“The Awakening” was written in an age when women allow society to dictate how they should behave and feel. In one summer Edna changed from a woman voided of feelings to one overwhelmed by her feelings, so much so that she feels she could no longer live in this society.
“The Awakening” is a book written long before its time; it is a satire of the prudish New Orleans’ society of the nineteenth century. In his essay, Robert Cantwell says: “The book was banned from library circulation, and the author refused admittance to the St. Louis Arts Society. Mrs. Chopin was disgusted, and, apart from a few short stories, wrote nothing more.” Edna’s husband loves his family including his wife, and he provides for them well but what Edna needs he does not provide. Edna was a woman full of passion but her husband is not the man to unleash that passion. Her husband is unable to see the relationship brewing between Edna and Robert. He only perceives her as his wife who does not attend to her duties as a wife and a mother. Edna knows something is lacking from her life but only discovers this when she encounters Robert. For most of her life Edna adheres to the dictates of her society which left her unfulfilled.
The passion that Robert evokes in Edna has shown her that there is more to life than what she is getting. Robert ignites a fire in Edna that causes her discard all reasoning; with Robert gone she has an adulterous relation with another and made no secret of it. Unfortunately, Edna realizes that she finds no peace with her lover; and she would not have found it with Robert either. Edna concluded that there is no fulfillment for her in either world; her only recourse is to leave both worlds; maybe in the beyond there is tranquility awaiting her.
Kate Chopin writes a novel that was not ready for its time, it was declared outrageous upon its initial introduction. Edna the protagonist’s behavior is unaccepted in a world of prudes; of course they view her suicide as a selfish act, a woman who is unappreciative, and a woman who is unable to respond to her husband’s love.
What is meant by "Roman Fever?" How does it influence Alida and Grace?
At the time the story “Roman Fever” was written, Roman Fiver was a precarious disease that plagued Rome; it also means metaphorically, a social frenzy of sexual transgression. In the story Alida and Grace have come face to face with both meanings.
Between the two women, Grace suffers the most. She contracted the disease, and even though she recovers, it seems that the impact of the illness has never completely left her. While she and Alida are talking on the terrace, Alida speaks of the illness that affects her throat. She appears to feel sympathy for Grace. Grace may have carried the force of the disease but Alida carries the trauma of keeping a secret that wears heavily on her mind, the fact that her dear friend wanted her husband and even before they were married, her friend rendezvous with her fiancé.
It is hard to tell who is the more courageous of the two women. Alida suffers the Roman Fever when her marriage is threatened before it even begins. However, she can put her differences aside and be civil to Grace: she reminds Grace of her throat when she wanted to stay on the terrace when the evening becomes chilly. Also finding out that Grace wanted her husband she could calmly discuss the letter that her friend had sent to her husband. Alida manage the collision of Roman Fever well. Grace also gets through the period but not before it had scarred her permanently. In this story the writer does not dwell on the right or the wrong, it is not a morality issue, just bare facts. Cynthia Griffin Wolfe (1997) “The status of illness in the story is metaphoric rather than material; the [sic] transgressively sexual content of Roman fever is developed by its modern parallel in the "cold" Grace catches, whose implied etiology and outcome mark it as a cover story for a quite different bodily condition.”
Roman Fever is two edged sword in the story “Roman Fever.” Alida and Grace suffer the brunt of this disease, nonetheless they are determined to pick up the pikes and not allow the disease to stagnate their lives.
Identify and discuss what you believe to be the central symbol in "To Build a Fire."
The only person who would dear to fight against nature as the man in “To Build a Fire” is a person who is narcissistic and delusional. The main symbol in this story is nature.
As long as time man has never been able to tame nature; and it is only an arrogant person would attempt to reclaimed nature. A man setting out in a place like the Alaskan wild by himself is playing with his life;; at fifty degrees below zero it is suicidal. Nature has a mind of its own; though one may make proper preparation to defend his or herself against nature he or she will never be victorious in a fight against nature. Hurricane, tornado, volcano, fire, even a big gust of wind are acts of nature that no one has ever been able to control. With all this information this man decides to meet his friend travelling on a day when the temperature is below fifty degrees. Not only does this man decide to go against nature, he does it by himself.
The man should have known better than to build a fire under a tree full of snow, it seems that the extreme cold has robbed him of the little reasoning he has left. He attempts to build a fire twice in the wrong place and then he uses all his matches at once. Andrew Hamilton (2011) says: “To Build a Fire” presents the harrowing drama of man pitted against the unforgiving forces of nature. The nameless protagonist, alone in the endless wilderness of the Yukon, miles from camp, is heedless of the mortal danger he faces: The truth is, this man should have never considered even a short walk on a day like this. No man has ever won in a fight against nature.
In this story, nature is juxtaposition against man and while one would think that man has a brain and is in control, nature will prove that against it man is nothing. This man is an arrogant man who refuses to adhere to the laws of nature, he overrated his ability to survive the element, does what no sensible man would have done. He defies nature and did not live to repent.
Theodore Dreiser is known to be one of America's foremost naturalist writers, and the element of determinism is essential to any naturalist fiction. What is the determinist element(s) in "The Second Choice," how does it affect the characters and the situations that unfold, where is
the influence of the element most keenly seen?
Truly Theodore Dreiser in the father of naturalism, everywhere one looks for naturalism Theodore Dreiser’s name is there. In “Second Choice” Dreiser uses to some degree all the criteria for naturalism.
In Dreiser’ “Second Choice,” the story is about a woman who cheats on a man she does not love with the a man she does love. Although naturalism does not comment on morality it expresses what might be the result of immorality. Eventually when Shirley decides to be honest and sends away the man she does not love, the man she does love disappears. The man she does not love, Barton, would do anything for her; however he does not wait for Shirley to want him again. Shirley had several discussions with herself: "Why should I cry? Why shouldn't I marry Barton? I don't amount to anything, anyhow. Arthur wouldn't have me. I wanted him, and I am compelled to take someone else-- or no one-- what difference does it really make who (Dreiser 1393).
Shirley’s character is a true representation of naturalism; in the story she is not judged or accused. Nowhere does the author berate her about what she did to Barton, he just presents the facts. Shirley, though she agrees that she deserves Barton, she does not come to that conclusion because she thinks she is being punished; even though she deserves to be, she just feels that if she cannot have Arthur then love is not necessary for a relationship and Barton is as good as anyone else. Joseph Griffin (1985) says: The questions reveal her implication in the substance of the possibility of the passage being meant to represent the musing of Shirley herself is more the commentary of an outside narrator whose vocabulary and idiom is more literate than the context requires” (49).
In the modern world of this twenty-first century, most people would say that Shirley gets what was coming to her. Barton loves her and will do anything for her, and he is able to provide for her, but she gives up good man to chase a rain bow.
Cantwell, Robert. (1956) “The Awakening,” by Kate Chopin Web
Griffin Wolfe, Cynthia. (1997). “Kate Chopin Critical Esay” New York, Collier
Griffin, Joseph (1985). The Small Canvas: An Introduction to Dreiser’s Shot Stories. New
Jersey. Granbury. Print
Hamilton, Andrew. (2012). “Jack London’s ‘To Build a Fire”’ Howell, William Dean. (1889)
“Editor’s Essay.” Harper New Monthly Magazine. November, . 966.