Critical Essay

Driven to Succeed Follow These Brave Hearts through a Lifetime of Interesting Experiences As we live on and continue to read, we realize the stones of our past and the stories of our present have many similarities and differences between them. We start to see the different conflicts, tones, and themes within them and have a new respect for the authors behind all these masterpieces. Comparing Kate Chopping “The Story of an Hour” and John Update’s “My Father on the Verge of Disgrace” entertained me very much and I enjoyed this process with these two stories tremendously.

Just looking at hem you can see that they have many differences, but in this case the bigger picture holds the significance of them. It shows that the differences are compelling although they were constructed in two contrasting generations. They showcase the talent and ambition in our authors through time. The tone in these two stories are very divergent. In “The Story of an Hour the tone has a sufficient amount of melancholy in it. The unrecognizable unhappiness Mrs.. Mallard had hidden deep within herself and let rule over her life finally surfaces when she finds out her husband Is dead.

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She rejoiced at a new beginning and a hence to be happy and free. As swiftly as her happiness came when she found out about her husband’s death it left just the same when she found out he was alive. “My Father on the Verge of Disgrace” had so much depth within the tone because of the concern the boy had for his family. Their economic situation really took a toll on the father and ultimately the family as a whole. The stories have more differences than similarities when focusing on tone. As conflict arises In these two stones we begin to see more of the characters personalities and view the situation as we feel necessary. The Story of an Hour” has such an interesting conflict. There’s so much oppression that Mrs.. Mallard feels towards her marriage. Instead of grieving after her husband’s death she decides to stare out her window and daydream about all of the possibilities of her now bright future. She will miss the man that was her husband but she finally feels free of his grasp and It’s an incredible thing for her. Chopin states, “But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome. (Chopin) At first, Mrs.. Mallard’s conflict was external. It was not she who was restraining herself but her current circumstances. The second conflict was between herself and the pressure society put upon her. As we move into the conflict in “My Father on the Verge of Disgrace” we begin to see how far a man will go to be able to provide for his family. The narrator worries that his father will “fall from his precarious ledge of respectability. ” His father loses his Job the year that he was born and Is unemployed for three years.

Finally, he finds a job as a high school chemistry teacher. Living in the large house his grandfather bought becomes a struggle because they can not keep p with the expenses and uphold the environment. Two things happen to make the little boy realize his father is in a hard position in his life with trying to provide for his family. The first, is that he finds out that his dad is Involved with another teacher from the high school sports receipts to cover the cost of the household expenses that they can not afford to pay.

The boy is proud of his father for his position in the town, but him and his mother are also worried about the things his father is doing. I believe that theme’s can be interpreted differently depending upon the reader. The main themes in “The Story of an Hour” is oppression and repression. In this society the women were to cook, clean, have and raise the children and it was a struggle for most. I feel like the husband dominated Mrs.. Mallard on more occasions than one. Mrs.. Mallard is perceived to be a very passive person.

She lets her husband control her destiny and the things she can do. As a consequence for this she was a very stressed out individual in her marriage and all that repressed emotion she has inside of her might be related to her “heart troubles” in the beginning of the story. I especially admired the theme in “My Father on The Verge of Disgrace” because I think it has a pretty universal message in it. I interpreted the theme to be that life is a constant struggle and it’s not easy for most of us, we have to do whatever it takes to “survive”.

The way the narrator’s father was not accepted by the community at first because he was an outcast to the town was rather harsh I thought. But, in time he establishes his place within the community and everyone is very satisfied. The narrator even says “l was proud of my schoolteacher father. If his suit was out of press, and his necktie knotted awry, I was too new to the world to twice. ” (Licks of Love 46) Also, the way the narrator starts smoking towards the end of the story is another example of the theme because he’s conforming to his high school’s societal necessities.

The way his father let him smoke in the car really surprised me because he is a schoolteacher but I liked it. I liked how he let his son be himself and learn from his actions. “His tactic permission, coming from a schoolteacher, would have been viewed, we both knew, as something of a disgrace. But it was my way of becoming a human being, and a part of being human is being on the verge of disgrace. (Licks of Love 59) The way these stories relate to each other are very slim but they make for very amusing differences.

Chaplin and Update are extremely honorable authors and that made this process a lot less painful. I lean towards”The Story of an Hour” as the better short story in this case personally because I love Mrs.. Mallard as a character. She has so many emotions that she keeps repressed and the way she reacts to a potential opportunity to have a free life is amazing. She’s almost like a caged bird in a way. But, “My Father on The Verge of Disgrace” has much more depth concerning the hem and it makes you really think about the story as much more than a family with a problem with their reputation and finances.