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Essay Discussing Societal Conflicts in Lispeth and Story of an Hour

Societal Conflicts in Lispeth and Story of an Hour

“Lispeth” and “Story of an Hour” are both stories that deal with societal conflicts through their impact on the protagonist. In both stories the protagonists seem largely unaware of the conflict and resulting oppression, until events occur that force them to see it. In both stories the protagonists are ultimately “defeated” by the social conflicts; but the really important point of these stories is not winning or losing the struggle but the change that comes about as a result of the struggle.

In “The Story of an Hour” Mrs. Mallard , as one would expect, is very grieved at her husband’s death. But as she attempts to adjust to her new status she begins to change. The author conveys this in a couple of ways. She uses references to what is happening outside the window, “new spring life,” “patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds” to show nature paralleling Mrs. Mallard’s opening up. The author also describes the realization of freedom as if it were a tangible thing, “something coming after he,” that she was fighting off. Her epiphany comes when she realizes that she was oppressed. In this realization she finds new strength, courage, and joy.

She has not resolved the conflict; she has only become aware of it. She now knows that, although her husband was not a mean man, he imposed his will on her, and well meaning or not this was an oppressive act. It appears that she was not aware of being a prisoner until she was freed and in being free life has taken on new meaning, and she is a new person.

But in the end Mr. Mallard is not dead. And, as I said, Mrs. Mallard has only discovered the conflict between men’s and women’s roles; she has not resolved or overcome it. But she has changed and this new person is unable to cope with the prospect of living in her old world-the shock of it kills her. One suspects that has she not died physically, she would have “died” spiritually anyway.

In “Lispeth” the conflict is between two cultures: one indigenous and the other colonial. As in “The Story of an Hour” the protagonist, Lispeth, does not seem to be aware of a conflict and embraces her oppressor. In fact, she “used to lock herself into her own room for fear they might take her away.

Self-Made Misery in Blake’s London

Self-Made Misery in Blake’s London

The poet William Blake paints a picture of the dirty, miserable streets of London in his poem, “London”. He describes the wretched people at the bottom of the society, the chimney-sweeps, soldiers, and harlots. These people cry out from their pain and the injustices done to them. The entire poem centers around the wails of these people and what they have become due to wrongs done to them by the rest of society, primarily institutions such as the church and government. Are these people really wronged, however? The poem seems to suggest that the injustices they have been subjected to are of their own making.

In Blake’s poem he says that as he passes through London he sees a “mark in every face [he] meet[s]/ Marks of weakness, marks of woe.” (3-4) He talks about how everywhere he hears cries of fear and suppression. The church seems to be ignoring the cry of the poor chimney-sweep in lines nine and ten. The soldier dies on the palace walls with a sigh. These are examples of the wretchedness of the lives that people lead. The central ide…

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