knew that she would be alienated here. Eveline is a product of her environment, Eveline’s life molds to it. In my opinion, this explains why she did not leave with Frank to live a much happier life. It is extremely hard for her to decide whether she wants to go with Frank or not because she only knows one way. It scares her to change her setting. Her isolated