Essay On Comprehensive
Death, the passing of a near one has different effects on different people and this idea is explored in the two short stories; “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” by D. H. Lawrence.
The first emotion explored is grief. Mabel, the protagonist of D.H Lawrence’s story initially becomes almost mute with despair. More than the death of her father who had married again, it is the fact that she would soon become homeless, makes her try to drown herself in the pond. That desperate act results in her finally discovering love in her life. This act of hers also makes Dr Fergusson realize the love he feels for Mabel, although he had never really thought about it before.
In Kate Chopin’s story, Mrs Mallard, a lady with a weak heart is told very tactfully of her husband’s death in an accident. Unlike Mabel “She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment” (Chopin K, The Story of an Hour) before retiring alone to her bedroom. Sitting on the armchair beside the window, the sights and sounds of everyday life waft in and through it all she feels something powerful overtaking her being, a sense of freedom. Never again having to live for someone else!
The pride that both Mabel and Mrs Mallard felt as women is subtly described in the stories. Mabel’s determination to take her own life, so that she would finally be with the mother she loved, gives her a quiet strength. Her absorbed, intense concentration while cleaning her mother’s grave captures Dr Fergusson’s attention and he feels transported to a different world, mesmerized by her “portentous eyes.” Mrs Mallard allows “a clear and exalted perception” bring home a sense of freedom and release. “Self assertion” she realizes is the “strongest impulse of her being.” (Chopin K, The Story of an Hour). When she goes downstairs with her sister and her apparently dead husband opens the front door her heart gives up; as the author ironically puts it “of joy that kills.”
In “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” author D. H. Lawrence uses the hard life in a mining town in England as the backdrop of his story. He paints a graphic picture of life and relationships, especially between the sexes, to describe a woman’s response to loss. Mabel spent ten years of her life keeping house for her father and brothers but got no respect or love from them. It was considered a woman’s duty during those times. But the most powerful image that comes across as you progress in the story is the power of love. How this emotion has held sway over man down the ages how its revelation can demolish all despair and fill a man and a woman with joy and hope. In the author’s words the look in Mabel’s eyes changed from “wistful and unfathomable” to “terrible shining of joy” (Lawrence D H, The Horse Dealer’s Daughter,142) and Dr Fergusson realized that once he admitted his love for Mabel “all that he left behind had shriveled and become void.”
In contrast in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” while Mrs Mallard does admit to herself that her husband had always looked at her with love in his eyes, and although she did love him too, what brought her greatest joy at his passing was her sense of freedom, the fact that she has years and years of days that will be entirely her own.