“The Story of an Hour” is an English short story written by Kate Chopin. Chopin was widely recognized as one of the leading writers of her time and she is now considered by some to have forerunner of feminist authors of the 20th century. The second short story entitled “Clever Manka” which is written in Czechoslovakian language and translated in to English. Although it is anonymous, “Clever Manka” is a very important short story and the fact that it remains indicates that it has affected many people at different times.
The both short stories have two completely different structures. The writer of “Clever Manka” used the expository method as the events starts from the very beginning, when the situation was stable and he introduces the characters, and then going up in the events. Opposite to “The story of an Hour”, it begins in the middle of the events. Then we have flash-back technique through which we know of all the events that happen before.
“Clever Manka” and “The Story of an Hour” are alike in that they both have women as protagonist and they both involve a husband and a wife. They show how marriage could be the end of a women life or a beginning. Also, they show how women differently deal with life. The great difference is due to the different time and culture. “Clever Manka” which in Czechoslovakian culture proves women at that time were highly considered, appreciated, have rights. While, in “The Story of an Hour” shows how women were deprived, denied, devoiced, they weren’t offered a lot of opportunities such as men and they didn’t inherit money as all the money they get goes to either their husbands or any male member in the family.
“The Story of an Hour” shows that marriage at that time was based on monetary comfort and social status. That leads to unhappy marriage and miserable life to the extent that a person might feel happy and free when his partner is dead, as Mrs. Mallard felt when she heard that Mr. Mallard was dead. In “Clever Manka”, marriage is based on dual love and women’s desire is appreciated.
We encounter two completely different women. The protagonist of “Clever Manka” her name is Manka and the protagonist of “The Story of an Hour” is Mrs. Mallard. They are different in many aspects even physically. The writer describes Mrs. Mallard as being afflicted with a heart trouble which shows that she is a sick and weak person, while Manka is young, clever and strong person.
The title of Mrs. Mallard indicated that she was affiliated to her husband and she lost her identity. Her first name “Louise” is only mentioned after she heard of her husband’s death and when she felt free. Opposite to “Clever Manka” as Manka is called by her own name allover the story even after she was married. She is independent and wasn’t affiliated to either her father or her husband.
Also, men characters in the two short stories are opposite. Men in “Clever Manka” are represented by the burgomaster who is very young and not-experienced and the farmer. They are incapable of facing any challenge as the burgomaster can’t solve the problem of the farmer and the shepherd, so he put them a riddle which the farmer can’t solve. On the other hand, in “The Story of an Hour”, we encounter Mr. Mallard who is completely opposite to the male characters in “Clever Manka” as he was very domineering character. He has always made decisions for Louise and lived her life for her.
Men in both short stories tried to bend their wives’ will. In “Clever Manka”, the burgomaster started his life with Manka Trying to force limitations on her cleverness which indicates that he was afraid of her cleverness and afraid it will highlight his being not-experienced. As well as “The Story of an Hour”, it is obvious that Mr. Mallard was a domineering character and tried to bend louise’ will.
Women’s response to their husband’s control and domination differs in the two short stories. In “Clever Manka”, when Manka interferes in the burgomaster’s business, it was out of inner feeling of shame and injustice because of her husband decision. She couldn’t stand helpless when she realized how inexperienced he was. This means that the precondition he put for her couldn’t bend her will. That shows that Manka didn’t surrender despite of the precondition that might destroy her life. In “The Story of an Hour”, Mrs. Mallard ability to resist the suppression practiced upon her was very little and short. She gave her husband the chance to have the upper hand in her life.
The person is the one who decides whether he wants to live freely or not. If he wants to, he will not surrender to any person or under any condition. The pressure practicing on women would lead to one of two; either the woman will resist and become a victor, or easily surrender and become a victim.