Poetry Assignment for Rhythms of Speech
The chosen stories for the assignment are A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett and Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin. Notably, A White Heron entails the story of Sylvia who comes to the countryside to live with her grandmother. She is torn between her admiration of a young ornithologist and the love for nature, which includes the heron than the hunter is looking for. On the other hand, Story of an Hour talks about the emotional feeling that Louise Mallard experiences when she hears of her husband’s death. The suffering that she undergoes in the hands of her husband makes her feel liberated by his death. It is worth acknowledging that Sylvia and Mallard exhibit some similarities and differences in character in line with their roles in these stories.
This essay compares and contrasts the character of Sylvia and Louise Mallard in line with their roles in A White Heron and Story of an Hour respectively.
The key similarity between Sylvia and Mallard is that both of them are intelligent. Sylvia’s intelligence is exhibited when she makes a decision to protect the unique white heron from capture by the young hunter, who has been in search for it for a while. She decides to keep quiet about the whole event even after discovering the hiding place of the white heron. Her intelligence also drives her to forgo the money that the young hunter had promised to give in instances where she would assist him to get the unique bird. For instance, Jewett (1886) opines that, “She cannot speak, she cannot tell of its secret and give its life away.” This is reflective of her intelligence in handling the entire matter relating to the white heron. Similarly, Louise Mallard is brought out as being an intelligent woman especially after being told about the death of her husband. She intelligently feigns her emotions and acts like a normal woman would do in instances of the loss of a husband. Chopin (1894) asserts that, “Mallard cries like other women would have done.” This is an indication of her dramatic approach to handling the situation in an intelligent manner that tended to show her grief when she is genuinely happy about the death of her husband. She feels liberated by his death because of the sufferings she had to face when he was alive.
On the other hand, Sylvia is sympathetic, while Louise Mallard is hard hearted. It is vital to note that Sylvia sympathizes with the heron that is on the verge of death because of the extensive search by the young hunter. She takes the difficult decision of sacrificing her admiration for the young hunter because of the sympathy she feels toward the heron. She believes that it has the right to live just like any other being. Jewett (1886) asserts, “Dear loyalty, she suffered a sharp pang when the guest left.” This is indicative of the sympathy she has for the heron and the decision to sacrifice her friendship with the hunter for the sake of the white heron the she has come to like suddenly. On the other hand, Louise Mallard appears to be hard hearted with no shred of sympathy. When her sister tells her that her husband has died in a rail accident, she rejoices instead of moaning the loss. She does not grieve genuinely because of the feeling that her husband had tormented her when he was alive. Chopin (1894) reiterates that Mallard, “did not hear the story as many women would have heard the same.” This emphasizes her hardhearted approach to the entire story of her husband’s death.
Additionally, Sylvia is strong throughout the entire story while Mallard is shown as a fragile woman. Notably, Sylvia is happy to live in the countryside with her grandmother because it does not have the usual noises she experiences in the industrial town. She is strong throughout the story as she goes to look after her grandmother’s cattle deep into the forest. According to Jewett (1886), Sylvia is able to accompany the young hunter to the forest in his search for the heron. On the other hand, Mallard is a fragile woman at the beginning of the story. She has to be treated with a lot of care because of the heart trouble that she experiences. Her heart problems are believed to emanate from the suffering that her husband subjects her to. This explains why she is able to gain strength when she hears of the untimely death of her husband. She experiences relief and believes that her freedom has come with the death of her husband.
In conclusion, Sylvia and Mallard tend to only have one similar aspect in their character. Both of them are intelligent in their behavior. They are able to remain calm in their intelligent acts such that they are not discovered immediately. For instance, Sylvia decides to act intelligently by keeping quiet to protect the heron. Mallard also cries dramatically while highlighting her joy of her husband’s death in an intelligent manner. However, the two characters are different in terms of their sympathy and strength throughout the story. Sylvia remains strong in the entire story while Mallard is brought out as a fragile woman with a heart problem at the beginning of the story.