You will prepare and submit a term paper on Compare and Contrast The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Story of an Hour. Your paper should be a minimum of 1500 words in length. These writers have the same writing style because day dreaming has become a tool for expressing their characters’ innermost desires and anxieties. The content of these stories have similarities in the themes of loss of identity and freedom because of marriage, though they have differences in settings and how their protagonists handled their man-versus-society conflicts. The form of the literature is the same because they are both short stories, which is an appropriate form because the authors need to explore their themes and characters more than poetry can give them. Clugston (2010) talked about the differences among stories, plays, poems, novels, and other forms of literature. Poems tend to be short and constrained in form, although free verse styles are available. Plays are performed and can rely on aspects of short stories. Chopin and Thurber must have chosen the short story format for the challenges it brings in maximizing words and symbolisms. Because they chose a short story form, these authors have to use symbolism and other rhetorical strategies to give a deeper meaning to their stories. The settings and symbols, for example, say something about the characters and the kind of lives they are living, or in the cases of Louise and Walter, not living. The short story can focus on one or more elements of literature that concentrates their impact on the audience. Chopin and Thurber are successful in using a short story form to convey enough details about the lives of unhappy married people. The styles of these works are the same because Walter and Louise are day dreaming a better life and their daydreams include symbols that explore the themes of identity and independence. Daydreaming is an important process of becoming for Walter and Louise. Louise, after sinking into the comfort of her chair, realizes the comforts of being free. Freedom is symbolized in the new ways that she sees the “tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air” (Chopin, 1894, par.5). Her daydreams indicate the fresh way she sees the world because she is a new person. Walter shares the same refreshed identity, each time he daydreams. Cheatham (1990) stressed that “Mitty seeks freedom through his daydreams” (italics in the original article) (p.609). Walter uses his daydreams to become different personalities that help him escape his life. These characters are daydreaming to feel free and to forge a strong individuality that is far from their realities. Despite these similarities, the writing styles of Chopin and Thurber differ because of their language that exposes age and generational differences between Louise and Walter. Louise is still young because she does not need any overshoes like Walter. She is only fragile because of her heart condition. Walter, on the contrary, experiences being talked down by his wife. When he tells her that he might be thinking, she just wants to take his temperature when they get home. For Walter’s wife, he is a senile old man who needs constant checking for failing health signs. The generations of these protagonists are also different because of the dissimilar settings. Louise hears peddlers, while Walter deals with garage boys. Walter also easily falls into several daydreams as his day goes by.
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