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Societal Views on Women’s Freedoms in the Short Stories “the Storm” by Kate Chopin and “a Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner

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In both stories, society imposes expectations for how they should act. In Chopin’s “The Storm” Calixta must act as a faithful wife and mother. Calixta does for the most part, she takes care of her family but Calixta rebels against being a faithful wife by having an affair with Alcee. This is shown by “when he touched her breasts they gave themselves up in quivering ecstasy, inviting his lips. Her mouth was a fountain of delight”(Chopin, 337). Calixta did not feel guilty after her tryst with Alcee, instead she was quite content, the narrator states“ She lifted her pretty chin in the air and laughed aloud”( Chopin, 337). In the view of society she should feel guilty and ashamed for what she had done. Calixta faced no consequences for what she had done, no one ever found and she did not lose her standing in society. The speaker demonstrates this when she says “so the storm had passed and everyone was happy.”

Miss Emily rebels against the towns societal view of her showing and going out with Homer Baron.“As they passed on Sunday afternoon in the glittering buggy, Miss Emily with her head high and Homer Barron with his hat cocked and a cigar in his teeth, reins and whip in a yellow glove”(Faulkner 82). They try and control her by gossiping about her personal life. “Poor Emily, the whispering began do you suppose it’s really so?...she carried her head high enough- even when we believed that she was a fallen.” They scrutinize her without evidence and they commend her by saying “she will kill herself; and we said would be the best thing.” In this time period it may arguably have been better to be dead than a fallen woman, but the town people were not even sure that she was a fallen woman they assumed that she is but they have no proof. They do not speak to her or ask her. They try and interfere with her life by “ the ladies forced the baptist minister” to interfere and when that did not work they the “minister's wife wrote to Miss Emilys’s relationships in Alabama”(Faulkner, 83). When miss Emily does not abide by the way they want her to act. They begin to think that she is “crazy”(Faulkner, 81) because of the way Miss Emily is acting . Miss Emily’s rebellion causes her to be labelled a crazy fallen woman and she loses prestige in the eyes of the society.

The stories do not just portray the lives of two separate women. But they demonstrate how societal views that are imposed on the woman impact their lives. The actions both women take brings different consequences to them. In Calixta case she didn’t suffer any severe consequences that the reader is made aware of and in miss Emily’s case the constant gossiping and scrutunization of her personal life made a big impact on how her life turned out. She became a recluse and unhappy old women that was labelled a crazy fallen woman. It would be interesting to see the character’s reactions if they knew what calixta had been discovered or how miss Emily’s life would have been if she had not been as scrutinized and allowed to live how she wanted.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. "The Storm." Literature Approaches to Fiction,Poetry and Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. Second ed. New York: Mcgraw Higher Education, 2008. 335-38. Print.

Faulkner, William. "A Rose For Emily." Literature Approaches to Fiction,Poetry and Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. Second ed. New York: Mcgraw Higher Education, 2008. 79-85. Print


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