Compare and Contrast Literature

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Compare and Contrast Essay
Crystal Hunter
ENG 125
Julie Alfaro
March 19, 2013

Compare and Contrast Essay
I have chosen to compare and contrast a short story, written by Kate Chopin titled “The story of an hour,” and a poem written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson titled, “In Memoriam.” I chose these two pieces of work because I was drawn to the short story and when I read the poem it had the same theme of hope in the face of death. The topic, or theme of these particular literary works is death and impermanence. I will compare and contrast the elements of symbolism, point of view, theme, and setting. The comparison of these particular works will provide deeper insights to the hope that develops within a person when confronted with death, as well as further insight to the symbolism used within the choice of words written by the authors to convey their feelings at that particular time that the work was written.

Authors are sometimes likely to deal with the superficial appearance of things rather than showing genuine knowledge of what is actually real (Evans, 2010). In the poem by Lord Tennyson the genuine knowledge of reality is definitely present, however, the short story by Kate Chopin seems to become somewhat illogical in the end when the wife dies of “joy that kills” In an analysis of short fiction, the text points out that authors will know how to manipulate words but not know how to examine the ideas seriously (Evans, 2010).

“In Memoriam,” is a poem that was written in response to the death of a close friend of the author. His reflection is written to show that hope may be a sustaining factor in the face of death (Clugston, 2010). The author of this work is showing his hopefulness for all, not just himself or the deceased. “That not one life shall be destroy’d, / or cast as rubbish to the void” (as cited in Clugston, 2010, 11.6). Which sounds like he feels as if his friend was “cast as rubbish to the void.” The author continues on with his words as if he is trying to gain hope for himself, along with others, and hopes that he is not cast to the void as well.

“The story of an hour,” is a short story that was written to coincide with the author’s personal quest for freedom, along with upholding a woman’s strength in spite of her adulterous life, and developing hope in the face of death (Clugston, 2010). This author is describing an epiphany of hope that comes in a sudden wave of emotion and confusion. “There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know.” (as cited in Clugston, 2010, 2.2). Mrs. Mallard had just been given the tragic news of her husband being in the train accident, yet she is trying to fight off the emotions of joy and freedom as best she could. To no avail, she realized that there was so much life and detail in everything around her. The birds were singing in the trees, the clouds piled in the sky above her house, and the sudden feeling of what seemed like joy!

Both the poem, and the short story are made up of the emotions that surround death. An elegy, which is a lyric poem about death, has the emotions of uncertainty, confusions, hope, sadness, and even symbolism to show some of these emotions. In both works there is the mention of spring, which symbolizes birth and new beginnings. The poem says, “I can but trust that good shall fall / At last – far off – at last, to all, / and every winter change to spring” (as cited in Clugston, 2010, 11.6). The short story describes the setting in this detail; “she could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life” (as cited in Clugston, 2010, 2.2). The reference to spring is the hopefulness that both authors have for the future. In contrast, the poem, compares the spring to a change from winter to spring, which symbolizes the transition from death (winter), to birth (spring), and the continued hope for new beginnings.

The difference in...
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