When writing literary works most, authors will agree that it is difficult to write a story without any inspiration. The writers will often have some motive, either from past experiences or something that can inspire an idea for a particular story or essay. Although the story or essay can be fictitious it can still change how society feels about a certain issue. The two works The Female Body by Margaret Atwood and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin romanticizes the view of women in their own opinion, emphasizing ideas such as women being portrayed as common housewives, objects, emotional delinquents, and submissive individuals. The similarities include both authors has their own distinct impression of how women are being depicted in society and the conflicted roles of husbands versus wives or man versus women.
The obvious comparison when comparing these two works is the aspect that they are both written by feminist. In The Female Body, Atwood is trying to express her point of view, or sway the readers to understand the properties of the female body. Atwood uses words that she believes society would view the female body. In the first section she refers to the female body as being a topic because it is constantly being talked about. My topic feels like hell. (Atwood 73) Atwood uses her body assuming that all other females feel the same way. Atwood goes and develops the female body as a renewable one luckily (Atwood 75) and that the female body will not always be accepted in society.
When the body is young it has uses; It sells cars, beer shaving lotion, cigarettes(Atwood 75). However she mentions that those things wear out so quickly (Atwood 75) She explains that society holds a supernatural image of what the perfect female looks like in their minds. When most women do not satisfy that image they go in search of a renewable look, they can go out and be made of transparent plastic or acquire cosmetics to enhance their beauty, and lose weight to appeal their significant other. (Atwood) When Atwood suggests that the female body is renewable she blames society for making it that way because most females go under the impression that they are designed to look a certain way or please a certain audience.
Kate Chopins The Story of an Hour present its readers with Mrs. Mallard, an old lady whose husband supposedly died. In this story the author depicts the common stereotypes that separate men from women, and as the reader progresses they find out that Mrs. Mallard shows an emotional weakness, vulnerability and most importantly dependence. Kate Chopin’s goal of this story is to suggest to the audience that women are expected to preserve the role that society implies on them. In the early 19th century females were dependant on males to go out and work in order to bring back the necessary money for survival. The female would be a housekeeper nurturing the children and cooking meals- typical qualities for women during those times. However as the story progresses the stereotypes start to diminish. Go away Im not making myself ill (Chopin 92) During the span of the hour Mrs. Mallard went from dependent and fragile to strong and independent when she told Josephine to go away.
Additionally to the similarities of the two works exposing the generalization of how women are being expected in society, there is an idea that the authors highlight the importance of the conflicted roles between male and female. Atwoods The Female Body implies that the male brain has a thin connection and all their thoughts are sealed off in each compartment and thats what separates males from females. Good for aiming though, for hitting the target when you pull the trigger. Whats the target? Whos the target? Who cares? What matters is hitting it (Atwood 76) Atwood states that the male shows no emotional comfort in anything he does.
Atwood also connects the simplification of the powerful and the powerless. The females body intention is to please the males by being used as a door knocker and a bottle opener. (Atwood 75) Women always try to please the men by using their body and sex appeal. Some advertisements for example show a vivid image of a female in nothing more then a skimpy bikini selling products like beer or cigarettes. In the contemporary world individuals never see the male body used to sell beer.
The Story of an Hour also reveals an excellent example of the different roles between males and females, in this case husbands and wives. In this story Mrs. Mallard is tired of being caught doing the chores that her husband expects her to do; she seeks freedom and liberation. Although death is ought to be a sad time, not all conditions would maintain that statement. For example if someone were suffering horrendously, it would actually be a good thing if he or she died. In the story it shows that Mrs.
Mallard died at the end of the story but prior to that event it stated that Mrs. Mallard did actually love her husband, but often she did not. (Chopin 92) The story also suggests that she believed that her husband was frustrated with the marriage and assumed that she was too. This conflict revealed the sign that Mrs. Mallard was struggling for freedom, and when she sees that her husband is alive, she must die. This is the only way to be literally free from his gasp. When she had died of the joy that kills it leaves the reader to wonder about how she had died. Whether from the heart attack or she thought she had finally escaped her husband and is free at last.
In conclusion, the similarities of Atwoods The Female Body and Chopins The Story of an Hour both imply the how women are being seen by the eyes of society and the important clashes between how the role of women and men reflect the common stereotypes.
Atwood, Margaret. The Female Body The Mercury Reader.
A Custom publication compiled by Angus Cleghorn. Boston: Pearson 2002.
Chopin, Kate The Story of an Hour The Mercury ReaderA Custom publication compiled by Angus Cleghorn. Boston: Pearson 2002.