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OPINION: Compare And Contrast

Compare And Contrast: Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" and Edna Millay's Recuerdo"

"The Story of an Hour" is a short story written in 1894 by Kate Chopin, a famous American writer, and "Recuerdo" is a poem written by Edna St. Vincent Millay, a talented American poet. "Recuerdo" was part of the poet's second volume known as A Few Figs from Thistles, which was published in 1920.

"The Story of an Hour" is about an unhappy marriage, and "Recuerdo" is a poem that rekindles the memories of a happy romantic night the poet had experienced with her sweetheart during the time she lived in Greenwich Village, New York.

Both women were excellent writers, and have impacted society in many ways. (For example, Edna Millay, as well as Chopin, had brought important contributions into the feminist movement).

"She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength," says the narrator.
Although "The Story of an Hour" and "Recuerdo" are different in many ways, they contain many important similarities.

"The Story of an Hour" portrays a woman named Louise who died shortly after the death of her abusive husband. "She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength," says the narrator (whose name is undisclosed in the story).

After her husband's death, Louise feels happy and liberated from her oppressor. At which point, the narrator states that "she kept whispering" the following words: "Free! Body and soul free."

However, Louse feels a sense of sadness in that she had also loved her husband to a certain degree. And this sentence from paragraph 14 of the story may confirm this: "And yet she had loved him - sometimes. Often she had not."

Eventually, she goes to her room, not to mourn her dead husband, but rather to have some sort of strange celebration: She locks herself in, and drinks "in a very elixir of life." Her friends come to knock at the door, but she refuses to open for them.

At last, a certain Brently Mallard, her husband's brother, opens the door with a latchkey, only to discover that she has died. And "when the doctors came they said that she had died of heart disease - of joy that kills."

While in "The Story of an Hour" Louise dies of "joy that kills," Edna Millay enjoys in "Recuerdo" being in love in New York City. (The poem bears a Spanish title, which in English means: "I remember"). In "Recuerdo," the poet tells us about the wonderful moments she had lived one night with her darling in Greenwich Village, New York.

During her years in Greenwich Village, she was in her twenties and still single. Then, what kind of intimate moments would she have experienced with him? Many critics argue that she had a Bohemian lifestyle, particularly during her Greenwich Village years. In fact, "Recuerdo" may confirm this point of view. Take, for example, the first stanza of the poem:

We were very tired, we were very merry-
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable-
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

This is without doubt a poem of absolute joy - joy that the poet expresses in immortal verses. Take, for example, these two verses from the second stanza:

And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere.

"Recuerdo" is, in terms of form and content, quite different from "The Story of an Hour." However, there are some similarities between "The Story of an Hour" and "Recuerdo." Both texts are well written, and present some positive aspects of feminism. While Edna Millay affirms in "Recuerdo" that "we [her lover and she] lay on a hill-top underneath the moon," Louise in "The Story of an Hour" decides to stay in marriage - although terribly abused - until her husband's death. And "she had even loved her husband - sometimes."

Both texts - although written by two radical feminists - contradict the popular belief, which is that the Feminist Movement's main focus is to teach women to hate men.

Works Cited: Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." June 11, 2007
www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/Ubooks/StorHour.shtlm.

Millay, Edna. "Recuerdo." June 11, 2007
http://www.web-books.com/Classics/Poetry/Anthology/Millay/Recuerdo.htm.

Adapted from an Opinion by Jean Elie Paraison as submitted to www.thecoolgroup.org

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Families Are Like Fudge

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Erma Bombeck ~~ family...a strange little band of characters trudging through life...loving, laughing...and trying to figure out the common thread that binds us all together.

Alex Haley ~~ In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.

Ariel and Will Durant ~~ The family is the nucleus of civilization.

Auguste Napier ~~ In each family a story is playing itself out, and each family's story embodies its hope and despair.

Anonymous ~~ Families are like fudge...mostly sweet with a few nuts.

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