The Story Of An Hour And The Chrysanthemums Analysis

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The Tale of Two Loves
In two short stories, “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, the hidden feelings of main characters Mrs. Mallard and Elisa are brought to the surface at a time when the very identity of their lives is threatened. Through a series of choices they discover who they really are and what they really desire—“good” for themselves or the true good of the other. Mrs. Mallard meets a fateful end after satisfying her selfishness and rejoicing in her husband’s death, while Elisa, whose true love for Henry overpowers her own longing for adventure, uses the same temptation to selfishness to strengthen what is most dear to her, her marriage.
Both of the characters, although they appear happily
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One day, while tending her beloved chrysanthemums, Elisa receives a visit from a traveling salesman. In the process of trying to persuade him that she is not interested in his merchandise or services, she gets to know him and is educated in his way of life. He says that he is never in any rush, for he goes where the wind blows. “That sounds like a nice kind of way to live,” Elisa comments (442). She is intrigued by him because he smells of adventure and represents a life of exhilarating existence. As he continues to hang around the farm, hoping to get some business out of her, Elisa realizes that she is falling deeper and deeper into temptation. The life that the salesman leads is so attractive that she begins to confuse her desire for his lifestyle with a desire for him. As she reaches out to touch his leg, thoughts of Henry flood her mind and her clouded judgement becomes clear once again. Ashamed, yet relieved she gets to her feet and just as “her terrier fingers destroyed such pests before they could get started” (439) eating away at her beloved chrysanthemums, Elisa combats the unruly allurement at the first moment that she senses danger. She quickly gives the salesman what he wants—a job and money—and sends him on his way. She then pours all her energy into strengthening her marriage. She spends a considerable amount of time on her physical appearance so as to look nice for her husband. She lays out his best suit, and she engages him in discussing his interest of the fights. Lastly, when encountering the temptation once more she “[swings] full around toward her husband… [and] in a moment it [is] over”

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